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
The number one cable movie of 2009. 11.4 Million viewers. Five hundred "stunning" visual effects shots. Pretty impressive!
Shot in Puerto Rico, this acclaimed Disney Channel event feature is based on the characters of the hit "Wizards of Waverly Place" television series, now in production on its third season. The show follows the adventures of Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) and her brothers Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin) as young teenage wizards growing up in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of NYC. There is a lot of VFX magic happening on the show, and the new movie takes that to a whole new level.
The story follows the family on a trip down memory lane to the tropical vacation paradise where their parents first met. In a fit of rage, the reluctant Alex wishes that her parents had never met. The wish is granted and they are thrust into an alternate dimension. The kids find they have only a few hours to fix the problem or they will cease to exist. They take an exotic journey through the island’s remote rainforest in search of the "Stone of Dreams", a mystical wizard relic capable or reversing the accidental spell.
"The interesting thing about this movie from a visual effects perspective was the large variety of shots and sequences. This allowed us to build a diverse global artist team to execute all the necessary elements", says VFX Supervisor Dan Schmit, who was present for much of the filming in San Juan early this spring. As with most television films the post turn-around was very short. "This made some of the bigger more work-intensive 3D scenes like the Jungle Chasm and NYC Subway sequences, a major challenge", Schmit add, "but we still delivered an incredible VFX package on time and on budget."
Engine Room has collaborated on over 25 original Disney Channel Movies and numerous DC television series over the last eight years, but the Wizards Movie was the by far the biggest and most ambitious project yet. Based on its success, there is speculation about a sequel. Having given the show’s viewers an incredible visual effects feast with the first film, who knows where the Russo family’s next adventure will take us?
CBS’s ratings juggernaut "The Mentalist", continues its roll into a second season with one change; the show’s producers called on Engine Room’s Design Division to up the ante with a new main title look. Designer Jason Fisher-Jones passed the test by delivering a stunning Blue Note inspired design that highlights the show’s unique style and signature edginess.
While in days gone by a primetime main title was something embellished for up to 45 seconds of screen time, these days networks aim to keep their viewers engaged by cutting them down to as little as 7 seconds or less. Today’s design challenge is therefore to create an experience that is compelling, fun to watch and delivers a memorable brand message fast. The new Mentalist main title successfully does all of that by capitalizing on iconic black & white images of protagonist, Simon Baker intermixed with cool vintage graphics.
The choice of who to tap for this task was an easy one as Engine Room has been the go-to company for the show’s visual effects since the first season. As a result, there was already an intimate trust between creator Bruno Heller and executive producer Chris Long and their Engine Room effects team. Executive Producer & VFX Supervisor Michael Caplan worked closely with all parties involved to capture the essence of the series in creating the compelling and classy new look.
Judging by the speed in which the piece shot through the network approval process, it is safe to say that the new open is here to stay and will remain a permanent part of the show for the run of the series. And based on its devoted fan base, “The Mentalist” will continue to entertain and keep viewers guessing for many more seasons to come.