Producing a TV Commercial

September 20, 2016

Commercials are everywhere. They’re on your iPhone, they’re on your television, they’re on the sides of buildings. And they remain extremely effective when done right.

With proper planning and the right tools, you can learn how to successful produce a commercial. We believe there are eight areas you should consider when tackling your next commercial project.

1. Your Budget: The first consideration before beginning your project should be the budget. How much money and time do you have to spend to complete your commercial? Budgetary considerations will keep you “on track” while conceptualizing the final product. It will also help guide your decisions on all aspects of the project including production and post-production.

2. Scripts & Storyboards: Scriptwriting and storyboarding are the most time intensive processes in video production, and should be taken very seriously. The script sets the stage for all pre-production, production and post-production decisions. A properly written script needs to be interesting and entertaining to properly communicate your message or story. A storyboard can use illustrations or pictures that represent different scenes in the script. Substantial thought, imagination, and time are required to prepare a detailed script and storyboard, but the reward for completing this process will be a vastly superior end product.

3. Setting a Deadline: The complexity of your commercial will determine the timeframe necessary to meet your deadline. For example, an appropriate time of year for outdoor shooting or multiple locations are important factors. Should a set be required, allow time for design and construction. Also allow enough time for proofing and for the approval process.

4. Graphics: Animated logos, motion titles, and static text can be prepared before the post-production process begins. In the case of an animation, it may require several weeks to complete, thus it is essential to begin graphic design work well before production begins on your video. Be prepared to supply the production company you are working with .eps or .tiff files of any logos, as well as photographs, graphic artwork, or digital media files that will be used in your production.

5. Music & Sound Effects: The soundtrack of a commercial is instrumental in establishing specific moods or emotions for your viewers. Whether you go with production library music or custom music, plan to spend some time listening to various tracks to decide on the right music for your commercial. Should you choose to select a track by a popular artist, licensing can be obtained, but usually with a high price attached.

6. Professional Voice Talent: If professional voice talent is required, a correctly formatted script will be necessary. Be sure to underline emphasized words or phrases, and make notes on unusual pronunciations or audible inflections. Remember that the typed text on your script is exactly what will be read during the voice over session and heard on your completed commercial. It is helpful to read the script aloud to determine that the proper message is being communicated.

7. Production: The most glamorous part of the process includes all aspects of shooting, from the physical preparations for the shoot, such as building sets and finding props, to rehearsing the talent and actually shooting the spot. Commercial shoots can run anywhere from one day to several weeks depending on complexity.

 8. Post Production: Once shot, the assembly of the commercial begins. Graphics and animations are added in; voice over and music are mixed. Post-production normally takes longer to complete than production so make sure you’ve budgeted enough time to complete your spot. Find out what format and quality the broadcaster who will air the commercial needs. Improperly formatted spots will lose quality on screen.

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