Monday, December 14, 2009

Film Review by Meghan Giglio

Film Review
By Meghan Giglio

I remember years ago my mom telling me of the days she used to go to the chicken market with her mom to buy fresh chicken for dinner. She said the chickens would be in coups and you would pick out your chicken (I imagine similar to lobsters in a tank when dining at a fancy seafood restaurant). When the best looking chicken was picked, my mom said the butcher would grab it, chop the chicken’s head off, clean it, package it and off you went. Yet, my mom’s FAVORITE part was every so often, the chicken, now headless, would sometimes manage to wriggle from the butcher’s grasp and run around. She thought this was hysterical. I on the other hand, was a bit mortified.

After watching Food, Inc., a documentary dispelling where our food comes from, I have learned that presently our food travels on average of about 1,500 miles from place of origin to our table. That’s quite a change. So much in fact one of the first shocking statements Food, Inc., starts with is how the way our food is processed today has changed more in the last 50 years than in the past 10,000 years.

Food, Inc. states early on that even if you’ve made a conscious choice to avoid fast food, an industry debated for years, fast food hasn’t avoided you. The fast food we get in the little window at the drive thru is produced on the same mentality as the ever fresh tomatoes piled high in bins and the stacked meat and poultry lined on the back walls of our grocery stores. Food wasn’t always this similar. As the slogan on the front of the Food, Inc.’s DVD box exclaims, “You’ll never look at dinner the same way again.”

That said, I’m sure there are many people who have heard of Food Inc, but would rather keep his or her head buried in the sand, “So long as it doesn’t kill me, I don’t care.” But that’s the thing, food has killed—many. E. coli, salmonella, obesity and diabetes are all explained consequences within Food, Inc. However, the biggest part to remember when thinking of viewing this film is its intent is not to scare us away from our food, but to make us aware of our food; where it comes from, and how we can change the Food Industry.

Food, Inc. is directed and produced by Robert Kenner. He weaves this story with the help of two well known and knowledgeable subjects, Michael Pollen, author of Omnivores Dilemma and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. Each author helps narrate the unveiling of the Food Industry. They explain how the fast food mentality was revolutionized by the McDonald Brothers back in the 1930’s; assembly lines were brought back to the kitchen like a factory. Today, 4 meat distributors control 80% of our meat.

Food, Inc. is a visually stimulating documentary luring you right from the start with alluding image labels on our food, accompanied by sweet, chiming music. These images represent the happy fa├žade the food industry has used to continue the idea that our food comes from a friendly farm in Iowa where pigs roll in mud with glee and cows munch grass until full. A camera winds sedately through our grocery store isles suggesting diversity, selection, and like the calm before the storm, these happy images dissolve. Dark, sinister conveyor belts now move our not so happy livestock toward a place looking more like the mouth of hell; the slaughter factories. Once farms, now factories.

I will warn, this film is not the best candidate for good ol’ fashioned family fun nor would I suggest it on a first date, however as Michael Pollen says early on, “The idea that you would need to write a book telling people where our food comes from is just a sign of how far removed we’ve become.” I first ask, why wouldn’t we want to know? But more importantly, why DON’T we know? Food, Inc. points out, because we’ve never asked, stating, “The industry doesn’t want you to know because if you did you may not want to eat it.”

Now from a film standpoint, of course all films, be it documentaries or narrative fictions are still subjective. One should always keep in mind to take a film’s contents with a grain of salt. Perspectives are held and what the filmmakers want us to know is told through shot selection and edit process.

That said, I don’t believe Food, Inc’s purpose is to just bash the food industry and hope the public doesn’t eat again. The film’s running theme is our right to know as consumers and demanding change. This is important to know because as Food, Inc.’s story unravels with beautiful interweaving shots of corn fields in Iowa to shocking footage of feces filled grow houses throughout the south, we should be demanding change.

As Food, Inc. delivers its questions, it layers its answers successfully. There are plenty of first account interviews given by science experts, grow house farmers and undocumented workers all juxtaposed with shot images and archival footage. For example, Food, Inc. reminds its viewers of past and not so past, food poison outbreaks by showing news anchors covering stories from 1993 to 2007. Remember E. coli outbreaks in our meat and spinach? The salmonella in our tomatoes and peanut butter? Food, Inc. helps to show how one has absolutely EVERYTHING to do with the other.

