Stanley Steemer is America’s largest residential and commercial cleaning service with a network of both franchises and corporately owned locations nationwide. For the past several years, Przyborski Productions has produced many of the company’s national and regional TV campaigns.
In December 2018, Jim McCabe, Stanley Steemer’s corporate creative director, called with an unusual production request. In 2006, the company had marketing success with a crazy commercial that featured “Toby” a Golden 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 might tease and harass Toby.
Tracey Kovell, Przyborski Productions’ coordinator and location producer began a nationwide search for a professional dog trainer who had access to a Golden Labrador Retriever (and would agree to train this unusual behavior). Although parrots often talk and repeat phrases, they simply won’t talk on cue during filming. People from the National Aviary (located in Pittsburgh) gave us names of professional bird handlers. We quickly learned that many of the parrots featured in movies, such as Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”, are either CGI or custom animatronics that require a small crew to operate.
After several weeks of searching, we were fortunate to find Meredith Vallillo who located and trained our “Toby” and Lara Joseph of the Animal Behavior Center and owner of “Rocky” our featured cockatoo. Both of these professional animal specialists were excellent to work with and arrived at our Ohio location, ready to perform.
On the set & light day, director, Glenn Przyborski learned from the animal trainers that technically, a bird is the natural prey for a hunting breed of dog, so they shouldn’t be on-set at the same time. It was also obvious that a loud screeching cockatoo might be a serious distraction to our canine actor. Working with assistant director, Steve Parys, Glenn re-wrote his shot lists for each commercial to incorporate a split-screen composite whenever Toby and Rocky had to appear in the same scene.
Shooting took place over 3 consecutive days. All scenes with actors and animals were filmed on the first 2 days. The last day was reserved for shooting Stanley Steemer’s techs cleaning the actual carpets and floor surfaces that were soiled during the shoot.
Przyborski used 2 cameras on each shot for editorial options. 2 cameras also gave an “insurance factor” just in case the animals “lost interest” after a few takes. Glenn shot everything in 4K UHD using Panasonic GH-5 and GH-5S cameras equipped with Canon, Tokina and Sigma lenses. Each camera’s low-con V-log output was recorded to ProRes422HQ format using Atomos Shogun recorders.
The final commercials were edited, color graded and mixed in 4K using DaVinci Resolve. They were then downsampled to 1080 for release and distribution.