Subliminal's Lyon Moves Solar Power Forward


Last Updated: May 12, 2008 7:36 pm GMT
(May 12, 2008) "Sometimes to go forward with change, you need to go in reverse," says Director Mark Lyon of Subliminal, regarding his recent PSA for California Center for Sustainable Energy. "Forward" advocates using solar power to reverse the environmental damage caused from dirty coal-fired power plants. To make its point, the ad employs imagery of smoke blowing backward into the stacks.

Lyon, passionate advocate for the environment, donated his services to film the California Center for Sustainable Energy script by Matt Fitzsimons, Creative Director at Lyon & Associates Creative Services. Like the director, Fitsimons and the team at Lyon & Associates Creative Services worked pro bono on the project, along with Director of Photography Tom Seawell. "Living in California, we tend to forget about the consequences of our lifestyle," says Lyon. "It was quite a sobering experience to visit the power plants where a lot of our power is generated. They would not be allowed in our clean air-conscious state, so, instead, people in rural areas of Arizona and New Mexico are breathing the heavy metals that pour out of those stacks. As a commercial director, it's great to have a chance to create something of value to the world."

The pro bono spot was filmed on location in Arizona and New Mexico without a crew other than Lyon and Seawell. "Basically, we approached the shoot as a road trip and had fun with it - if you can call sub zero temperatures, vigilant security guards and an enormous gulf of distance between our locations fun," Lyon laughs.

Meanwhile, filming images to be shown in reverse is not as easy as it sounds and presents its own unique set of challenges. "Depending on how wide the shot was, we used different frame rates, from 48 fps slow-motion all the way down to 1 frame per second time-lapse, to achieve the effect," explains Lyon. "There wasn't any time or money for tests beforehand so a lot of it came down to our intuition. Another thing we had to deal with was some of the footage we shot ended up on the cutting room floor because it was too pretty. The smoke stacks ironically have something very beautiful about them. While we were shooting at Four Corners on the lake, we had some amazing shots with fog and steam, but they were almost post card-worthy and just too beautiful for the message we wanted to send."

Client: California Center for Sustainable Energy
Spots Title(s): "Forward"
First Air Date: May 5, 2008

Agency: Lyon & Associates Creative Services
Creative Director: Matt Fitzsimons
Agency Producer: Matt LeBeau

Director: Mark Lyon
DP: Tom Seawell

Editorial: Lyon & Associates Creative Services
Editor: Mark Lyon

Telecine: Spy Post San Francisco
Colorist: Chris Martin

Music: Network Music SLAM library

Shoot Location: Page, Arizona, Farmington, New Mexico, and Escondido, California


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