No saying is more appropriate for the production of a Television Commercial than “making simple is complicated”.
15 seconds, only a mere 15 seconds, that should take only an hour at tops to film surely?!
No, it takes hours and hours. What you see on screen is the culmination of a lot of talented people who have put huge energies into the creation of the finished product.
Just look at the roll of titles on any film or television show and you’ll get an idea of the number of people involved, but not what they actually do.
On a recent television commercial for Bethany Funeral Home, we shot over 3 hours of footage to achieve just 60 seconds of usable footage.
That doesn’t sound too hard, and that is because I haven’t explained what went into filming that footage.
Before we even started filming it all begin months before with the team coming up with concepts and storyboarding them for discussions with the client, the media is planned and negotiated and budgets worked.
On approval of the final storyboards a myriad of pre film organisation begins: screen testing various actors to play the role; sourcing props and wardrobe outfits; scouting film locations, which in the Bethany TVC needed to take into account the lie of the land for the best direction of sunlight on the water for a scene; the logistics of getting a film crew with all its equipment (and believe me there is a lot to be set up and packed down, again and again) between various locations while sticking to a schedule that is heavily influenced by weather and light.
Skip ahead to the day of filming: it starts in the small hours setting up props, generators, lights, cables and film gear. Then take after take after take to get just the right expression on the face, or the way a hat is dropped on a cooler box. Sounds simple dropping a hat onto a box, but in fact it took dozens of drops and over 6 mins of footage to achieve just the right look. That is to say that the hat lands on the top, stays on, is in the right position, facing the right way and keeps its shape.
After all the shooting then the studio work begins: wading through all the footage and selecting it so that it can be edited together to create a flowing and logical story within strict time codes.
Music has to be composed and played to time and theme with the visual footage.
The sound needs to be mixed and adjusted; special effects need to be added: colour grading is applied to create the best appearance and feel.
Finally the Television Commercials are sent for CAD approval and as long as there are no issues here, the Television Commercial is ready to air.