“Doctor D” Does College Commencement

On May 18, 2016, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

D at KentState
Jim DeVincentis has been my business partner and Executive Producer at Przyborski Productions for the past 28 years. We started the company together in 1988. Every agency person and client we’ve worked with calls him “Jimmy D” or just “D”. 

This past weekend, Kent State University asked D to give the commencement address for graduates of the College of Mass Communications and Information, College of Business Administration and College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.  D also serves on the National Athletic Development Council for Kent State and is featured in their Athletic Hall of Fame.

 Jimmy’s daughters, Dina DeVincentis and Maria DeVincentis were part of the 7,000+ Convocation Center crowd. Dina graduated in 2011 and Maria graduated that same day.

 We’re now calling “D” the honorary “Doctor D”.

Actor Tom Atkins… Just for Fun

On April 7, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Tom Atkins is an amazingly talented actor who’s appeared in dozens of major motion pictures and TV series. He often plays a tough guy on the wrong side of the law. Most recently, Atkins played Pittsburgh Steelers founder, Art Rooney in the one man stage play and movie titled, “The Chief”. Tom Atkins has a great sense of humor and is excellent at improvisation.

A few years ago, Atkins was the TV spokesman for Blue Cross of Western PA. I directed and photographed about a dozen spots with Tom, including an Addy winner that featured fishing on the Allegheny River.

On several occasions, after we finished shooting the actual on-air TV commercial, Tom would do his own unique version of the copy.

Just for fun, here’s a couple of Tom Atkins’ “interpretations” of the Blue Cross scripts. They’re pretty much identical to the original scripts, but I can assure you, they’re far more memorable…

CMU Showcase 2014

On March 21, 2014, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is one of the nation’s finest dramatic schools. You can’t watch an evening of network TV without seeing CMU alumni. The CMU School of Drama is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

My friend and CMU Drama professor, Don Wadsworth asked if I would volunteer to film their Showcase 2014 video. Each year, the school creates a music driven video to introduce the graduating seniors to America’s top producers, directors and casting agents. CMU then flies these seniors to L.A. and NYC to personally meet and perform for entertainment industry leaders.

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Working with CMU professor & director, Randy Kovitz, John Przyborski and I filmed the video on the day students returned from Christmas break. As a two camera shoot, it was my first opportunity to film a project with my son. I’m proud to say that half the scenes in the video were shot by him.

Bob Chamberlain, Chad Calcagno, Tom Gregg, and Ben Perkins all volunteered their Sunday to crew the shoot. Pittsburgh’s LightSpeed generously supplied the crab dolly, lighting and grip equipment .

Check out CMU’s “Showcase 2014” and remember the names and faces. The next time you see them, they might be in a movie, TV series, or Broadway play!

Images from a Summer Carnival

On September 30, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


All across the country, traveling carnivals setup shop outside hundreds of small towns and cities. Within a day or so, workers transform an open field on the outskirts of town, into a midway with rides, games and lots of junk food. Where else can you enjoy chocolate funnel cakes and deep-fried ice cream?

For many residents, a trip to the carnival’s an annual tradition. For the $5 admission, you can spend all day and night cruising the fair grounds. There’s groups of girls checking out the guys and catching up on mid-summer gossip. As day slowly dissolves to night, young lovers stroll the midway hand-in-hand.

At a Midwest carnival, tractor and truck pulls are very popular. A powerful truck or tractor drags a weighted sled down a dirt track. It’s not a sophisticated sport, but it’s fun to watch and very loud! The owner of the winning entry gets a prize, but more importantly, all his friends know he drives of the most powerful truck in town.

I shot this video to capture moments from a hot, humid July day, at the fairgrounds, just outside Butler, Pennsylvania.

The Ramp of Hope (1991)

On November 24, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


Back in the 90’s, I directed and photographed many TV campaigns for Cleveland based ad agencies. The most talented agency creative director I worked with was Alan Glazen. His agency was given an assignment to produce a TV spot and long-form video for Action Technology (now part of the Invacare Corp.) The company manufactures specialized, wheelchairs that are used throughout the world by athletes. The video was produced to be played at a major wheelchair athletics competition.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) had just been signed into law, but many public buildings weren’t “wheelchair friendly.” Alan Glazen created an amazing script that was designed to let the world know, that people who have a physical disability, don’t want your pity or sympathy. They just want you to get out of their way and treat them as you would anyone else.

Alan and I filmed the intense, stylized action scenes of the wheelchair athletes in an old basketball gymnasium at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University. I shot all the scenes with my Arriflex 35BL4 equipped with Zeiss super-speed lenses. During film-to-tape transfer in Nashville, the clipped color and accentuated grain was added.

The “news event” scenes were filmed the following day in the lobby of an old downtown Cleveland office building. After transferring the 35mm negative to 1″ analog tape, I edited part of the project in Pittsburgh, with Glazen handling the final edit, original music and audio mix at a Cleveland facility.

As a footnote: Some years ago, Alan Glazen sold his ad agency and today is the successful owner of multiple restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio.

GE Information Services

On January 6, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


A few years ago (before HDTV) I directed and photographed a project for General Electric Information Services. Michael Doherty, Stan Muschweck and the late, Joe Baird of The Birmingham Group, created the original concept. The 3 minute video, titled “Reaching Beyond” was created to open GEIS’ national convention. The concept was to show how a person’s ability, imagination and creativity “grows” over their lifetime.

