Behind the Scenes: Filming My LG Techorating Home Entertainment Living Room Makeover

by Michael Sheehan on April 27, 2012

in Consumer Electronics, Event, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Opinion, Video

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It’s been a few months now since LG contacted me to find out if I was interested in participating in a head-to-head competition with another “daddy blogger.” It wasn’t a challenge of wit or writing or sports (well not really) – it was a challenge to see whose living room could be “techorated” better by a professional technology designer (Janna Robinson). The makeover would be filmed by a professional film crew as well.  LG supplied the technology, the script writing, the coordination, the furniture, the film crew, sound crew, lighting crew, and a bunch of other crews that I don’t know what their technical names are, while I just supplied my old technology, my home and my natural good looks (sorry). Oh, LG also managed to get ESPN’s Stuart Scott to be the narrator of what was to be a fully produced video of both daddy bloggers’ home entertainment makeover.

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Sounds exciting, right? Well let me tell you. It WAS exciting. But doing video production work is really not for me. I’m going to stick with my own quick Handycam videos and my writing, at least for now. The amount and level of coordination is simply staggering, and I am not sure how many showings of Murphy’s Law we had, but the process was definitely interesting. Kudos to all of those crews for their particular expertise, LG’s PR firm (LG-One) and the others who pulled this entire process together.

The video that was produced, narrated by Stuart Scott and hosted by Janna Robinson, was used on the LG Facebook page as well as in advertisements appearing on ESPN. I had old high school friends and people who I hadn’t seen in ages contact me to tell me they had just seen an ad with me in it. It was all for this LG Techorating Home Entertainment Makeover Challenge on Facebook.

ESPN-041912

I thought it might be interesting to give a quick rundown of the process using some of pictures that I took along the way. But before I do that, I wanted to showcase the final video (the longer cut) of the makeover:

It’s pretty amazing the amount of work that went into creating that 1-2 minutes of video. That is something that you don’t really think about when you watch advertisements or videos like these.

Designing in a Vacuum

Janna, who did the design work of both of the makeovers, never saw my place until the day before the actual filming. The only things that I had provided to her were some snapshots and a pseudo-architectural drawing of my living room space. Here are a few photos of what she had to work with and how completely neglected my original setup was. She had to pick out furniture, curtains, paint color and accessories. Probably the easiest thing to choose were the 55″ LG 3D Smart TV and the 3D Blu-Ray Entertainment System which would be the new centerpiece of my made-over living room.

Here’s what she had to work with:

HighTechDad-pre-LG-makeover-22

The TV was pre-HDMI so it was really old. It was an HD one though. I had lots of things connected to an HDMI hub and then from that hub to a receiver and from the receive to an HDMI-to-DVI converter to the TV. The sofas were as old as our oldest daughter, and while very comfortable, we had no attachment to them whatsoever. Our living room is small and was not really much of a living space. And, since our house doesn’t have a family room, it is where we do our regular “family movie nights” and video gaming.

But the tech was old and covered with cobwebs, literally! And the speakers were held up with oddly placed tape.

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And if you looked behind my entertainment center, you would see a mess of wires (yeah, I actually hooked everything up at one point!):

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And I managed to quickly throw together a very, not-to-scale diagram of my living room for Janna:

HTD-livingroom-diagram

With that, Janna disappeared to do some mental design work, order the things she needed for the Techorating makeover and do the same thing for the other daddy blogger. In the meantime, I tried to pass the days waiting for Film Day to come along. A few days before Film Day, I received a script that had been written that I was supposed to memorize (I later learned that my lines could be ad-libbed a bit as long as I stuck to the message). Yes, everything was carefully planned out.

The Day Before Filming

On the day before filming, I was to meet with some of the production crew as well as Janna. As luck would have it, there were delays at the airport but eventually the team made it over. Also, a bunch of the materials and LG product began showing up for the shoot.

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Seeing 4 of these awesome LG 3D TV’s got me pretty excited. I was going to get one for every room in this house, I thought! Actually, 1 was for me and 1 was for the other daddy bloggers makeover. And there were backups for each of ours so that if something happened with the 1st one, there would be a second one just in case.

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There was also a large pivoting arm that the TV was going to be mounted to and attached to my chimney area, but a decision was made at the last minute to NOT mount the pivoting arm to the chimney due to logistics. Eventually a stand was used.

We spend a few hours learning about what to expect the next day, the day of the filming. We were to start bright and early in the morning!

The Day of the Shoot

At 6am the next day, we got the knock on the door, as expected. Different crews started rolling in. After that, the entire day became a pretty big blur to me. The photos below are part of a larger photoset from the shoot that is on my Flickr set. First there was make-up:

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Yes, even I got make-up!

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Then lighting and electrical was set up:

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The street and our driveway were filled with production trucks and crew:

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Our existing living room furniture made it out to the driveway:

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Trucks even in front of our neighbor’s house.

