Garden News Blog

The Roots Recognize Earth Day in Promo Filmed at BBG


Ever spotted your favorite garden on Gossip Girl, in Vogue, on Saturday Night Live, or in a Kohl’s ad? If so, you’ve seen some of our greatest recent hits of commercial photography—that is, the production crews who come to the Garden to use its dramatic backdrops for their own commercial projects.

Our most recent commercial shoot, last Wednesday, was for a 60-second Earth Day promo for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. The Roots, Jimmy Fallon’s house band, wrote a song in honor of the holiday, and we loaded in at the crack of dawn in the Steinhardt Conservatory to begin shooting the super-fun promo—a music video, really—which the production team is kindly letting us share with you on the blog.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to work on (or be a fly on the wall of) a big network shoot, you may not believe how much time, manpower and energy it takes to produce something as lovely and effortless-looking as the clip above. You can see BBG’s Desert Pavilion, Entry House, and Daffodil Hill in the promo—which accounts for less than half of the 60 seconds. (The Honda hybrid is also driving past the Herb Garden towards the end of the promo.) For those four locations, we spent about nine hours setting up, shooting, and breaking down, with a crew of about 60 working in tandem with BBG staff.

We get dozens of requests each week this time of year to shoot commercial projects at the Garden—from fashion magazines, TV shows and commercials, feature films, and more. We need to be incredibly careful about which projects we select, since the safety of our plant collections and comfort of our regular visitors are top priorities. When a request comes in, I work with horticulture, security and facilities to determine if it’s a good match for us, and on the day of the shoot, personnel from all those departments work with me to make sure that every element is carefully managed, from visitor traffic rerouting to ensuring that not even one leg of one stand of one light touches a planted bed here. I think one of my greatest compliments of my whole life came a couple of years ago when a producer, in a somewhat frightened voice, once told me I was a captain of the plant police.

This shoot, despite being in grey and wet weather, was a great success. Catch this promo both here and tonight during primetime on NBC, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Kate Blumm is the Communications manager for Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
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