We cast 3 young girls, a teenager, and 2 adult women who could all have been the same person at different stages of life. The original concept called for each of the actors to be drawing or painting their version of a tree. We hired 2 local Pittsburgh artists to “pre-draw” and “pre-paint” multiple versions of the various stages of artwork. During the shoot, these same professional artists helped the actors do a believable job of working with pencils, water colors, charcoal and oil colors.

I shot all the footage with my Arri 35BL4 equipped with Zeiss super-speed lenses. The 35mm film was then transferred to tape in Nashville by colorist, Brent Clenny at Filmworkers Club. The music was composed and performed by Sue Hartford at Euphoria in Pittsburgh. I edited the long-form video at our Pittsburgh facility.

WVUH “Patient Voices” Campaign

On December 3, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


West Virginia University Healthcare is the largest hospital complex in the State of West Virginia. The facility treats many of the region’s most complicated medical cases.

Heidi Specht, WVUH’s Director of Marketing, wanted a series of TV commercials whereby former patients would share their experiences directly with the home viewer. The commercials were to be completely unscripted, allowing patients to tell their stories in their own words.

This concept sounds deceptively easy, but it’s far from it. “Real people” who have never been on TV, can’t comfortably look into a cold, black camera lens and “pretend” they’re talking to a friend.

We decided to use a technique that I pioneered back in ’87. It uses a thru-the-lens teleprompter on the camera. However, instead of seeing the words of a script, the talent sees live video of an interviewer’s face. The on-camera talent talks directly with the interviewer, creating almost perfect eye contact with the home viewer. (In ’87, I first used this production technique to help small children talk on camera. We then used it on a major promotion for Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV. Today network news interviews are often conducted this way.)

The 5 spot commercial campaign airs in HD throughout West Virginia.

New Healthcare Awards

On May 17, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

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A Przyborski Productions’ TV campaign, produced for Boca Raton Regional Hospital, has won Gold in the 2012 Cancer Awareness Advertising Awards.  This prestigious advertising competition included thousands of entries from hospitals and healthcare facilities located throughout the United States and Canada. Here’s a link to the winning multi-spot campaign:
http://www.przyborski.com/award_videos/Award-Boca-960×540.mov

award2
Our Children’s Hospital spot for West Virginia University Healthcare is an award winner in the 2012 Healthcare Marketing Report’s national contest. There were over 4,000 entries in the 2012 competition. Here’s a link to the winning spot that features “Aaron’s story”: http://www.przyborski.com/award_videos/Award-WVUH-960×540.mov

Przyborski Shoots Gateway Health Plan’s TV Spots

On December 11, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Gateway Health Plan “No One Asks & Can’t Stop Me” :30 TV spots from Glenn Przyborski on Vimeo.

Gateway Health Plan offers “Medicare Assured” coverage to qualified residents of Pennsylvania. The multi-spot campaign featured people who have overcome their health problems and disabilities.

I’m confident in sharing that extensive pre-production is the primary difference between a successful project and hours of overtime and uncontrolled expenses. I elected to photograph the commercials with a Canon 5Dmk3. This camera’s 36mm x 24mm imager yields very shallow depth-of-field images. This keeps visual separation between the on-camera talent and the background. The 5Dmk3 also has great looking color, especially with flesh tones.
For the location spot, generator powered, HMI lighting supplemented natural daylight for the outdoor footage. For the garage scenes, the primary light source was a 1200 watt HMI through a 3′ x 3′ Chimara diffuser. Talent back-lights were LED lighting panels.

The white limbo studio spot was shot using incandescent lighting. 1K & 2K Arri fixtures were used combined with 3×3 & 3×4 Chimera soft diffusers. The BG white limbo rear wall was lit with 5K Arri fresnels. It’s very important when you shoot this type of commercial that the color balance of the light fixtures that illuminate your BG be exactly the same. Otherwise you’ll end up with a color shift from left-to-right or top-to-bottom.

The campaign currently airs in high-definition throughout the State of Pennsylvania USA.

WPAHS Regional Hospitals

On August 2, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Forbes Regional & Allegheny Valley Hospitals from Glenn Przyborski on Vimeo.

Over the years, I’ve directed and photographed literally hundreds of TV spots for medical centers across the country. This multi-hospital campaign featured similar commercials for Forbes Regional, Allegheny Valley & Canonsburg General Hospital.

Rather than using professional actors and voice-over talent, the campaign’s concept required a real doctor at each facility to talk one-on-one about the services his hospital offers to the community it serves.

Our challenge was a very tight, one day production schedule at each hospital with a limited time to shoot the on-camera doctors. Fortunately, I’ve had years of experience shooting, directing and working with non-professional on-camera talent.

We broke the scripts down to minimize each doctor’s on-camera segments. You can overwhelm “talent” if you ask them to memorize a long, complicated script. The doctors were told that they never had to deliver more than 2 on-camera sentences in each sequence. We didn’t waste time shooting copy that was intended to be covered with “B-Roll”.

Most of each production day was spent shooting the necessary, non-sync footage in and around the hospitals. Everything from intense operating rooms to patient-staff interactions were shot with a combination of HD digital cameras, including the Panasonic AF-100, GH2 and the tiny GoPro Hero2. To achieve an extremely shallow depth-of-field, the on-camera sync scenes were filmed with Canon’s new 5D Mk3. (A few of the cutaways were footage that I had photographed from previous campaigns.)

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