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Organizing Your TV Commercial Production Workflow

Television commercials remain among the most effective advertising tools to expose your brand, your business, and the products and services you provide to the largest amounts of consumers. In today’s internet age, there are more opportunities than ever to expand your visibility and increase your brand awareness through streaming services, social media networks, and your own website.

Producing a professional TV commercial is a massive undertaking that involves teams of people you will need to rely on for their talents and individual specialties. Putting together and keeping track of all the moving parts and never-ending list of details can be daunting. Like all other forms of media, pre-production planning and the creation of a logical and workable workflow will help to ensure a smooth process resulting in a great-looking and effective television commercial production.

Steps to Achieving an Effective TV Commercial Production Workflow

Juggling the creative, technical, and financial aspects of a TV commercial production takes a workflow process that benefits all project elements. Providing specific information for your crew will help to keep all members aware of their role in each phase of the production to allow for a more efficient and cost-effective process. A well thought out plan that is properly documented and distributed will allow for the inevitable changes and adjustments that will be required along the way.

Following these workflow guidelines will assist you in getting and staying organized throughout each step of the production process. Pre-production planning and open communication are the keys to the creation of a successful television commercial and apply to each of these workflow steps.

Setting Goals, Aligning Your Team

Establishing the goals of your television commercial will drive the decisions you make throughout the production process. The primary and overriding objective will likely be to increase sales and revenue. Additional goals that could affect everything from the script to post-production elements may include building up trust in your brand, explaining how your products or services work, generating website traffic. It is crucial for the entire team to be on the same page regarding the intended results and consequences of your production.

Before moving onto the actual content and production phase of the process, a workable budget and project timeline needs to be created. This will help everyone on the team know where they stand and enable them to track the progress throughout all phases of the production. An outline of these important elements should be shared with all team members for full transparency.

Develop Your Concept

Once goals are determined, and the budget and timeline are set, the director or creative director can spearhead the collaborative effort to develop the concept ideas for the production. This stage in the process is designed to get the creative juices flowing by exploring the best and most effective ways to deliver your message. The concept development phase allows you to get creative in figuring out the best way to achieve those goals within your budget in the most engaging, dynamic, and compelling ways.

Create a Mood Board

A mood board is the visual presentation of the concepts you have developed with your production team. The creation of a mood board will allow the team to start visualizing your collaborative concepts. The look, feel, and tone of the video will begin to form so you can make the necessary adjustments to get it where it needs to be. Your mood board will be used to track creative and technical aspects for existing team members and can get any new members up-to-date on all visual and audio elements of the project.

Elements that a mood board may cover essential production assets such as:

Cinematic style
Tone and emotion
Music
Voiceover
Graphics
Casting
Wardrobe
Locations

Scriptwriting

There are a variety of ways you can deliver your message and get information out to viewers. A scriptwriter will take the concept illustrated through your mood board and create the text that will be included in your commercial. The script will be driven by whether the commercial is going to be told by a narrative storyline, a series of customer or employee testimonials, or any other number of storytelling methods. Begin with a script outline that overs all the details needed to be covered in the full script. A copywriter can take these details and write the complete script, including voiceovers, actors or character dialogue, and/or interview questions for subjects.

Technical Script

When the script has been written and finalized, a separate audio-visual script will plot out all of the technical aspects of the production. Two columns are created that will outline the technical plan for each script segment, matching the visuals to the dialogue and other cues. Documenting these crucial elements will allow the entire team to see how the technical aspects of the project are expected to play out so each member can provide input from their individual perspectives in this early part of the process. This is the foundation of how all of the technical aspects of your production will come together and bring your commercial to life.

Casting Process

Getting the right people to be in your tv commercial is essential to deliver your message and accomplish your goals. Seeing actors in person is the best way to see how well they will fit in and take direction. However, meeting with them virtually can also be an efficient way to screen potential actors, especially in these unprecedented times of social distancing. Make sure any contracts are clear, concise, and signed by anyone appearing in your commercial to avoid dealing with any sort of legal issues in the future.

Location Logistics

A location scout will seek out the needed locations for the various parts of your television commercial. They will search online for the best looks, accommodations, and deals using services like Airbnb and Peerspace. An in-person visit to those locations that best meet your requirements, needs, and tastes will ensure they are the best fits to plan out all of the shots you need, and coordinate the production needs on the day of the shoot.

Video Shot List

The production heads will create a formal, shot by shot list of the entire commercial. This should cover every individual shot that is needed for production. Some productions will insist on each shot being videotaped exactly as written, while others will leave some wiggle room for adjustments or changes on the fly. Either way, a shot list will provide a detailed roadmap to follow.

Wardrobe, Props

Those in charge of props and wardrobe will pour through the shot list to create their own list for those items that will be needed. Unless your commercial is a period piece or involves an elaborate concept, most props and wardrobe elements can be found at local shops. Rental services can be used for specialty items that are harder to find.

Day of Production

As the big day approaches, it is important to plot out the time and crew needed to execute your production as efficiently as possible. Most production days can last upwards of 10-12 hours, maximizing the cost of your crew, actors, locations, and equipment rentals. A commercial production crew can be anywhere from a handful of technicians to a full staff of dozens of crew members.

Post-Production Meeting

After all needed shots have been recorded, a full post-production meeting will lay out all of the editing needs and concepts, covering any changes made to the script and technical script during shooting. This will help to ensure everyone remains on the same page and that no confusion or mistakes happen during the post-production phase.

Post-Production Process

Editing typically takes place in stages that include transferring and organizing of the raw video files, story cut, and the layering of video and audio channels. The story cut is the basic putting together of the right shots in the right order. This is a good time to check in with the team to make sure the project is on the right track before fine-tuning transitions and edits and adding graphics and other post-production elements.

Reviews

Online platforms like Frame.io allows your team members to interact by providing input directly onto the video format for everyone to see. Distributing the video at phase to the decision-makers on the production staff will formulate the tweaks and changes that need to be made in a collaborative manner.

Final Polish

Once the adjustments are made to the final edit and all parties approve, the color mastering and audio mixing process will clean up any rough edges and create a cohesive, polished product.

Go Live

Your television commercial is now ready to live on the determined distribution outlets. Digital marketing techniques allow you to create multiple versions of your video to perform tests that offer analytics and determine which are most effective for your targeted audiences.

Contact Sparkhouse Today

If you would like to get started with a television commercial with video production and marketing professionals at Sparkhouse, you can do so here!

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