by Jon Silberg
Paul Iannacchino Jr. works as a director and creative director at New York-based production and post company Creative Bubble, which is owned by media company Definition 6, based in Atlanta. Creative Bubble works on promos and advertisements but has also been doing a lot of production specifically for the Web, especially since Definition 6 took ownership this past summer.
We found Iannacchino after learning about an intriguing series of Web videos he directed for Coke called “The Happiness Machine,” a Candid Camera-style bit involving the director hiding inside a Coke machine on a college campus and catching the reactions of students as the machine dispenses whole cartons of soda, pizza and other surprising treats.
Videography: Tell us about the spot.
Iannacchino: I got inside the Coke machine and we set up very early in the morning on St. John’s University campus in Queens. We had Sony lipstick cameras around the machine with AJA Ki Pro drives for storage. I had a Sony HDV camera mounted inside the machine behind a two-way mirror. It recorded to tape. And we had people shooting video with Canon 7Ds mounted with long lenses to capture the reactions.
How did you post the videos?
We’re an Avid house, but we did this in Apple Final Cut Pro primarily because we were mixing so many different formats. The editors preferred to transcode everything into ProRes 422 at the highest quality.
Why finish a Web video in HD?
Our acquisition is often higher resolution than final deliverables. A lot of media players can play at 720 now. And if someone wants to repurpose something later for broadcast, it could look terrible if you start in DVCAM.
Are you finding advertisers are taking Web video more seriously these days?
Yes. The Web is definitely changing the advertising business–and it’s changing our business. You see a lot of production and post companies going out of business because that model of the giant campaign anchored by one big TV spot or series of spots is disappearing.
When did you start to see Web video gaining credibility?
We did a series of Web spots for Head tennis rackets. We did these videos with Novak Djokovic, the third-ranked player in the world at the time. The spots spiked traffic to their site and the company was very happy. Historically, this kind of project was tacked onto a list of deliverables that usually had at the top a 30-second commercial. As an afterthought, someone would say, “Let’s also get a ‘viral’ out of this.”
“Viral” seems like something of an aspirational term. Not every Web video can go viral.
Absolutely. I always say to people that “viral” is not a noun. You want it to perform virally, but naming it such doesn’t make it so.
What does make it work?
It’s all about the idea. The best idea wins. If the “Happiness Machine” videos had looked fake and staged, you wouldn’t have people wanting to share them with someone else. But the reactions we capture are genuine. I think that’s what people responded to with this and why it’s gotten over 1.3 million hits. But I would never claim to be an expert. I’m just a guy who sat inside a Coke machine for two days and had a lot fun doing it.