July 27, 2006



The Water Cooler spot, directed by Joe Pytka, features two dirt roads, intersecting in the middle of a barren landscape. At the center of the junction stands a water cooler, and within seconds, a variety of professionals gather around. The voiceover notes: "the purified spring of corporate culture," an open forum where "hierarchy is not so important as the quality of one's thinking."

Water Cooler is one spot in a series for IBM that asks the question "What Makes You Special?" Others include Plants, in which exotic plants from diverse offices travel through city streets to a single corporate location in order to receive the watering they require, and Faucets, in which a solitary man attempts to use a stylishly designed, yet profoundly impractical bathroom faucet. In all, eight spots were color corrected by Ryan at Nice Shoes over a two-day period.

"I've been working on Joe Pytka's ongoing IBM campaigns for many years now," says Ryan. "The most challenging thing on this campaign is coming up with a coherent look that all of the creatives will be happy with. The IBM spots always share Joe's classically film-like look, but there are a several different ways to achieve it. Some people wanted deep saturation, others wanted things a little grittier. With this many spots, there are a lot of creative and artistic directors involved and everybody wants the spots to look great, and we work hard to reach a consensus."

According to Ryan, the spots' film footage is scanned and stored as data before being conformed in the Specter. Footage is then available to be viewed and color corrected in cut order. By allowing color work to be done in a nonlinear environment, color correction can proceed at a brisk pace while allowing further changes to be made very quickly and at later stages.

"The biggest advantage to having the Specter is that we can really speed through the process," says Ryan. "We spend a lot less time spinning through film to find scenes the way we used to. With the Specter, we can correct things the way one creative wants and keep moving. Then, if someone else comes in and wants further changes, it's just a matter of cueing up the shot or scene in question, and we can do it almost instantaneously."