'Pacific Standard Time': Culture and Conversation in Experimental Video Series
Pacific Standard Time, which runs from Oct. 1 through the end of March 2012, is an unprecedented collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California celebrating the evolution of the Los Angeles art scene. The Getty Foundation-funded arts initiative showcases Southern California artists and designers who worked from 1945 to 1980, giving context to Los Angeles' progression into the major art capital it is today.
Pacific Standard Time: Anthony Kiedis Celebrates Ed Ruscha
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TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles created an integrated campaign to promote the sprawling museum festival, including two PSAs directed by Jesse Dylan (Kicking & Screaming, American Wedding) that feature iconic Southern California artists paired with contemporary creative forces from popular culture. "It was very important to the director that in both pieces there be a sense of authenticity," production company Wondros executive producer Priscilla Cohen explains. "Jesse wanted the audience to have an experience that was real, intimate and special. The films celebrate all these artistic treasures from Southern California's history, and we wanted to do it in a way that was authentic and meaningful."
In the almost-five-minute "Pacific Standard Time: Anthony Kiedis Celebrates Ed Ruscha," the L.A.-based Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman has a conversation about art with the iconic Ruscha as they take a drive through their hometown. Sections of the Sunset Strip, which Ruscha famously photographed in 1966, stream outside the car as the Hollywood Sign looms in the background. As they drive, snippets from their dialogue are set against the city landscape in the style of Ruscha's famous word paintings, demonstrating the importance of words in both their crafts.
Pacific Standard Time: Jason Schwartzman Celebrates John Baldessari
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Wondros used three Panasonic AG-AF100s for the shoot, along with a GoPro HD cam fastened to the outside of the car to capture footage of cars driving by. "We like the AF100," says TBWA broadcast producer Chris Spencer. "They're fairly affordable and are built to emulate a 35mm camera, with that nice shallow depth of field and wider field of view. Using them, we were really able to maximize our visual aesthetic on a tight budget."
With one AF100 used to capture B-roll from outside the car, the two remaining cameras were stationed in the back seat of the car for the 30-minute drive—along with the director, the lighting director and two camera operators. A second car followed behind with the agency creative team and the rest of the Wondros production team.
"Initially, the director asked Anthony and Ed a lot of questions, but what he was really trying to do was get them to talk to each other and have a genuine conversation about art between the two of them," Cohen says. "The shoot was just incredible—they were so excited to work with each other, and there was a real enthusiasm and exploratory feel to the piece."
During postproduction, the Wondros editorial team went through the footage carefully to construct a narrative. The project was cut in Apple Final Cut Pro before images of words from Ruscha's paintings were layered in using Adobe After Effects. Color grading was performed in Apple Color.
In the second PSA, "Pacific Standard Time: Jason Schwartzman Celebrates John Baldessari," the Bored to Death star is followed by a huge image of white-bearded conceptual artist John Baldessari, who talks to him from the outer walls of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Portraying their mutual admiration for conceptual art, Baldessari and Schwartzman engage in a playful dialogue about the nature and history of art, with comedian Jeff Garlin joining in on the fun in an unscripted encounter in the museum café.
Wondros had two shoots for the project, first visiting Baldessari's studio with three Panasonic AF100s to capture footage of the iconic artist as he discussed art with Schwartzman, followed by a second shoot at LACMA, where the production team took over the museum after hours. During the shoot at LACMA, which extended into Wilshire Boulevard fronting the museum, the production team used a Barco FLM HD20 projector to project footage of Baldessari for Schwartzman to interact with. The resulting dialogue was captured beautifully in-camera by the three AF100s.
"Working with Jesse Dylan was so cool," says TBWA broadcast producer Lacy Plunk. "He has such a strong point of view and a real creative vision, and he saw it through from inception through to finish. He talked to Jason and John, asked them thoughtful questions to get them to have the conversation that we needed to cover."
"It's important to note that we used a lot of the same tools to tell very different stories," Spencer adds. "My project was wrapping up as Lacy's was just getting into production, and it was really exciting to see how they both unfolded and evolved into such different things."