With all the shocking facts Food, Inc. states about the food industry, it’s always good to question the validity and sources. I did at times wonder where subjects have been getting certain stated facts and numbers, but that doesn’t mean I discredit it. They all make sense. However, an image of a chicken, belly up, panting for breath in an over stuffed, confined grow house is something I don’t have to question. The images are disturbing. The images are real. The images speak volumes of what I thought I knew.

Beyond that, what Food Inc really wants us to realize is that the food industry is powerful, but only as powerful as the consumer dollar makes them. Food, Inc gives more than enough support and reason to purchase organic, wholesome and sustainable foods, free of growth hormones, preservatives and pesticides. Why wouldn’t we want to eat this? Ever wonder why chips cost more than carrots? This film has the answers. Farmer Troy Roush, Vice President of American Corn Grower’s Association says, “People need to start demanding good wholesome food from us and we’ll deliver, we promise. We’re very ingenious people, we’ll deliver.”


Monday, November 9, 2009

Steadicam at PWP

Long time staffer and PWP Director of Photography Tom MaCoy is no longer just a certified Steadicam Operator, he is now a Steadicam Owner/Operator. This means that PWP and our clients will have even greater access to high quality dynamic video.
For those unfamiliar, Steadicam is a Academy Award Winning invention by Westchester, PA based Garret Brown. Early famous shots include the Rocky Steps sequence and multiple sequences in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
Never ones to be amazed only by the ability of technology, we are looking forward to deploying the Steadicam in future productions where the added storytelling value of moving camera will increase the visual and emotional impact of our shot choices.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Teach. Kids. Science.

by Dave Lamm

With two Grammys and nearly 25 years of rock experience, the band They Might Be Giants have been steadily recording and performing music. The band has produced such popular song favorites as “Birdhouse In Your Soul,” “Triangle Man” and a cover of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” Over the years They Might Be Giants have continuously evolved, from the original two member band of John Linnell and John Flansburgh, into the full contemporary cadre including Dan Weinkauf, Dan Miller and Marty Beller. A rock band that originally wrote and performed songs for a more adult palate, they eventually began to write and release music for those very same adults’ kids. Starting with the album, “No!”, “Here Come The ABC’s” and “Here Come The 123’s,” it is only appropriate that this evolution should culminate into their latest release, “Here Comes Science.”

As an exclusive, the album comes as a two-disk set: one music CD and a DVD. The DVD is an animated presentation of the entire album and is hosted by stylized caricatures of band members Linnell and Flansburgh, both members voice their respective characters. The album tackles some very complex scientific subjects, such as cellular DNA, photosynthesis, the periodic chart of the elements, evolution, the solar system and the scientific method. The content from some of these topics would be enough to stump a typically educated adult, but that’s really the point. Instead of taking the repetition approach like the Baby Einstein series, or the Wiggle approach to, well, whatever it is The Wiggles do, “Here Comes Science” dispenses these topics as they would be from a well illustrated science text book. Each subject is dished out with brilliantly animated examples and rich in information that can be gleaned after many, many viewings.

Each song style is as varied and brilliant as is each animation style it represents. From the driving backward bass lines and frenetic colorful style of the title track “Science Is Real,” to the lovely slow ballad round and monochromatic feel of “What Is A Shooting Star?” This disk is also a must see for those who revel in short animation collections. Each piece has been animated by different artists, and as such, employs as many different artistic methods. In today’s consumer animation market, it’s such a pleasure to see a track like “Computer Assisted Design” use both traditional stop motion character animation along side some contemporary CG. “The Ballad of Davy Crocket (In Outer Space)” employs an incredibly fun technique of hand drawn animation using chalk and a traditional slate schoolroom chalkboard.

