How To Film Your T.V. Commercial For Under $100
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Jun 18, 2013

How To Film Your T.V. Commercial For Under $100

No catchy headlines here in this article, straight to the point.  I will go over the crucial details for newly inspired filmmakers.

Good News if you have a smartphone: 

Most people can ask a family member or friend for a smartphone, and most shoot HD video.  So if you have a $100 dollar budget, scratch the camera budget because everything can be shot on smartphones.  Same with audio, you don't have to rent a lapel or lavaliere mic (same meaning) - the kind that clip to your shirt.  While shooting, capture audio with a smartphone, preferably an iPhone in your front pocket (mic facing up), and use the audio recorder, this will give you a more professional level audio, unless you plan on doing a voiceover of the whole video.  Also while recording audio which makes it dramatically better, don't constantly start and stop the audio recordings it makes it harder for the editor, just check down every now and again to see if it's still recording (good tip).  So using smartphones can save you money, use the money for the editor.

1 - Purpose Planning

Clearly define the purpose; is it an about us company video, a sales pitch for a certain product, general advertising, a brand builder, targeting new or past clients?  Define the purpose for the video, you can't please every target market with one video.

2 - Outcome Envisioning

How do you want to feel after you watch the video, and more importantly how do you want your viewers to feel while and after watching the video?  Enlightened, Informed about a new sale?  What do you want them to feel in general, and feel about your video, which represents a message from your company.  Write down the purpose of the video, and how you want them to feel while and after watching it.

3 - Brainstorming

What are all the points you want to hit - Make a list!  You can't include everything, so whittle it down and keep the best for not "the last" but for the entire video.  What graphics you want to use, what points you want to cover, locations, green screens?  Wardrobe?  Brainstorm everything you'll need for the video.  This part is certainly free.

4 - Organizing

Fancy term for writing the script.  Once you've selected the topics, and graphics of your business and of your product, clips of your product, anything you want to highlight, that is considered the B-roll.  The A-roll being an actual human speaking in front of a camera.  B-roll is laid over the A roll and typically you'd get the editing to keep the audio from the person in the A clip, and show the highlighted graphic in the B to keep "continuity".  Plan the order of the B rolls, could be a video clip of a product, or you can literally google/youtube search "B roll" and its either targeted graphics, or people walking in a city, in plain jane shots.  Sometimes when talking about people it's wise to insert a B roll of people performing the function you are talking about.  So start the script, write it like an essay.  Use all the writing talents you've accumulated over the years when scripting video, but include in the A roll people shooting terms that will describe the B roll overlay.  Finish the script, good, now onto the next part.

5 - Shooting

Shoot on whatever you have available, iPhones (turned horizontally for HD) can be just as good as anything, just remember to have adequate lighting, which could be just as simple as a lamp or outdoor light.  Daytime shooting takes care of the lighting generally.  Like I said before, have some kind of audio recorder on while you record.  Clearer sounding audio greatly improves the quality of the video.  Also, if you don't know about "the rule of thirds", google that before you have a cameraman shoot you.

6 - Editing

Here's the guts of the article, how to spend your money wisely.  Chances are, if you've read this article, it's because you aren't a professional, and that's okay.  But you'll need someone to edit and export the video in just the right way to make it available for online viewing.  You can find people on to edit video for you, and if you do all the work up front scripting and brainstorming, they'll have all the parts of the puzzle to edit just like you want to.  Or call on a young film student who can help you, is a viable answer to that.  Typically pay between 8-10 dollars an hour for editing, or just give them a set price for the "gig."  Export as high quality as you can depending on the length of the video, and you're done.

This article was contributed by Mike S. from Virtual Web Productions. When Mike isn't blogging you can find him enjoying the beautiful beaches in Florida.