SAN FRANCISCO, CA  December 9 & 10, 2006
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
In December of 2006, Harvest Films came to San Francisco to shoot portions of a TV spot for the fitness drink PROPEL.  
The concept of the commercial can be seen sketched out on the Storyboards, but essentially it goes like this:
We see a busy and noisy city downtown.  Into this milieu arrives a massive, 8-story “Stress Monster”,
composed of all the things which get on one’s nerves: traffic, an angry boss,  ringing phones, alarm clocks, etc. etc.
The Monster jogs through the downtown city canyons and as it runs,  bits and pieces of stress start falling off
and come crashing to the ground. As it runs, more and more items come crashing down and the Monster
begins to diminish in size.  By the end of the commercial the Monster has disappeared and a relieved and smiling
Everyman takes its place, freed of stress through exercise and, of course, the healing magic of PROPEL fitness drink.
There were two different portions of the filming, which I have entitled “SpyderCam” and “Taxi Drop”.
Both involved special effects of varying types.
Director of Photography Bill Pope (THE MATRIX, SPIDERMAN) was enlisted to shoot the commercial and
we got to see the famous Spyder Cam in action.  This remote controlled camera system was used in SPIDERMAN
for various shots of the hero swinging on his web thru the canyons of the city.  
The camera is attached to an intricate suspension system which sends it flying back and forth on a length of cable
strung high above the city streets.  In our case, the cable stretched six city blocks, held aloft by huge construction
cranes at each end.  The intention was to shoot various flying pans and tracking shots of the city canyons and then,
later, insert the Monster within the landscape via CGI.
The Director of Photography controlled the action of the camera and cable system from a central control panel
with numerous wheels and switches.  As you will see in the photos, the camera can be raised and lowered to any position.
It was amazing to watch the whirring cables and pulleys zip the camera at high speed the full length of six city blocks,
high above the unsuspecting citizenry.
Another construction crane was employed to raise and drop a taxicab which later, thru CGI, would be massaged into place within the commercial.   Two taxis were used (because you must always have backup) and they were dropped from
a height of about 4 stories.  The engine, drive train and rear springs were removed and things like the headlights and doors were loosened so they would pop off more effectively.  As you will see in the video, the drop worked out just fine.
In addition, an entire self-contained work cubicle (complete with desk, chair, computer, fax machine, printer, file cabinet,
work light, clock, papers, etc. etc. ) was also dropped.  Twice.