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.

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.

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.

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!

Scenes from a County Fair

On September 22, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


I live in the City of Pittsburgh. Our company is in the city. Most of our clients and ad agencies are located in cities across the state. It’s easy to forget that Pennsylvania is mostly rural farm country.

Once a year, my wife Carol and I travel an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh to Meadville, Pennsylvania. It’s the annual site of the Crawford County Fair, the largest agricultural and livestock exhibition in the state. For an entire week, kids and adults from all over Northwest Pennsylvania show off the best looking animals they’ve raised. 4H members and others take pride in their sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, goats, ducks and chicken. Every exhibitor hopes to win a prize and the bragging rights to having raised a “best of show” animal at the Crawford County Fair.

I call this video “Scenes from a Pennsylvania County Fair” because every week in the summer, scenes like these repeat themselves in rural towns across the state and throughout the country. It’s was a hot, sticky 92 degrees at the fair but everybody enjoyed walking the fairgrounds, eating junk food and catching up with their old friends.

This video is a compilation of 1080P footage I shot in 2008 and 2011. It’s a salute to the hard working people we sometimes take for granted…

Zacuto Inc. /Chicago

On September 18, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Zacuto is one of the world’s leading suppliers of innovative camera equipment and technologies. The company’s high-tech accessories for DSLR cameras are used throughout the world. If you shoot commercial video with Canon cameras, there’s a good chance you own Zacuto accessories.

Based in Chicago, Zacuto has a world-wide distribution network of dealers in Germany, France, Sweden, Tokyo and Singapore.

In addition to my “day job” directing and photographing TV commercials for clients and ad agencies across the US, I’ve been designing several new camera accessories for Panasonic’s GH1/GH2 series of cameras. These upcoming products will enhance the functionality and usability of these popular cameras.

Everyone who knows me is aware that I can’t buy or use a piece of equipment without taking it apart and modifying it. I’m guilty of never being happy with the status quo. I always think something can be better.

Check out Zacuto’s website: http://www.zacuto.com My short bio is part of the “Zacuto Product Designers” section: http://www.zacuto.com/zacuto-product-designers

Executive producer, Jim DeVincentis & Coach Don Nehlen

For 20 years, retired WVU Football Coach Don Nehlen brought the WVU Mountaineers from obscurity to a powerhouse in the Big East Conference. Thanks to Nehlen, WVU has one of the best college football stadiums and training facilities in the country. His athletic leadership abilities have been missed in Morgantown since his retirement. You know you’re appreciated when the road to Mountaineer Stadium is named Don Nehlen Drive.

Several years ago, Nehlen’s life was saved by triple-bypass heart surgery at West Virginia University Hospitals. We had the pleasure of filming Don as he told his story for an upcoming WVUH Heart Institute commercial. It’s always fun working with the marketing team at WVUH and agency, Fahlgren Advertising. Stay tuned… I’ll post the commercial as soon as it’s finished.

American “Pop” Artist, Burton Morris

On May 3, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Director, Glenn Przyborski and artist, Burton Morris

Just finished shooting an internet video project with Burton Morris, one of the country’s hottest artists. I love his energetic, vivid, fun style of unique “Pop” art, which is a tribute to artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Although Burton now resides in L.A., he has family and professional ties to his home town of Pittsburgh, PA. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Burton started his career as an art director at several major Pittsburgh ad agencies.

Burton Morris has created major works for CocaCola, The Academy Awards, Heinz, the Olympics, Absolut Vodka and hundreds of other corporations. Although he’s an internationally famous artist, Burton Morris’ is also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

He just completed a fun project for Eat ‘n Park Restaurants. Burton created his own original art to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Smiley,” Eat ‘n Park’s corporate cookie icon. This summer, Burton Morris’ original artwork will adorn t-shirts, coffee mugs and other items that are sold in Eat ‘n Park’s chain of over 80 restaurants.

Sorry, I can’t reveal Burton’s original “Smiley” artwork, ’till it’s unveiled in June!… stay tuned!

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.

S&T Bank spot featuring Jerome Bettis

On April 21, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

I used Panasonic’s new AF100 HDTV camera to shoot this commercial which features former NFL SuperStar Jerome Bettis. With the exception of the airliner cutaway, every scene was shot at 1080P using Canon FD series lenses. I shot the Airbus 319 airliner cutaway in the pouring rain using my smaller GH-2 camera. The spot was fun to shoot and the folks at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, PA and Spirit Airlines from Ft. Lauderdale were very accommodating. Jerome Bettis always arrives on-set with a great attitude and gives 100% to the project. The commercial will air on numerous stations and cable systems in Western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh based Elias-Savion Advertising is S&T Bank’s advertising agency.

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