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.

WVU Healthcare “Anthem”

On October 16, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

WVUHealthcare “Anthem” :60 from Glenn Przyborski on Vimeo.

WVU Healthcare is West Virginia’s largest medical center. The facility is also a teaching hospital for hundreds of West Virginia University medical students.

My assignment for this commercial campaign was to capture the thoughts and stories of several doctors and real-life patients. No actors were to be used. The marketing team wanted to show some technology, but humanity would be the primary focus.

Working with WVUH’s creative marketing team of Heidi Specht and Jay Coughlin, I scouted dozens of locations around the hospital complex. In the “real world” of tight budget production, extensive pre-production and logistics play a key role. You’d like to shoot dozens of scenes and angles, but you only have a couple 12 hour days. I needed to spend the time shooting rather than moving from location to location.

Putting together a “doable” shoot schedule is the responsibility of my producer and production coordinator, Judy Gurchak. While the crew was moving equipment from one sync-sound setup to another, I was shooting hand-held footage in operating rooms during actual surgery.

I shot all the sync-sound talent scenes with my Canon 5Dmk3. It’s shallow depth-of-field separated speaking doctors and patients from busy backgrounds. I used a Panasonic GH2 with high-speed Canon FD series lenses for rapid, “B-roll” cutaways. I also employed a GoPro Hero2 HD camera for the exterior time-lapse scenes of the hospital. Pittsburgh’s Jay Green of Big Science Music created the original music and mixed the spot.

Church’s Chicken Puerto Rico

On February 14, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Judy Gurchak


Church’s Chicken has over 1700 locations in 22 countries. In Puerto Rico they’re arguably the most popular chicken restaurants with over 70 units.

For years, Pittsburgh based food stylist Shui Ziegler and her husband have created the food stylings for Church’s in-store menus as well as broadcast and print promotions. Przyborski Productions was brought on-board to work with Shui & Zig to create the introductory TV spot for Church’s new “Breakfast Pockets”  (or in Spanish, “Pockets Desayuno”.)

set stylist Zig Ziegler sets a "hero" egg


Przyborski shot the digital commercial in John Sanderson’s studio, located in Pittsburgh’s strip district.  Felipe Flores, Church’s VP of Marketing, asked Glenn to create a warm, golden, morning feel to the scenes, emphasizing the product’s natural ingredients.

Everything was shot on the RED “Epic” camera system, primarily using Glenn’s Canon lenses. For the extremely tight macro scenes of bacon and sausage, the unique Innovision “Probe II” snorkel lens was employed. Glenn feels the greatest feature of the Epic is its ability to shoot at almost any frame rate up to 300fps.  The falling tortillas were shot at 240fps.

The commercial was edited and mixed by the Kamikaze Group in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. They also created the original music track. The ad is currently airing in HD throughout Puerto Rico.  In case you’re hungry, the closest Church’s Chicken to Pittsburgh is in Akron, Ohio.

Rebellion 2012

On January 22, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Usually, I’m shooting nice things… like attractive people eating food while smiling. This project was completely different.

John Brabender (BrabenderCox) is one of the country’s top political media consultants. For over 10 years, he and I have worked together on many successful TV campaigns. John rarely thinks anywhere near the box, much less inside it.

John gave us less than a week to put together this project. Fortunately, I remembered scouting an old abandoned manufacturing building in Pittsburgh for a previous TV campaign. My producer and production coordinator, Judy Gurchak and I re-scouted the location and it was still available.

I set up most of the shots to take advantage of a wall of windows that lined the North side of the building. This became my primary light source, supplemented with 1200 and 2500 watt HMI’s. We used smoke machines to add atmosphere and distance to the scenes.

Growing up in Florida, I hate shooting in freezing cold weather. For the entire shoot day, our set temperature was less than 50ºF. We couldn’t use heaters because they quickly dissipated the smoke. Our shoot day was overcast and snowy, so we knew we would loose useable window light by 4:30PM.

I used a motorized, 7′ slider for the marching feet scenes and all ground level camera angles. This slider can smoothly move 25 pounds of camera.

I photographed everything with a RED Epic M using the standard set of RED primes including the 300mm telephoto. Every scene (except the fall) was shot at 30fps for playback at 23.98.

Thad Christian at Pittsburgh’s Phenomenom Post did an amazing job editing and grading the 90 second spot in less than 2 days including numerous effect shots. Michael Goodis handled original sound design. Steve Parys worked his butt off as my assistant director. Without the talents of gaffer, Ted Wiegand and scenic designer, Rich Schutte none of this would have been possible in such a short amount of time.

PLEASE: No political comments… I’ve uploaded this commercial to show an interesting assignment and production treatment… it’s not intended to be a political statement.

Przyborski Wins Platinum at MarCom

On November 26, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


All of us at Przyborski Productions were happy to learn that our commercials for Boca Raton Regional Hospital won a “Platinum” award for broadcast media in the 2011 MarCom Awards. This is the third year that Boca Raton’s marketing team, headed by Tom Chakurda, has called on Przyborski Productions for the medical center’s on-air TV marketing.

MarCom is sponsored by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The mission of the MarCom Awards is to honor excellence and recognize the creativity of marketing and communication professionals. The MarCom Awards is a creative competition for corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies and industry freelancers. The MarCom competition has grown to the largest of its kind in the world with about 5,000 entries per year. A look at the winners shows a range in size from individuals to media conglomerates and Fortune 50 companies.

CLICK HERE to screen several recent Boca Raton Regional Hospital spots, including the latest MarCom Platinum winner.

an early snowfall…

On November 7, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


I live a few miles north of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In our region, it’s extremely rare to have a mid-October snowfall. I woke on Saturday morning to unexpected, falling snow that was over an inch across. It was so beautiful that I grabbed one of our high-def cameras and shot a few scenes around my home.

In Pittsburgh, we were lucky. Our snow melted and was gone by early afternoon. The entire Northeast U.S. didn’t fare as well with a massive 6 to 12 inch snow storm.

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