More Eat ‘n Park TV Fun

On October 10, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


For the latest series of Eat ‘n Park TV spots, Sarah Marince asks employees what they love about Eat ‘n Park (besides their paycheck.) In my favorite spot of the new “Team” series, Sarah gets to put the icing on EnP’s iconic Smiley Face Cookie.

I currently shoot these spots on 2 HDTV digital cameras. All the sync sound sequences are shot on a Panasonic AF-100 equipped with Canon and Olympus lenses. I use the very heavy 14mm – 35mm F2 zoom for most wide angle scenes. Either a 50mm F1.4 or a 85mm F1.2 lens handles talent close-ups.

My second camera for quick, hand-held cutaways is either a Panasonic GH2 or a Canon 5D mk2. All the cutaways in this spot were shot on a GH2 equipped with a 20mm F1.7 lens.

Over the years, I’ve found that the only way to direct and shoot this “scripted spontaneity” is to think of each sequence as a very short play.

While gaffer, Ted Wiegand is setting lights with the crew, I’ll have the talent first perform the scene or sequence without any direction. Invariably, people will naturally stay too far apart for TV. After a couple run throughs, I’ll get the desired distance between the actors. Then I’ll determine the best wide shot or master shot angle to cover the action. The close-up, return shots between actors happen naturally based on the master shot.

Although I often use a Fisher 10 crab dolly, for this spot I shot all the test kitchen dialogue with my camera mounted on a monopod. It gives the scenes spontaneity and just enough movement as if the action was natural and unrehearsed.

When you’re working in tight quarters, such as Eat ‘n Park’s test kitchen, the choices of camera angles and camera positions are limited, so you make the most of the best overall background for your master shot. The backgrounds for close-ups will be out-of-focus, so you can add, subtract or cheat certain scene elements.

One last bit of advice, when working with “real people” as opposed to actors, let them play themselves. As long as the role they’re playing is within their normal “world” you can usually get a pretty credible performance. I’ve found that non-professionals do their best on the second or third take. After that it’s a crap shoot.

BTW, that’s actually Sarah perfectly icing the cookie in the close-up!

Eat ‘n Park’s Strawberry Pie TV

On April 28, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


I used Panasonic’s new AF100 to shoot the latest HDTV campaign for Eat ‘n Park, a Pittsburgh based chain of restaurants. In one 10 hour shoot day, we had to set, light and stage a sequence inside the company’s test kitchen. This included several tasty food shots of strawberry pies. The second half of the day was used to film “customer testimonials” and customer interaction with country singer and company spokesperson, Sarah Marince. (Sarah just celebrated her 21st birthday!)

The shots inside Eat ‘n Park’s test kitchen were lit with 3, 1200 watt Arri HMI’s located outside the kitchen’s windows. To create a warm feel of early morning sunlight, we put CTO gel on the HMI’s. The interior fill light was from 12″ x 12″ daylight balanced LED panels. I manually set the AF100’s color balance to 4700K to keep the warm feel without going too yellow or orange. Most of the kitchen scenes were shot from a Fisher 10 crab dolly. For the pie cutaways, I mounted my AF100 on a small, homemade tabletop dolly with skate wheels. I used my Olympus 14-35mm F2 lens for the wide and medium wide shots and an older Canon 85mm F1.2 FD lens for close-ups.

A few of the in-restaurant scenes were filmed from the Fisher crab, but for most I used a Manfrotto mono-pod. This created a more spontaneous and unpredictable feel to the back and forth dialogue. Most of these scenes were shot with a EF series, Canon 24-70 F2.8L lens, wide open at F2.8. All the in-restaurant footage was lit with HMI’s outside the restaurant and LED panels and white bounce cards inside. We exchanged all the warm-white CFL bulbs for 5000K lamps.

The second portion of the video is a movie theater ad that plays between shows in hundreds of theaters in Western Pennsylvania. I shot this simple on-camera delivery spot at the end of our shoot day.

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