GrapeVine Productions Wraps Duo Little Mermaid Spots

Boutique facility GrapeVine Productions recently completed production on two Disney Little Mermaid toy commercials. Ariel Magical Talking Kitchen and Ariel Magical Talking Salon spots are currently airing through the holiday season.

CDI Toys, the developers and manufacturers of both products, turned to GrapeVine Productions for a second year, for their reputable commitment to creating fun and energetic promotions with technical expertise. Known in the industry as a one-stop-shop, GrapeVine strategically organizes projects from beginning to end. The Little Mermaid spots were carefully crafted from the children cast, to the hardware and software used to complete the project.

Director of Photography, Kent Hughes, used a special HD Sony 900 Cinealta camera with a P+S Teknik lens adapter custom modified by Clairmont Camera for both commercials. The camera allowed Hughes to adapt his Zeiss High Speed prime lenses.

‘The combination of camera equipment gives us great control over the depth of field and depth of focus, creating a much more cinematic look,’ says Director and owner of GrapeVine Productions, Tony Carenzo. ‘It really allows us to steer the viewer eye and highlight just those parts of the product we want to emphasize.’

GrapeVine faced its biggest challenge when it came time to shoot a 180-degree shot of the Salon. The mirror on the top of the toy created a reflection of the camera as it passed. The small actors were also passing in front of the mirror at many times during the shoot, which caused minor difficulties in compositing the final mirror and character image onto the toy. To fix the camera issue, the mirror was blacked-out with fabric, and fixed later in post.

‘We had to rotoscope the actors out of the shots and recomposite them over the graphic image. We also had to track the camera motion so it would all work seamlessly,’ says Lead Graphics Designer, Mychael Lederer-Morihisa.

Digital Fusion was the tool of choice for the completion of the commercials.

Lighting was also an issue, as the lights on the Salon toy were out-shone by the bright lights on set. Lederer-Morihisa corrected this also in post, with After Effects.

Director and co-owner of GrapeVine Productions, Erin Carenzo, directed the second commercial, ‘Ariel Magical Talking Kitchen.’

The facility celebrated its sixth year of business in 2006, and is recognized by those in the industry as a talented production company, which can put together high-end animation, graphics packages, commercials and promos, within the constraints of tight deadlines and less-than big budgets.

‘We know there are hundreds of companies who can do what we do,’ says Erin Carenzo. ‘It how we do it that sets us apart.’

About GrapeVine Productions:
This one-stop-shop facility understands the demands of the commercial industry, and knows that million dollar budgets are well out of most companies’s reach. Tony and Erin have built a company committed to turning out high-quality results, regardless of time or dollar constraints. For more on GrapeVine Productions, please visit

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