Blitzfully Branded Tabletop

By Ad Published on .

Tabletop may not have much of a reputation as a sexy category, but Irv Blitz brims over with excitement just thinking about what he does for a living. "Tabletop as a category is amazing," gushes the 41-year-old, who works out of HSI in Culver City, Calif. "It's incredibly interesting because without an actual human in the frame, you're creating a type of emotional response via inanimate objects." Blitz is especially taken with one of his former subjects, Jell-O, for which he shot the "Essence" campaign out of Y&R in the mid-'90s. "It wiggles, it moves, it bounces; it's translucent, it's vintage, it's current," he shouts with glee. "The nice thing about Jell-O is, because everybody is familiar with what it is, we were able to take license and really push it, abstract it, shoot things with it, shoot it in its liquid form, shoot it wobbling, shoot it floating in air. We shot it with fireworks for the sparkling flavors. Products like Jell-O are always interesting because they're American icons. I think pushing product branding can be done so much more with icons like that." The same goes for Dunkin' Donuts - a campaign he shot this year out of Hill Holliday/Boston likens the chain's breakfast offerings to therapy and antidepressants.

Blitz expresses a desire to add more fast food to his repertoire, but he's also geared up to expand his expertise on a technical level. "I try to do most of my work in-camera, but recently a lot of work is a combination of live photography, CG 2-D and 3-D graphic animation, so it's interesting that those are other disciplines that I've had to learn over the years in order to stay current." Such was the case in directing spots like "Flex" or "Spin" for American Express Blue via Ogilvy & Mather/New York, which depicted the card contorted by things like robotic arms or CD spinners. Blitz shot a lot of elements for the spots himself, but the majority of his involvement was hammering out the action in preproduction with the agency, the effects house Digital Domain and graphics shop Yu + Co.

On the set itself, Blitz, a former still photographer who once ran a studio in New York, says that lighting is just as crucial as the camera work. He recently shot about 102,000 feet of film capturing diamonds against a matte surface for jeweler Zales, out of Publicis/Dallas. "It's not like lighting Jell-O or a donut," he notes. "I had to devise a lighting schematic that would allow me to light not only the jewelry but keep the surface black and still get a reflective out of it. I had to ice my eyes for days after that shoot because all I kept seeing were sparkles." Blitz also had to don the shades helming this year's Aquafina campaign, which featured the VO of Friends' Lisa Kudrow, and close-cropped images of water gloriously splashing and trickling against a stark white backdrop. The shoot required an extraordinary amount of light: 18 20,000-watt lights, to capture a single drop of water. (Just two 20k's are enough to light up one side of a city block.) "Shooting at 1,500 frames a second, to get the sharpness and the magnification I was looking for, you need that quantity of light," he explains. "It's water. It's a bottle. It's a label. It's the most simplistic thing, but it's the most difficult thing to do."

No matter how dry or wet the subject, Blitz is ecstatically open to the creative possibilities. "It's all about beauty," he says. "Tabletop is about looking at the image and relating to it. And it could be anything, Lady Schick, Campbell's Soup. It's kind of funny. It's very Warhol. I wouldn't give it up."

ACTION

Dante Ariola,

Propaganda

Michael Bay,

Bay Films

Sam Bayer, Mars Media/HSI

David Fincher, Anonymous

John Frankenheimer,

Anonymous

Jonathan Glazer, Propaganda

Spike Jonze, Satellite

Guy Ritchie, Anonymous

Kinka Usher, House of Usher

John Woo, A Band Apart

CARS

Gerard de

Thame, HSI

Erick Ifergan,

Believe Media

Frederic Planchon, Academy

Mehdi Norowzian,

Chelsea Pictures

Nick Lewin, Crossroads Films

Robert Logevall, Bruce

Dowad Associates

Victor Garcia, MJZ

Dayton/Faris, Bob Industries

Sam Bayer, Mars Media/HSI

Tony Kaye, Tony Kaye

COMEDY

Bryan Buckley,

Hungry Man

Baker Smith,

Harvest

Dom & Nic,

Oil Factory

Joe Public, Headquarters

Spike Jonze, Satellite

Kuntz & McGuire, Propaganda

Rocky Morton, MJZ

Noam Murro, Biscuit

Filmworks

Frank Todaro, Radical

Traktor, Partizan

DOCUMENTARY

Michael Apted,

Michael Apted

Film Co.

Nicholas Barker,

Academy

Lenard Dorfman,

Radical

Paul Gay, Omaha

Pictures

Christopher Guest,

Moxie Pictures

Spike Jonze, Satellite

Tony Kaye, Tony Kaye

Mike Mills, Directors Bureau

Errol Morris, Radical

Chris Smith, Independent

Media

FASHION

David Cameron,

Artists Company

Paul Hunter, HSI

David LaChapelle, Venus

Entertainment

Gus Gus, Public Works

Melodie McDaniel, Satellite

Dewey Nicks, Epoch Films

David Ramser, Artists Co.

Herb Ritts, Ritts/Hayden

Mark Romanek, Anonymous

Peggy Sirota, HSI

PERFORMANCE

Frank Budgen,

Anonymous

Leslie Dektor,

Dektor Film

James Gartner, Gartner

Spike Jonze, Satellite

Tony Kaye, Tony Kaye

Nick Lewin, Crossroads Films

Jeff Lovinger, Lovinger

Mahoney & Adelson

Errol Morris, Radical

Joe Pytka, Pytka

Kinka Usher, House of Usher

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