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Convert Directs Promo For "American Chopper"

Wraps a :30 promo for the #1 show on Discovery Network (November 08, 2005)

Convert Directs Promo For "American Chopper"

Convert Directs Promo For "American Chopper"

Directorial collective Convert has wrapped a :30 promo for "American Chopper," Discovery Network's top-rated reality show. Convert handled all aspects of production, including concept, development, storyboarding, directing, animation and editorial. The spot promotes a two-episode special, which accompanies the program's bike-building Teutul family (who runs the New York-based Orange County Choppers custom bike shop) on their first trip to Europe. Completed via Convert's production company The Ebeling Group, the spot combines live-action and animation, portraying the family as larger-than-life figures in a whimsical Old World playground. It airs throughout November.

The promo opens with a highly stylized view of stately European buildings. In this fantasy world where all things are possible, a huge wrench suddenly drops from the sky as the family giants on the horizon. A montage follows of the guys "re-tooling" miniature versions of historical landmarks. Paul Jr. tinkers with the Arc de Triomphe and Mikey adds a giant sidecar to a double-decker bus. In another scene, Mikey blows into a bagpipe outfitted with an exhaust pipe while wearing a Scottish kilt, and Paul Sr. rips the sleeves off his Beefeater jacket to reveal tattooed biceps. Europe has a lot to offer to the Teutuls, the spot says, with a frenetic energy that zips the viewer through the promo to the subtle joke at the end, where a little Vespa sputters pathetically at the Teutuls' feet. Paul Sr. gives the scooter a pitying look and a characteristic twitch of his moustache.

Projects combining live-action and animation oftentimes treat the live-action portion as just another graphical element. Convert, however, wanted the promo to be story and performance driven, rather than a mishmash of graphics.

Said Adam Bluming, Convert's live-action director and the company's creative director, "We went with a cinematic style, co-opting camera moves and techniques from our favorite film influences, as well as developing a look that suggested these guys are, at heart, nothing more than kids in a candy store. This notion influenced the idea of making the landmarks look like giant toy props, rather than photo-real structures. It was a great experience directing the Tuetuls, and realizing their on-screen personas aren't so different from how they are in real life. They're such huge personalities, and that was something we wanted to highlight."

Convert shot the Teutuls against greenscreen on a New York City soundstage. The stylized European backdrop was created entirely in CG using Maxon Cinema 4D. Bluming's production team included visual effects supervisor Zack Nederlander, who contributed effects for "The Aviator," effects artists John Robson and Cory Shaw, and Cinematographer Martin Ahlgren.

About The Ebeling Group
The Ebeling Group (TEG) is an international production company with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. The TEG roster includes world-renowned designers and directors MK12, Nakd, Lobo, LBA, Caviar, Convert and Caskey. These companies have been awarded with distinctions from The Art Director's Club, BDA, The Clios and The One Show among others. TEG projects recognized short films, commercials, promos and music videos for clients including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Diesel, Levi's, TNT, MTV, Nike and Ford have garnered accolades from the global design, production and advertising industry. TEG directors' work has been showcased at Resfest, OFFF, FITC, onedotzero, Sundance Film Festival and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

For more information visit

Client: "American Chopper" for Discovery Network
Title: "American Chopper Europe Special" Promo

Production Company: The Ebeling Group / Playa Del Rey, CA
Executive Producer: Mick Ebeling
Producer: Dan Bryant

Live-action and Design Company: Convert / Los Angeles, CA
Director: Adam Bluming
Editor: Adam Bluming
Live Action Producer: Mikha Grumet

Sound Design & Mix: Cypher Audio Development, Montreal, Canada

Visual Effects Supervisor: Zack Nederlander
Effects Artists: John Robson, Cory Shaw
DP: Martin Ahlgren

Stage: New York, NY


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Related Keywords:Convert, American Chopper, Discovery Network, animation, The Ebeling Group, live-action, Maxon Cinema 4D,


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