When Millennium Creative Group’s Cliff Pia needed a live action partner to produce a national Reynolds Wrap spot last spring nobody anticipated that a year later two more spots would already be on air, with two more soon to be on the way. What started as one spot blossomed into an entire campaign credited with boosting Reynolds Wrap sales across the country.
Partnering with Circle One advertising in Connecticut, the three-way creative team has been working to make all the spots fun and humorous, both with performance and visual design. This has resulted in a series of inspired shoots bringing ER’s brand of expert art direction and casting together with a fantastic production crew.
ER and Millennium Creative Group have collaborated on close to a dozen commercial and web spots over the last several years. Of the tight MCG/ER relationship, Pia comments, "You can’t find a more professional or a more client friendly production partner in Hollywood than Engine Room. I trust them with any technical challenge and as important, with any client. Professionalism, honesty, integrity, and good people is a hard combination to find these days, but Engine Room has all of the above."
The feeling is mutual from everyone at ER; who view the relationship with MCG as among its best. "We shine brightest when we have the chance to shape projects all the way through the production process," reports ER principle and live action DP, Dan Schmit. "Our clients appreciate and rely on our focused attention to detail which we impress upon every aspect of our work."
Breathing new life into a household brand like Reynolds Wrap can be a difficult challenge. The fact that clients like Millennium and Circle One keep coming back for more demonstrates how collaboration with Engine Room bring success to any production task, no matter how tricky.
Engine Room is proud to have been tapped by the creatives at CNN On-Air to produce its most recent image spot for Larry King Live. The piece highlights the stature of the broadcast icon, with a unique behind-the-scenes view of his legendary, Los Angeles-based news studio.
The collaboration with CNN On-Air to produce the spot, demonstrated perfectly the level of trust and excellence for which Engine Room is known. Leaving no room for error, the precise schedule for the shoot was timed out to the minute. Engine Room seamlessly coordinated with CNN show producers and technicians gaining unparalleled access to shoot inside the actual Larry King Studio just hours before the show went on air. When the star arrived the multi-camera HD shoot jumped into gear and when the cameras finally cut, Larry King exclaimed, “That was the easiest shoot I have ever done!”
“Larry was a pleasure to work with”, says ER cinematographer Dan Schmit. “It was an honor to collaborate with him and to have the opportunity to fold our production into his tightly produced show.”
The best part for the crew, besides hanging out with a legend, was listening to his amazing stories in-between set-ups. “This was a shoot that none of us will ever forget,” affirms Schmit. “It was wildly entertaining with high-pressure stakes all rolled into one.”
Engine Room’s friends at Culver City design and advertising group, Hello Creative, recently turned to Engine Room to help them realize their concept for the product launch of Sony’s latest gadget, the Altus wireless home speaker system. The project, which united the design group with Engine Room’s brand of turn-key shooting, was shot on ER’s home turf at Hollywood Center Studios.
The Web and In-Store sales campaign examines the multitude of uses the Altus music system offers. The challenge with selling any new gadget is conveying how and why the latest technology is something that will enhance a consumer’s life. The Hello Creative campaign does a beautiful job in doing this by following a couple as they transition from room to room via a series of seamlessly interwoven vignettes where we witness each of the new Sony speaker system’s individual applications and uses.
From the foyer where a woman docks her iPhone, to the kitchen, office, living room, dining room and bedroom, the Sony Altus wirelessly beams synchronous music throughout the home. The Hello Design concept depicting the environment in a classic minimalist white world focuses our attention on the product and its ease of use. The project, which was natively shot in HD, had to live both as a horizontal format for the Sony website and as a vertical 16×9 aspect ratio for in-store monitors at retailers across the country.
From casting to art direction, pre-production to wrap, Engine Room’s long history of specialty shooting for all kinds of design applications made it the perfect choice to produce this innovative and high-profile live action showpiece.
View the Sony Altus product website
When independent feature film Quid Pro Quo, was green-lit back in March 2006 by HD Net Films, then it was scheduled to shoot in NY that fall, several production problems arose. Writer/Director Carlos Brooks had penned an essential flashback sequence to be set in a field of blooming tulips. Unfortunately, tulips cannot be found in New York in October, rather outside of Seattle in April. So he and producers Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury turned to Engine Room to solve this scheduling dilemma by seaming footage shot half a year and half a country apart into one sequence.
While environmental backgrounds are commonly shot after a live action green screen scene is photographed, to attempt to shoot them first for a complex scene like this was ambitious and required extensive planning. After weeks of detailed storyboarding ER cinematographer and VFX supervisor, Dan Schmit joined Brooks in Seattle to shoot the scenes, sans actors. Blessed with perfect HD shooting conditions the result was a library of provocative footage that ultimately became a visual signature for the film itself.
In the fall when production started up on the East coast, Schmit then joined first unit to ensure the actor green screen elements were shot correctly. After editing, Engine Room then digitally composited the entire scene. According to this year’s Sundance Film Festival audiences the plan worked, as the film was met with fantastic reviews. Quid Pro Quo opens mid-June in New York and LA before releasing nationwide.
Engine Room is slated to join Brooks on his next picture shooting this summer, Burning Bright.