Spot Production During a Pandemic

On September 21, 2020, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

2020 will go down as the worst year on record for filmmaking. Our governor declared that TV and film production was not an essential business in Pennsylvania. Przyborski Productions was literally shut down for months. 

Our first project during the ongoing pandemic was an orthopedic campaign for Excela Health. Production is different during COVID-19. Every morning, each crew member’s temperature was taken. Fortunately, nobody had a fever. Everyone (other than on-camera talent) had to wear a mask during the entire production.  

Another difference was crew & client meals, snacks and beverages. Instead of the usual catered lunch, each person was handed a “bagged” lunch which they ate while maintaining social distancing. There were lots of crew snacks & beverages, but now each item is individually packaged and handed to the crew. This includes sealed water bottles & soft drinks. No more open trays of fresh fruit & deli items.

Thanks to the planning & detailed work of our production coordinator, Tracey Kovell, the multi-day Excela Health shoot happened smoothly, efficiently… and safely. 

Excela Health “Accolades” TV Campaign

On January 9, 2020, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Excela Health is the largest medical system in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Excela has three major medical centers… Westmoreland Hospital, Frick Hospital, and Latrobe Hospital, plus smaller, specialized medical treatment facilities. They’re also the county’s largest employer.

Pittsburgh based, Przyborski Productions was chosen to produce Excela’s new TV campaign titled, “Accolades” which showcases the system’s health services and areas of specialization… from complex orthopedics to open-heart surgery.

Using a crew with experience shooting inside busy hospitals, Glenn Przyborski directed and photographed the campaign in 4K Ultra High Definition. This allowed hi-res “frame grabs” from the video to be re-purposed for billboards, social media, and other marketing purposes.

Excela’s Tom Chakurda created the concept and Robert Firment handled the complex logistics that allowed all the scenes for “Accolades” to be shot at 3 separate hospitals, over 2 long days.

Greg Yost 1957-2019

On November 19, 2019, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Greg Yost, creative director of Lazor-Yost Marketing & Design, has passed away.

I first met Greg in the early 90’s. He was creative director of “The Kaiser Group”. Greg was the first agency art director I encountered that was sure computers would take over all mechanical aspects of layout & design in advertising. We both owned early Macintosh systems, and once a month we’d get together to swap 3.5” floppy disks of programs we either bought or borrowed.

The first project I directed and photographed for Greg was for Sheetz. Greg did much of the early creative marketing concepts and in-store signage for this family owned, Altoona based company. They were trying hard to be more than a group of “7-11 type” convenience stores. Greg created the advertising that introduced Sheetz Coffee, “MTO” food items, Sheetz Hot Dogs, “Sheetza Pizza”, “IT” Cola, “Jacks” cigarettes and Sheetz’s own brand of gasoline. When you pull into a Sheetz for coffee, food or gas… remember Greg Yost.

I also filmed many of Greg’s creative and sometimes crazy TV campaigns for Hoss’s Restaurants, HealthSouth Rehab Centers, Fruth Drug Stores, Unimart, CEI Cable & Internet and Atlantic Luggage. The projects always had limited budgets, but we always had fun shooting Greg’s concepts.

I last spoke with Greg in May and he never mentioned that he was sick and undergoing treatment for cancer. We talked about how the ad business had changed over the past couple decades and that today we’d never get away with what we used to do… He sounded positive, upbeat and directly involved in the marketing efforts of his clients.

As a remembrance, here’s a few of Greg Yost’s favorite TV projects from 1991 through 2009…RIP my friend.

Film Production in the 90’s

On July 18, 2019, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


About once a year, clients will ask if I miss shooting commercials on film as we used to do on every project. Our last “film” production was in 2006. Looking back, my business partner, Jim DeVincentis and I had a lot of fun on film shoots in the late 80’s, 90’s & early 2000’s.

In the mid-90’s, JVC introduced a small mini-DV camcorder. We bought several of them and asked clients and crew to shoot some behind-the-scenes video during our film productions. I located several of the old tapes and edited them together with the actual footage we were filming. Of course everything back then was standard def.

Most people think of the past with nostalgia… as if things were always better in the “good old days.” Do I miss shooting film? I’ve always enjoyed working with agencies & clients to create commercials that everyone was proud to air. The specific production “medium” was never the most important part of a project.

My son John said, “Dad… If the vinyl LP record can return to popularity, movie film has a good chance of a come back.” You never know…

KDKA-TV PROMOTIONS 1979-1996

On June 25, 2019, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


Here’s a “time capsule” of KDKA-TV promos from ’79-’96.

Friends at a retirement party for KDKA’s Drew Moniot reminded me of the many promotional campaigns Przyborski Productions produced for KDKA from 1979 through 1996. Those were the “analog” days of 35mm film production, film-to-tape transfers, and tape-to-tape video editing.

I was fortunate to work with 3 of KDKA’s creative services directors… Brad Crum (1979-1982), Art Greenwald (1985-1988), & Lorraine Sneebold (1988-1996). The promos we produced were often music-driven, high-energy spots that featured KDKA’s on-air talent and their interaction with the community.

