I love the smell of fermenting grapes in the morning… it’s the smell of a SIM2 press conference at Francis Ford Coppola’s Napa Valley, California, vineyard…
OK, so that’s a bit of a metaphorical stretch, but I couldn’t resist tying my visit to one of the most beautiful places in the country to one of the best lines in movie history after having just returned from a head-clearing visit to Northern California for a SIM2 press event at Coppola’s 1,650-acre Rubicon Estate in Rutherford, California.
The SIM2 ad featuring The Maestro himself
Although, technically, I did not meet the famous director of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now, I did have the unique opportunity to sit in the front row facing the Maestro (as his SIM2 friends call him), as he opined on everything from his love of technology to his thoughts about filming in HD and displaying motion pictures in 3D. It was a fascinating bit of monologue that covered technical categories with such accuracy that it surprised even the most well informed and jaded among us.
We were all invited guests of the Italian projector manufacturer, whose management team could hardly contain its enthusiasm at receiving the somewhat-unsolicited endorsement of the filmmaking legend.
Coppola, who has used SIM2 projectors in his post-production facility for the past two years, greeted guests last Friday morning with the words “this isn’t what it looks like,” before providing an explanation of how he came to SIM2 looking for a projector (at a discount, of course!), after doing a lot of research into his options, and how he was not paid or approached by an agent to endorse the products.
Since buying his first projector, Coppola and his engineering team have assisted SIM2 in developing solutions that bring together the specific technologies needed by Hollywood producers. SIM2 projectors now reproduce all the essential frame rates used in production and postproduction processes, the company says.
A contingent of international guests–including dealers, distributors, industry partners, and press–came together during last week’s event, which featured a press conference, lunch, wine tour and tasting, and concluded with a formal gala dinner in the Pennino Room at the estate’s chateau. During the press conference, I was impressed by Coppola’s knowledge of Texas Instrument’s DLP chip technology and the development of digital cinema. He showed an awareness of the differences between digital cinema projectors and those used for home theater, and he provided an astute discourse on the opportunities and limitations of 3D technology. For excerpts of Coppola’s monologue, click here.
This is not the first time an acclaimed director has endorsed a video projection technology. Martin Scorsese was featured in print ads for the now-defunct Vidikron line and Brad Bird once endorsed Runco. However, neither was treated with quite the fanfare that Coppola was by SIM2, which features the Oscar award winner in its new “white” campaign.
Kamikaze+DTF, an advertising agency based in Milan, Italy, developed the creative content of the 2010 ads in collaboration with SIM2 Multimedia’s marketing department. The campaign includes advertisements, point of sale materials, and brochures. Featuring the work of internationally renowned photographer Alan Gelati, the white campaign was conceived and designed to be “green,” to use the least amount of ink on printed materials.
Coppola joked about the somewhat svelte version of himself featured in the campaign’s principal image being projected on a screen behind him during his presentation, uttering something about how it made him look a little “like George Clooney in a prism” (or was it a prison?). He said that while he was asked by SIM2 to promote his preference for using the company’s DLP-based projectors, it was Coppola who came to them initially, not the other way around.
“I did a lot of research, and what I want to say about today is that SIM2 is a wonderful company from Northern Italy. I sought them out in Pordenone [Italy]; I went to see them and introduced myself to them and of course I was angling to get a discount on a projector, which in fact they gave me,” Coppola said. “So this is certainly an endorsement of this wonderful company and its product, but it’s not an endorsement where they sought me out, nor did I talk to an agent. Though I did put a suit on, I confess, out of my sincere admiration for the company and the product, and I speak as a user who has really appreciated having this bright crisp image when we worked on our films.”
SIM2 Multimedia’s president Maurizio Cini returned the gratitude when he took his turn in front of the event’s guests. “Here we are with the man who made movie dreams happen, and we believe in having such a dream replicated in your personal environment,” he said. “So I think this is an important reason why we met Francis and why this relationship is special. Thank you Maestro.”
Alberto Fabiano, VP of marketing for SIM2 USA, concluded the event’s formal remarks, joking that he was the “least known of these two guys,” before thanking Texas Instruments for “always being cutting edge” and Coppola for his endorsement of SIM2’s projectors. “For us to create projectors that create what Francis intended originally, that’s his work of art, this has to reproduce it the way he intended it. That’s always been the goal for SIM2.”