Oct 30
2013

Every now and then a video production project comes along that requires all of our skills and talents in multiple crafts as well as some true artistry. This is one that we are especially proud of. The public service video promoted participation in the foster care program in Tampa, Florida. It presented several challenges. The initial one was that because of privacy issues the heart-wrenching and personal stories couldn’t show any of the families involved.

Unique Approach
Studio president and creative director Mike Weber presented the client with the concept of writing a script that was the blending of several true cases into the story of one child. The treatment would be done in a form parents and children can relate to: a storybook. More specifically, a pop-up storybook that would become a virtual set for the six-minute video. The live action actors would seem to be be inserted into the pages using green screen compositing. “It seemed like a simple idea at the time” says Weber. “But original artwork takes time, lots of time.” Ultimately CMR artists devoted nearly a thousand man-hours over sixth months to producing the one of a kind pop-up book.

Click in the window below to see all the steps in the production process.

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Local Landscape
Every page turn reveals one of eleven scenes depicting: the Tampa skyline, the University of Tampa, a house, various interior settings, Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo. They each open into dimensional art that was then shot close-up in HD. All the actors that appear on camera also appear on the pages of the book, so Art Director Marina Weber had the job of creating their actual likenesses, including wardrobe, along with a whole cast of paper extras. Multiplane dimensional background plates and animation elements add even more detail that wouldn’t be possible to physically fold in the book.

High Def Video and Special Effects
The foster care agency helped select professional talent to match their typical client profile.  The green screen footage was then shoot on the in-house CMR stage. Adam Weber handled shooting the HD footage of the pop-up book virtual set and designing unique pinpoint lighting for each scene. Page manipulation was done by Marina and Melissa.
Like puppeteers, they hid behind the book and wore green gloves so their hands could be removed from the shots later.

Post-Production
Once all the HD footage was shot, the footage was edited in Final Cut, and the various elements were composited together. The actors were put “in” the book, background plates were added along with animated elements before a final color correction and color grading. Mike Weber then handled audio post adding a customized music track and sound effects for each scene before the final audio mix and project completion.

Award Winning Work
The video project was recognized for excellence, winning a national TELLY Award.

Click Here To View The Finished Video

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Jul 26
2010

Here’s the full article that appeared in the Tampa Bay Business Journal about the AAF 4th District www.FriendFlorida.org public service campaign.

It’s likely that Tampa Bay area residents know the beaches are oil-free. But people outside the area aren’t so sure.

Now, the American Advertising Federation – Fourth District, the affiliate of the national professional association representing Florida and the Caribbean, is giving the message an extra push. A national understanding of the condition of Tampa Bay area beaches is important not only to pirate ship cruise operators, jet-ski rental companies and the tourism industry, but to the economic health of a region built around the water.

Mike Weber, president of St. Petersburg media production company CMR Studios, is leading the AAF – Fourth District campaign. He was inspired to start the effort after attending the AAF national conference in Orlando in June.

“People I talked to thought that all the Gulf beaches were black with oil,” Weber said.

The campaign will involve television spots, print ads and other media promoting the website www.friendflorida.org, which contains links to social media channels Facebook and YouTube and encourages visitors to “friend” Florida. Each of the 22 AAF-Fourth District’s Florida chapters will produce and distribute advertising directing people to www.friendflorida.org.

The entire campaign, including the media buys, will be on a pro-bono basis, Weber said.

The idea is people will better understand the state of the beaches if they hear it from someone they know.

Timing is right

The campaign is set to help Florida as it stands at a crossroads for tourism marketing.

Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing organization, on July 18 spent the last of the $12 million it received out of BP’s $25 million grant to Florida for tourism advertising.

BP denied Gov. Charlie Crist’s June 30 request for another $50 million for tourism advertising and has yet to officially respond to further appeals for funding.

With funding still stuck in the sand, Visit Florida is trying to figure out its options.

“There’s little chance that without additional funding from BP, or some other sources, we would be able to continue at any level for the next couple of months,” said Visit Florida spokeswoman Kathy Torian.

In the meantime, hotels are taking their own steps to bring in customers and keep the public informed.

Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center in St. Pete Beach has its “Clean Beach Guarantee” that promises to waive early departure fees, allow a 6 p.m. cancellation on the same day of arrival and assist in finding other accommodations in event of a beachfront oil spill.

Negative perceptions around the country have shortened the booking window and cut into out-of-state group business, said Steve Rosenstock, marketing manager. “Everybody is losing some business because of the oil spill.”

Longboat Key Club & Resort has implemented its own “Clean Beach Guarantee” through the end of September that changed the cancellation policy from seven days prior to arrival to 24 hours.

Public Relations Manager Katherine Songster hopes the plan will increase people’s confidence.

“It’s a significant move on our part,” she said. “We want to make the consumer comfortable.”

While levels of business at the 218-room property are not dramatically different from a year ago, call volumes dropped at the height of negative press, Songster said.

Of particular concern was a call from a Tampa resident concerned about oil on Longboat Key beaches.

“We were all scratching our heads on that one,” Songster said. “It was a bit surprising someone so close to here had that perception.”

Multimedia experience
Pinellas County’s destination marketing organization Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater has taken a multimedia approach to keeping the public informed.
VSPC received $1.15 million from BP’s $25 million tourism advertising grant to Florida.
VSPC first increased the frequency of television and radio spots in the Tampa Bay and Orlando markets, which are the two major feeder markets for summer tourism.
VSPC’s efforts also have included “Wide Open” themed print ads with aerial images of clean beaches, a rotator board at Tropicana Field, e-mail blasts and search engine optimization to link the VSPC website to oil-free Web searches.
This week VSPC initiated “Underwater Updates,” short videos of footage from the reef system spanning the length of Pinellas County’s beaches.
The videos appeal to another important segment of area tourism, scuba tourism, VSPC Executive Director D.T. Minich said in a release.
Live Web cam images have been a component of both VSPC and Visit Florida’s efforts to inform the public.
— Margaret Cashill


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