Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
HOLLYWOOD—Things were wild on Stage 12 at Hollywood Center Studios recently as a pair of gray wolves, two grizzly bears, a leopard, a lion, an African elephant and other exotic animals stopped by for their close-ups. The occasion was a 3-day shoot conducted by GreenScreen Animals, a Santa Monica supplier of specialty stock footage, that was seeking to add to its one-of-a-kind collection of more than 3000 stock images of wild animals.
There is a huge demand for stock images of wild creatures, especially hard to come by green screen shots, that are ideal for special effects purposes. GreenScreen Animals’ animal content has been used in everything from films (We Bought a Zoo) to commercials (FreeCreditReport.com) to late night TV (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno).
Hollywood Center Studio’s Stage 12, a dedicated green screen stage with a 3-wall, hard cove cyc, provided an ideal location for shooting the animals. Spanning more than 4000 square feet with a cyc wall that measures 20-feet in height, it offers plenty of elbow room for talent to move around, even if those elbows belong to an African elephant. The stage was large enough, for example, to shoot wolves striding 20 to 30 feet.
“It was a great shooting space,” recalls GreenScreen Animals co-owner Mark Shockley. “The stage is adjacent to a shaded street where we were able to keep the animals in comfort and safety while they were waiting to go on. For the cats and bears, we could back our trailers right onto the stage. The elephant was able to walk through the stage’s ‘elephant door.’”
The stage also offered the advantage of being pre-lit. Shockley notes that his crew needed a well-lit stage as they were shooting in 4K and aiming for maximum image quality. “Because the stage was pre-lit, we were able to focus on lighting the animals,” he says. “That saved us a lot of time and allowed us to begin shooting quickly from day one.”
Working with animals on a shooting stage obviously requires great care and meticulous planning. Shockley works with Hollywood’s top animal trainers who are not only experts in getting their charges to leap and snarl, they also know how to do so without causing them harm. Representatives of the American Humane Association were also on hand to guarantee animal welfare.
GreenScreen Animals organizes large scale shoots like this once a year. “We pick spring because the animals’ coats are thick and full from winter,” Shockley explains. “We also do smaller shoots throughout the year with smaller animals. Our next shoot may include foxes, bobcats and skunks.”
As a result, Shockley says he expects to return to Stage 12 sooner, rather than later. “Our shoot there was a home run,” he says. “Hollywood Center Studios is awesome.”
About Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood Center Studios has a rich and colorful history that mirrors the development of Hollywood and the growth of the entertainment industry. The studio has played host to some of the most notable productions of the past century, including such iconic television shows as I Love Lucy, The Addams Family, Jeopardy, Rockford Files and Mad TV, and classic film productions such as When Harry Met Sally and The Player. In recent years, Hollywood Center Studios has continued to grow and modernize to support its large television clientele which includes Disney, NBC, Comedy Central and MTV. Hollywood Center Studios remains a vital part of the Hollywood community and a place where entertainment history continues to be made every day.
Hollywood Center Studios is located at 1040 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90038. For more information, call (323) 860-0000 or visit www.HollywoodCenter.com.
About GreenScreen Animals
GreenScreen Animals is the world's leading solution for high quality, humane animal content. GSA creates, maintains and licenses one of the world's foremost libraries of high resolution green screen animal footage. The GSA library contains thousands of video clips & stills that can be utilized in a variety of media including film, television, web and print applications. GSA's animal content allows producers the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way to get images that would normally be too cost-prohibitive to capture. GSA provides custom shoots for clients seeking animals in their projects. All content is produced under the close supervision of the American Humane Association's "No animals were harmed." This key alliance ensures the safety and comfort of the animals used in GSA's library.