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

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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.)

A “Knock-Out” Shoot for Przyborski & BrabenderCox

On September 14, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


It’s like the story of David vs Goliath… only this time Goliath wins. It’s all from the crazy mind of political media superstar, John Brabender. The spot’s a visual metaphor for the unfair tax advantage a big internet business has over small local shops.

I shot the commercial using a RED One camera at Pittsburgh’s 31st Street Studios. At the rear of the 31st facility is the interior of an old industrial warehouse. A crew erected a full-sized, professional boxing ring as our set. We used 4 “space lights” over the ring as a primary light source. Numerous other HMI’s and other lights were used to highlight portions of the old steel warehouse.

I used the RED for most of the camera setups outside the boxing ring. The fighter’s “punches” were shot at 96fps. Inside the ring, I used a Panasonic AF100 for POV shots from both fighter’s perspectives. All the POV scenes were recorded at 40fps to add a “bigger than life” feel to the action. For several intense fight shots, I wore the primary boxer’s glove on my right hand and punched past the lens to the actor’s face for action cutaways. In case you’re wondering, it’s hard (and very unusual) to shoot a scene while you’re punching your actor.

Senior editor, Thad Christian of Pittsburgh’s, Phenomenon Post edited the high energy spot and created the original title graphics.

Letters from Patients

On October 13, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


For the past several years, I’ve directed and photographed the HDTV commercials for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. BRRH is one of Florida’s finest hospitals. They’re ranked #1 in Florida for overall cardiac services and stroke treatment. They also have one of Florida’s largest cancer programs.

This video was an opportunity to salute one of Boca Raton’s most important assets: its nurses.

I photographed these candid scenes using Panasonic GH1 & GH2 cameras. These small DSLR’s were equipped with Olympus 14-35mm F2 zooms and Canon FD series 50mm F1.4 & 85mm F1.2 lenses. For several days, we maintained a very low profile working in and around active operating rooms and patient areas. Small, 12″ x 12″ LED plexiglas panels were used as fill light on certain scenes.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to direct and photograph Steelers’ coach, Mike Tomlin in the new TV spots for “The Extra Mile Foundation.” This worthwhile, non-profit organization gives urban kids the chance to attend a school where they learn in an atmosphere that’s free from drugs and violence.

When you’re the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, every hour of your day is blocked out with meetings, interviews and other activities. Mike Tomlin was kind enough to give us 3 hours of his time. Producer and production coordinator, Judy Gurchak and I worked our entire shoot day around Tomlin’s schedule.

Stan Muschwek wrote and produced the new ad campaign. Stan thinks in visual terms, so he wrote scripts that didn’t require our featured talent to rush through his on-camera and voice-over copy. Stan and I have worked together on numerous projects for the past 25 years.

I shot all the 1080P “B-Roll” footage in actual working classrooms. For these scenes, I used Panasonic’s new GH2 camera. It makes great images and it’s small enough that kids don’t feel intimidated having it close to their face. Gaffer, Ted Weigand used small LED soft panels, bounce cards and battery powered LED fill lights to minimize classroom disruptions.

I shot Mike Tomlin’s on-camera segments with Panasonic’s new AF100, HDTV camera. I also photographed the still images for The Extra Mile Foundation’s 2011 print campaign. It feels great to give your time to such a worthwhile cause.

Cancer Survivors

On March 12, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


The concept sounds deceptively simple… real cancer survivors sharing their stories with the home viewer. We all agreed that the TV campaign would be most effective if these non-actors could talk one-on-one, directly to camera.

At Florida’s Lynn Cancer Institute, I mounted a through-the-lens teleprompter system in front of a Sony HDTV digital camera. The prompter’s monitor was fed by a video camera focused on an off-camera interviewer. Suddenly, our cancer survivors were talking and relating to a live human face, instead of a cold glass lens.

Producer/production coordinator, Judy Gurchak deliberately kept crew size to the bare minimum so the on-camera people wouldn’t be intimidated. Black flags and “floppies” were used to block the talent’s view of equipment and off-camera people.

During post-production, I decided to cut the best thoughts together and not worry about jump cuts. We made no attempt to hide the fact that the material had been edited. I felt that once the home viewer feels engaged with the talent and their story, why introduce random side cutaways, shots of hands or other distractions.