The ultimate goal of “Here Comes Science,” is not to just be a vehicle for children’s “infotainment,” but to instill an early sense of discovery, problem solving and a passion for finding out why. The project’s very spirit throbs with a beat that is the very nature of science. That is, the conviction to always better oneself, and the world around you, with the acquisition of new information. Consequently, and equally important, is the willingness to prove you were wrong. For example, the juxtaposition of the songs “Why Does the Sun Shine?” and “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?” The former song is a rave-up cover of a 1950’s children’s educational tune, and a fan favorite in They Might Be Giant’s live set list. Scientifically speaking, the song is ridiculously outdated. The latter track makes reference to the previous, as John Flansburgh lements;

The sun is a miasma

Of incandescent plasma

The sun's not simply made out of gas

Forget that song


They got it wrong

That thesis has been rendered invalid

After all this reflection on science and discovery, I was inspired to prove my own theory. 'What effects does this DVD have on its target audience?' My subject was a bright kindergartener who lives next door. In this equation, we’ll call her “d”. I added to the mixture, one dvd, and multiplied by one week of time. The attention span of the dvd was shared by “d’s” parents. We’ll assign them” J+J”. During the experiment, it was noted that “d “disregarded her toys, as well as her little brother, “c”.

{ ( (d + dvd) x t ) / J+J } – (toys + c)
Following the experiment, “d” reported that her favorite portion was “The Bloodmobile,” a simplified explanation of the human cardiovascular system. “J+J” reported that the music was very enjoyable, and were even more astounded by the fact you can fit the word “Pachycephalosaurus” into a song. “c” was unavailable for comment, he can’t speak yet. There were multiple viewings.

Based on my empirical data, there will be many more.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Blu-ray Waits to Join the PC Party.

This article copied directly from the Markertek RSS Newsfeed. With no good way to link directly to this article only, I am cutting and pasting. The newsfeed can be found at

This article is important because it is going to influence how long it will be before we suggest to our clients and colleagues that Blu-ray become a defacto distribution choice.

Blu-ray Waits to Join the PC Party.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Despite the recent rapid rise in the sales of consumer Blu-ray players, a fall in their prices and an increase in the number of high-definition movie titles, Blu-ray Drives (BDs) in PC systems are - for now - being left in the blue. According to iSuppli, By 2013, Blu-ray drives will be found in only 16.3 percent of new PCs shipped, up from the scant 3.6 percent of BDs currently being shipped with new consumer computers. BDs wont be replacing DVDs as the primary optical drive in PC systems through at least the year 2013, said Michael Yang, senior analyst for storage and mobile memory at iSuppli. They eventually will find success, but during the next five years, that success will be limited in the PC segment. According to Yang, the two main reasons hampering the adoption of Blu-ray drives in PCs include costs as well as the lack of a library of movies that justifies the need for consumers to move to a different drive in their PCs. Cost, Yang said, is the primary impediment. Given the high price of the product, consumers are unwilling to pay the extra money in order to obtain a high-definition drive. The cost issue is amplified by the fact that the library of content is so small that there really isnt a reason for users to switch at the moment, Yang added. And while this is changing and studios are rolling out more Blu-ray content every week, there remains a long way to go. However, the struggle to become the standard storage medium in the PC world is nothing new. From a historical perspective, each of the successful storage media in PCs has gained popularity only when content became available and when consumers actually understood that what they were getting was easy to use and worth the cost. For instance, the once-ubiquitous 3.5-inch floppy drive had a life span of 15-plus years, surviving well past its prime. Eventually, it was replaced by CD-ROMs - which, in turn, gave way to DVD drives. A changeover occurred and the floppy disk finally supplanted when it became apparent that CD-ROMs not only offered a distinct advantage but were also the medium being adopted by everything from music to games to movies. According to Yang, the moment has not yet come for Blu-ray. Until cost declines and user awareness and knowledge increases, Blu-ray will have to wait.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

HDTVs in More than Half of All U.S. Homes.

From the Markertek News Feed, August 13, 2009:

A recent Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) tracking Pulse report shows strong growth over the past year in HDTV ownership. In 2009, 53 percent of total U.S. households report owning a high definition television, an 18 percentage point increase in ownership over 2008, when 35 percent of households reported owning an HDTV (23 percent in 2007). Among HDTV set owners, 69 percent now subscribe to high definition service, compared to 56 percent a year ago. Ownership of large screen televisions –32 inches and larger – has also seen solid growth. In 2009, 59 percent of households owned one, up from 52 percent in 2008 (44 percent in 2007). The CTAM tracking study also took a look at recent movers and which technologies they are likely to purchase and services they’re likely to subscribe to over the next year. Movers are more likely than non-movers to buy an HDTV set (26 percent vs. 15 percent), a laptop (24 percent vs. 16 percent), and a video game system (23 percent vs. 7 percent); as well as subscribe to HD programming service (15 percent vs. 8 percent) and DVR service (17 percent vs. 7 percent). The CTAM research is based on a telephone survey conducted by CENTRIS as part of the CENTRIS omnibus survey conducted from June 5 through 14, 2009. The sample includes 1,144 randomly selected adult consumers age 18+. The study has a +/- 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