The earliest of these promotions aired 40+ years ago. They’re a visual tribute to KDKA’s talent and staff, many of whom are retired or unfortunately, no longer with us.

Stanley Steemer’s “That’s Gross” TV Campaign

On June 4, 2019, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


Here’s a fun look at a crazy network ad campaign produced for Stanley Steemer, America’s largest residential and commercial cleaning service. 

Corporate creative director, Jim McCabe called with an unusual production request. In 2006, the company had marketing success with a funny commercial that featured “Toby” a Labrador Retriever scooting his butt across the living room carpet to the shock of the homeowner and her friend. Jim wanted to revisit the concept, only this time “Toby” would scoot over carpet, tile and hardwood floors. Plus, Jim also wanted a trained parrot who harasses Toby.

Glenn Przyborski directed and photographed the campaign using 2 cameras on each shot for more editorial options. 2 cameras also gave an “insurance factor” just in case the trained animals “lost interest” after several takes. Everything was shot and edited in 4K UHD, then downsampled to 1080 for final release. 

SmithFoods “The Children’s Table”

On November 5, 2018, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

SmithFoods of Orrville, Ohio is a family owned company, founded in 1909. They supply premium dairy and other food products throughout Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.

The Innis Maggiore Agency of Canton, OH chose Przyborski Productions to produce SmithFoods’ latest TV campaign. The concept called for casting 5 children and 5 adults who could be those same kids, only now in their 40’s.

Glenn Przyborski directed and photographed the commercial in 4K digital. Props and wardrobe stylists selected kid’s clothes and table props that were popular in the mid-to-late 80’s. Back then, all TV was standard definition, so we rendered the opening sequence in the 4 x 3 ratio of older TV sets. After several visual tests, we decided not to alter the color or contrast of the opening sequence.

The commercial runs throughout Ohio and selected portions of the Mid-West.

Throwback Thursday TV Spots

On May 29, 2018, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

A short time ago, I ran into Russ Streiner, an old friend who’s best known as the producer of George Romero’s, “Night of the Living Dead”. He has the unique distinction of being the first person in the film killed by a zombie. Russ was excited about the Blu-ray HD release of this classic horror film. In the 60’s & 70’s, Russ produced dozens of television ad campaigns. Many people are unaware that his business partner, the late George Romero, was a popular director, cinematographer and editor of TV spots before moving on to motion pictures.

Russ asked if I had saved any of the old commercials created by Hartwick-Przyborski Productions. Paul Hartwick (who passed in 2013) and I founded the company in 1975. From 1975 to 1987, “H/P” produced hundreds of TV commercials for clients and ad agencies across the USA. At one time, we had offices in New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

I located several boxes of old 2” and 1” videotape. All these spots were originally shot on 35mm film. In the 70’s & 80’s, commercials were distributed to networks and TV stations, exclusively on videotape.

In no particular running order, I selected 25 commercials. They look and sound so dated when compared to what we do today. Check out the popularity of musical jingles and just how bad electronic title graphics looked 35+ years ago. If you’re over 40, you might remember some of these ads from when they originally aired…

This video is also on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/272371561

Przyborski Productions & Stanley Steemer 2017

On March 15, 2017, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Stanley Steemer is America’s largest and best know cleaning service.

Przyborski Productions produced their new 5 spot TV campaign which currently airs on both network and cable stations. The week long production was shot in Tampa, FL which historically has some of the country’s best winter weather. The most difficult production challenge was staging a parade, complete with an original Stanley Steemer float, marching bands and a hundred extras.

The campaign was created by Jim McCabe, Stanley Steemer’s Creative Director and produced by New York based, Frank DiSalvo. Glenn Przyborski directed, photographed and edited the spots… “It was great working with old friends from the past. James and Frank were the agency creative team behind dozens of successful Giant Eagle, Autozone and Alliance Capital commercials that we previously produced.” Glenn adds, “This campaign is traditional, solid marketing… In an easy to understand way, each spot shows that Stanley Steemer is the best solution to household cleaning problems.”

Space Junk and Mills-James shared the visual effects work. Rob Deaner of Contagious Music created the original music tracks and mixed the spots.

“Doctor D” Does College Commencement

On May 18, 2016, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

D at KentState
Jim DeVincentis has been my business partner and Executive Producer at Przyborski Productions for the past 28 years. We started the company together in 1988. Every agency person and client we’ve worked with calls him “Jimmy D” or just “D”. 

This past weekend, Kent State University asked D to give the commencement address for graduates of the College of Mass Communications and Information, College of Business Administration and College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.  D also serves on the National Athletic Development Council for Kent State and is featured in their Athletic Hall of Fame.

 Jimmy’s daughters, Dina DeVincentis and Maria DeVincentis were part of the 7,000+ Convocation Center crowd. Dina graduated in 2011 and Maria graduated that same day.

 We’re now calling “D” the honorary “Doctor D”.