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The Sound Crew’s cart was packed as well:

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The setup took a while. And I got to exchange lines with Janna for the first part of the makeover. Then the action moved outside where it was trying really hard to rain. We all watched the action from the inside:

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Here’s the “set” all cleared out:

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At one point, midway through the filming, tragedy struck. Up until that day, we had a hamster. We had a pretty large hamster cage complete with multiple rooms connected via tubes. Unfortunately, its cage was in a shot and had to be moved. So, the cage was moved to one of my kid’s rooms and placed on the floor. Well, our new family dog, Rufus – a rescue Chihuahua + some other breed – also happened to be in that same room. The door was closed and the two animals were left unsupervised. A few minute later, my daughters came to me in tears saying that Rufus had killed Hammie. I was in mid shoot  so we had to take a bit of a breather. To make a long story short, the Chihuahua did what it was bred to do way back in the ancient times, kill rodents.

The entire thing devastated my youngest daughter who had to curl up with a book and a box of Kleenex and get some moral support and comfort from the Wardrobe lady.

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The day wore on and after I had done my painting portion (yes, I actually did paint most of the room) and the hand on the wall “accident”, I was actually kicked out of the house so that they could finish the tech make-over. For a while, I just hung outside with only the company of Rufus (as my family had cleared out to stay out of the way). Now, Rufus doesn’t look like a killer, does he?

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Once I came back to see the new living room space, I got behind the camera to record the “reveal”.  By that point, day had turned into night and there needed to be “day” in the shoot so a big reflective screen with some very bright lights was set up in front of the living room window (much to the annoyance of our neighbors):

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Amazing, no?

And That’s a Wrap!

Finally we neared a “wrap” on the entire project. It was close to 11:00 at night. (Yes, all of the filming and make-over stuff happened in ONE DAY!) The bright lights and loud generators powering all of the lights and equipment had not only caught the attention of most of our neighbors, but also the sheriff who showed up to shut the filming party down. Shortly after that, everyone had pretty much left and the excitement had died down. One of my daughters had a friend over for a sleepover, and they actually spent the night sleeping on the new sofas in our LG-Techorated Living Room!

You can see the official before and after shots below:

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Overall, the entire process was fascinating. I had only expected to have a couple of people show up with a HD camcorder or something and then just move around some furniture. I was both wow-ed and pleasantly surprised with the crew of 35+ who each had specific responsibilities and tasks and who executed on those tasks effortlessly and well. And, of course, I love my newly made-over living room. Janna had been able to transform the space into something much more cozy and usable. And in the past, where my wife had complained about how overpowering the TV was, now the new LG 3D TV integrated into the room much more elegantly. And the 3D TV and 3D Blu-Ray technology ran circles around my old set up. The 3D is simply amazing and the 2D is sharp, crisp and vibrant. And both the Blu-Ray and the TV are “smart”, meaning that they are internet-connected devices where you can stream all sorts of media using a variety of services. Quite a nice upgrade!

If the voting and giveaway is still active on the LG Facebook Techorating page, be sure to enter to win and vote for my makeover in the process. Oh, and here is the final results (after we tweaked it back to have it use some more of our own decorations):

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I would like to thank LG again for this opportunity of not only the makeover and the technology they provided, but also being exposed to a new experience of being in-front of the camera and part of a professional production. I’d love to do it again!

Disclosure: I am not being compensated by LG or its affiliates for any articles or posts. LG provided me with LG Electronics products as part of the Techorator program experience.  However, all articles, tweets, and other materials that I post related to LG products and the Techorator program are entirely my own opinion. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.

HTD says: LG stands for “life’s good” For me, it’s “life’s great,” especially in my newly techorated living room!

 

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  • PLA

    Great post. Glad you and you’re family enjoy the new entertainment system. The production crew experience could of been different though. After seeing all three parts, the inital short version video on the voting site, the long version on youtube, and this behind the scenes makes it clear that crew was on overkill for what came out from it.

    The video would have came out fine, maybe even better if done with a tech crew of no more than 4 people:

    1)Director/Producer
    1)Camera Op
    1)Audio & Lighting Tech
    1)Makeup Artist

    Bring the gear that is appropriate for the setting. 2/3 DSLR cameras, Smaller mobile lights like lite panels, 2 wireless lavaliers, and 1 field recorder.

    In the independent world most professionally produced videos even on
    YouTube are produced by one or two man multi talented crews.

    I think any normal person would be extremely overwhelmed by all the commotion. I agree Rufus doesn’t seem much of a killer to me, but things happen to go wrong with this kind of circus madness takes place. 50 seconds into the short commercial you can see the worried look on your face when the host mentions that you’ll be painting.

    All in all it seems like a cold water introduction to commercial video marketing, a good learning experience for any High Tech junkie. I’m sure the entertainment system makes good lemonade from all those lemons. Cheers!  :)

    -PLA
     plamiami.com

  • PLA

    Glad you and your*

  • http://www.hightechdad.com hightechdad

    Thanks for the post. I agree that there were a lot of people for the shoot, however, with my inexperienced eye, I think they were all needed. There were actually very small sub-crews that were each responsible for different things and when I looked back, I think they were actually all needed. Not all of the footage was used, even in the longer version. Definitely was an interesting experience for me.

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