What does this mean for our clients? Even if you're not planning on producing in full HD yet, switching from the old 4x3 screen aspect ratio to the more pleasing 16x9 aspect ratio is no longer a tough decision. More than half of the TVs that will be playing your videos will be in a wide screen aspect. This ratio is more attractive, makes for pleasing compositions, and is just expected.

We would have to look for another report, but smart money would bet that the 50% line has also been crossed for wide screen laptop and computer screens as well. YouTube and most other streaming sites support 16x9, and DVD players have always automatically letterboxed images based on user selection. Unless there is a very specific reason, it is time to abandon 4x3 and go wide screen!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seattle Crew Photos

Here's a link to our Facebook album of crew shots from Seattle when we were out there earlier this summer shooting Green Careers: Sustainable Futures.


Monday, August 3, 2009


Press Release


Philadelphia, PA, July 30, 2009: Philadelphia based video production company, Primitive World Productions, announces the addition of a new discount program for green and sustainable businesses. In the process of creating an educational video for national distribution entitled “Green Careers: Sustainable Futures,” the principals of Primitive World realized that they wanted to make video more accessible to green and sustainable businesses. They are introducing a sliding scale discount based on number of employees and commitment to sustainability as demonstrated by membership in green business organizations.

Full details of the discount program are available at

Primitive World Productions is approaching their tenth year in business in 2010. Their work has focused on nonprofit organizations and educational programming. The company was started as a sole proprietorship and now employs a full-time staff of seven and multiple part-time and freelance employees.

Contact: Michael Schweisheimer
Primitive World Productions
(Office) 215.848.0594
(Cell) 215.837.0999


Sunday, July 26, 2009

What does our office building look like?

Coming to PWP for the first time? Not sure what the house we work out of looks like? Check out this TV commercial for a preview.
Created and directed for Galluci Music for the 2007 Christmas season by former PWP Editor Ryan Cannava, we utilized the most accessible location we had, our new building.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Build a Portable USB Power Device | Studio Daily

Build a Portable USB Power Device | Studio Daily

Shared via AddThis


Sunday, May 31, 2009

We've been blogged...

If you ever interview a blogger, expect to have a blog post written about you. Here's the posting from Zachary D. Lyons, whom we interviewed at the Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle.

Camera Crews, Canine Class & Crying Confectioners
By Zachary D. Lyons


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Green Careers Shoot under way with first week of shooting completed in Seattle

Jule Schultz from the Washington State DOH checks a water sample from the Puget Sound.

This is being written on the plane from Seattle to Denver. PWP’s Debbie Arnold, Andy Wenrich, Dave Lamm, Pat Ganley, and Michael Schweisheimer just wrapped a glorious week one of shooting “Green Careers” for Films Media Group. Green Careers is a project that has been almost a year in the making, beginning with an original pitch to the largest educational distributor to the secondary and post secondary markets. The concept is to create a video to be used to encourage young people considering their career choices to look at careers that can make a difference to the environment.

So far we have visited with the Washington State Department of Health, Taylor Shellfish Farms in Sammish Bay, People for the Puget Sound, and KCTS which is the Seattle PBS affiliate. All of the jobs we focused on were around the concept of combating water pollution, specifically in the Puget Sound.

