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Making TV and Movies, NYC Style


The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has released its latest Reel Jobs campaign, promoting film and television production in the city. The five-spot effort, directed by Artists Company‘s Mike Rowles, was edited by Fluid Editorial while Nice Shoes handled color grading, conform and mastering. All three companies are based in New York.

Each of the five :30s explores a different facet of the city’s vibrant film industry, unfolding in a rippling split-screen montage of stunning city scenes, interviews and action shots. The Kirshoff family talks about the city’s gorgeous scenery while calmly blowing up an SUV. Christina discusses her Queens, NY roots and the network of NYC-based suppliers who help her create sets for Gossip Girl. Manny, a self-styled special-ops soldier of the TV and film industries, prowls the streets in a full-body steadicam mount while waxing poetic about New York’s diverse culture. Damon scours New York for shoot locations, reinforcing his claim that the production armies overtaking the streets comprise mostly New Yorkers. John and Lisa explain how local vendors make the elaborate period pieces in the expansive wardrobe they design for HBO‘s Boardwalk Empire.

“We had some big stories to tell in just 30 seconds,” said Fluid EP Laura Relovsky. “Using a dynamic split screen gave us an awesome vehicle to tell each story and show how magical the city can be for a commercial or film backdrop – plus it allowed us to use as much of Mike’s amazing footage as possible. At Fluid, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling, and the delicate balance of multiple images simultaneously appearing onscreen was an enormously fun challenge that delivered something most people haven’t seen before.”

The editorial team of Peter Sabatino, Zeke O’Donnell, Michael Equi and Heather Danosky worked with Nice Shoes’ color and finishing artists Chris Ryan, Russ Bigsby and Vin Roma to deliver the full complement of very complicated spots – a process streamlined considerably by the hands-off, let-the-talent-work attitude of the mayor’s office.

As Fluid assembled, Nice Shoes worked on color grading, conforming and mastering the spots, preparing various versions for play in Cinemas, on TV and in NYC taxis. The studio’s pipeline allowed them to breeze from color to conform and deliver the finished spots very quickly.

“The biggest challenge for us was trying to deliver a cohesive look to the campaign from so many different editors,” said Nice Shoes senior producer Pat Portela.

“Integrating the small variations within each edit and finessing the montages requires attention to detail and creative insight, but luckily we have the technology and the talent to handle just about anything,” said Nice Shoes colorist and partner Chris Ryan. “The Baselight is the only system that allowed us to simulate this complex editorial piece and color correct them all at the same time. Being able to work like this was really helpful in executing Mike’s vision.”

Fluid and Nice Shoes had both worked with Rowles in the past, and the edit company worked especially closely with him throughout the creative process this time, from writing the script to stitching the final spots together. “We have an implicit trust in each other’s instincts and talent,” noted Fluid editor Peter Sabatino.

“Mike not only is a great director, but he also respects the insights of the editor, which makes for a very creative and efficient process. He had a vision for these spots and knew that it would be realized by letting the amazing editors at Fluid get to work.” Ryan added, “I’ve been working with Mike since Nice Shoes opened its doors. I’ve always loved his photography and his aesthetic; he’s always interested in experimenting with multiple looks within a single spot. We’ve always had a good relationship. Even though he’s a Detroit Red Wings fan.”

Ultimately, the project, with its opportunities to showcase such a broad range of industry talent, delivered a level of personal satisfaction for the crew behind its creation. “This is our industry, it’s what we do, and what we love,” said Relovsky. “This project felt personal and we were very happy to have a part in telling this story.”

“Manny” first aired at the TriBeCa Film Festival, with the full package of spots running in taxis and in theaters across the city, among other places.

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