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Pachyderm gives public radio a boost

April 27, 2003|Victoria Looseleaf

Commercial director Randy Roberts likens his latest work to a wedding cake. Viewers might think it's a DeMille-like human pyramid.

Roberts' creation, an ad for radio station KCRW-FM currently playing at independent movie theaters, features an elephant, a grand piano and 150 dancers, musicians and circus performers of diverse ethnic backgrounds tapped to represent Los Angeles.

"The concept is that music and dance transcend culture," explains Roberts, whose visual effects company, Rhythm & Hues, produced the ad pro bono.

The ad, which took a year to conceive, began screening in January and will run through the end of the year. Shot on a soundstage in four days, it opens on a screen filled with colorfully costumed performers. As the camera moves upward -- spanning six tiers -- the imagery appears to be one continuous take, courtesy of computer-enhanced technology. The ad ends on a rotating globe with the KCRW logo, before briefly returning to a wide shot.

KCRW marketing consultant Gregg Lewis said the spot was the most ambitious he'd seen. "I was amazed they could bring so many people together and pull this off."

Among the 13 featured dance troupes, look for Angahara Dance Ensemble's Ramaa Bharadvaj and daughter Swetha on the elephant. Says Ramaa: "It's lovely so many world dance companies were represented -- Keshet Chaim, Sophiline Shapiro's Cambodian dancers, Viji Prakash -- so it didn't bother me not to get name recognition."

-- Victoria Looseleaf

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