Now we are off to Denver to look at work being done there around the theme of Energy Efficiency in the Home.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Webcast Group adds PWP to their Authorized Partners List

The Webcast Group has added PWP to their Authorized Partners Page. We've been working with the Webcast Group for well over a year as the distributor of live webcast events for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. We are honored that they find the quality of our work high enough that they approached us to work as one of their production partners for their clients.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

PWP Webcasts Former President Clinton for the National Constitution Center

It was an honor for us to webcast Former President Bill Clinton for the National Constitution Center on April 28, 2009.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Better than sitting on a shelf

This post is more of an excuse to post a link to one of our videos as sold by Films for the Humanities and Sciences.
A few years ago we created a video for the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board's Pennsylvania Career Link Centers. It is an introduction to a day long orientation about the restaurant industry. Through our relationship with Films Media Group and its subsidiary Films for the Humanities and Sciences, the video is not only working in the Career Link Centers, but is also being purchased by other educational outlets around the country. You can see that page here.
Through this arrangement the video is generating revenue while simultaneously serving its original purpose.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PWP Sponsors the 2009 AFP Franklin Forum

We are proud to be a silver sponsor for the second year running of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Philadelphia Chapter's Franklin Forum. We will be exhibiting at the event and unveiling our new company wide branding. This includes a reworking of everything from our newly reworked logo to our new Demo Reel :

We hope to see you at the Franklin Forum.


We didn't leave anything in Vegas

Michael, Pat, and Dave are just back from the National Association of Broadcaster's convention (NAB) in Las Vegas, and boy are they tired. We attended the conference to look in the latest in technology for production, post production, and distribution for our clients. Though an exhausting few days involving miles upon miles of walking on the show floor of the Las Vegas convention center, we learned a tremendous amount that we are already implementing. But if we learned nothing else it is that there is no such thing as a perfect pair of walking shoes.


Friday, April 17, 2009

New Highlight Reel

Highlight Reel from primitiveworld on Vimeo.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

PWP Participates in Our 2nd MLK Day of Service

If you tried to call us at the office on January 19th, you probably noticed that no one was in to take your call. But we weren't on holiday. For the second
year in a row the staff had the option of being at the office or participating in a day of service. The entire staff and many of their family members
participated in mural painting and beautification at the Eleanor Emlen Elementary School a few blocks from our office in Mt. Airy. Besides painting, we
also documented the entire event for the participating organizations, including; Mt. Airy USA, EducationWorks, Global Citizen, and the Mt. Airy Leadership
Council. All of the photos can be seen at the Flickr page we put up for the event.


PWP Captures a Client's Story for State Agency

A video project we completed in cooperation with JEVS Human Services for The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) of Pennsylvania has been added to their website on the personal stories page. Titled “Inviting the Day,” Janine’s story can be viewed here. Janine and this project touched everyone who worked on it. We are proud to help Janine to share her story with so many others in her efforts to support peers struggling with mental illness.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Internet Video Distribution

Everyone’s talking about it, and many organizations are doing it, but most people don’t have all the information to execute online video distribution. Does it mean we put our video on our front page? Does it play automatically? How do we get people to see it? Will they watch online? What are the technical requirements to distribute video online? Do we have to keep making new videos all the time? What does it mean to “go viral,” and how do we do that?

Here’s the truth of the matter. Nobody has all of the answers to all of the questions regarding online distribution. At least no single person has them all yet. And by the time the answers seem to be more apparent, the questions will change. Everything was on YouTube for a while, and that continues to be a central focal point, but then Facebook and social networking seemed to become the lynchpin of any attempt to “go viral.” Media players and their technology keep changing. Several years ago Real Player was in the lead, then Windows Media, and now Flash delivery.

I think we’re all learning the positives and negatives of the rapidly evolving world of maintaining an online presence and trying to keep up with viewer expectations. The pitfalls of implementation are many, but the issues of never implementing are greater. Gone are the days when non profit organizations could be two to three years behind the corporate world in the adoption of technology. Two or three months can cause viewer and supporter fatigue. But how can an organization with limited funds for marketing and outreach keep up? Video production is frequently out of the price range entirely, let alone ongoing production.

We are constantly exploring new distribution outlets and learning new ways to implement them and simplify their workflow for our clients and ourselves. The goal line is constantly moving in online content delivery, but we continue to follow that progress so our clients don’t have too. But frequently our clients teach us new outlets and workflows. Its this collaborative conversation that is keeping the world of online video exciting for us.

There will be future posts that outline how we have overcome some of the problems and questions raised in this article. Many of you will help us write the proposed solutions, and we look forward to that exchange.