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How to make a commercial

Creating commercials seems to be quite a simple task, but only if you have certain knowledge and skills.

An interesting high-quality video is a must for everyone from bloggers on social media to a major manufacturer. It is the video that grabs attention of potential clients, making them interested in your offer. However, if you want it to be effective, you’ll need to make some effort and show all your creativity.

Knowing how to make a commercial, you can create an amazing video that can substitute a long descriptive text about perks of your product or service, and show them in action. This visual marketing brings incredible results and allows you to reach a wider audience.

Commercial: creating idea and script

Commercials often have no script and just directly demonstrate the product, however, only a few people would find the video interesting – only those who were already familiar with the product. In order to attract new customers, you’ll need a unique idea for making a commercial which will intrigue the audience and lead to required results. These are interest and memorization of demonstrated product or service.

A script is always born from a well-thought idea. You can do it yourself, or give this important task to a specialist: a professional marketer and a screenwriter who know the main trends in advertising and understand how to demonstrate the benefits of the product in the most interesting for the viewer way.

If you have your own ideas and a commercial script, you’ll have to figure out the next moments before starting to shoot:

  1. Target audience.
  2. Preferable platform (social networks, block, television).
  3. Compliance with the marketing plan.
  4. The action that the viewer must take after watching the video.
  5. Clip length.
  6. An ability to shoot and edit the clip yourself, or the need to involve a team of specialists.
  7. Whether people will share the video, or you should encourage them.

A script, especially a commercial one, will include not only contents for the future video, it’ll also include an analysis of separate frames. You need an idea to be visualized with a help of simple and audience-friendly images and words.

Creativity and imagination are important when creating a commercial, but their overabundance can hopelessly ruin even the most interesting idea, so before starting to film, you need to plan everything carefully:

  • Idea;
  • Timing;
  • Visuals (analysis of each frame with comments);
  • People (actors) and dialogues;
  • Costumes and necessary props;
  • Location;
  • Sound and text.

When you have a detailed plan and script, it would be much easier to create and edit a commercial. Clip length is one of the basic questions you’ll need to figure out before writing a detailed script. The maximum length of the video is determined by financial capacity and the necessary time to express the main idea. However, you have to remember that the video length, required for the audience to percept and understand, is 15 seconds. Such length is based on studies of the psycho-physiological characteristics of the human brain (the first 6-8 seconds form sensory perception, and the remaining time is required for information to transpose into long-term memory).

Unfortunately, there is no formula for determining the perfect length of a commercial, here you will need to proceed from your own goals and capabilities, or let the professionals do this thing instead.

Thinking about the sound should start at the stage of scriptwriting, you will need to choose the right music or record a speech separately, explaining what goes on in the picture.

When revising the script frame by frame, it is worth remembering that the first frame audience sees forms their basic idea of the commercial and the offered product, and it will be the motivation to keep on watching the video.

Not only script matters. Quality is crucial, too. Even the top-notch product or service with a low-quality picture will make the video lose its appeal for the audience.

When writing a script, don’t copy your competitors, since the same type of information is annoying, thus such a commercial will not be effective.

One of the best options for a commercial video script is Storytelling. This method allows you to:

  • Explain concepts in a clear and simple way;
  • Generate interest of the audience;
  • Increase credibility of the advertised product and its manufacturer.

People love hearing stories, so this method of video advertising would be effective on any platform from social networks to television.

If you plan to publish a commercial exclusively in the network, you should note that the majority of viewers (about 80%) mute ads, and in social platforms ads are played soundless. In this case, only the picture will attract attention of the audience, and it will be necessary to form the main idea of the commercial and call for action with the help of subtitles and captions only.

According to marketers’ statistics, the coverage of videos with captions and text description is 20% higher than that of ads with visuals without text support.

The call to action will help you get the necessary result from the commercial, implemented in one of the following ways:

  • A pop-up window with a link (in case of online advertising);
  • An implicit offer to do certain actions;
  • Direct message through a phrase or dialogue with the duplication of information text over the frame.

With the help of a detailed plan and script, creating and editing a commercial will be much easier, and a non-standard approach and creativity will help you to outstand your competitors.

Basic rules for creating commercials

Commercials production has a certain specificity, not only during filming, but also when working with the footage. Choosing the right technology, using modern amenities (animation, computer graphics, professional equipment), you can express the most complex idea and deliver it to the target audience in a short period of time.

To create a commercial, you should follow these rules:

  • Innovation and experimentation. Commercial development shouldn’t turn into a competition. You should focus on your own product and its benefits and strive to demonstrate it in the most obvious to the final client way.
  • Emotional involvement. Before you make a commercial you need to decide what kind of emotion your audience should feel when watching it, and how to attract their attention. Emotional perception affects the memorability of advertised information and the audience's willingness to take up actions it leads them to.
  • Self-promotion. Making a commercial without appropriate demonstration of your own product or service is just stupid. The name or the offer of the advertised product should pop up at the beginning, and several more times during the video. If the advertised product has packaging, you should definitely show it in the commercial so that the viewer can recognize it later in retail outlets.
  • Motion. Regardless of what is advertised, the product should move in the frame and be shown in close-up at least one time. For example, in food commercials, a video where milk is poured into a glass, will have much more chances to gain popularity than in the commercial where milk is shown in the package.
  • Sound. In the commercials, silence is out of place; moreover, there are quite a few people who perceive information better through hearing than visually. You should choose music, songs and sound effects for them to evoke an emotional response. If the product was created to solve a particular problem, the effect of seriousness can be doubled by a sad song, and after your product solves these problems, you can demonstrate it with a cheerful happy song.
  • Additional features. The voiceover behind the frame has a much smaller impact on the viewer than the person in the frame, especially if he or she is a good actor. Frequent frame changes can distract from the main message, so (especially if the commercial is short) you should make the script smooth. The simpler the video is, the more likely the viewer will be able to quickly comprehend and remember it, so you should not make the script complicated.

To create a commercial, you’ll need:

  • A team. Anyone who has ever seen the process of shooting a commercial will understand you simply can’t do it by yourself. To get a high-quality video, the team should include a screenwriter, a director, a cameraman, an editor, cast, a make-up artist and a costume designer. The final cast is chosen with a help of a script, and often, one person can do several jobs at once.
  • Appropriate setting. To shoot an excellent commercial, you will need several settings. Choosing plenty of locations is essential only when shooting television commercials to achieve that cinematographic effect. Setting should always be written in the script. Moreover, a director should first approve them, in order to find good angles, appropriate lighting and filming distance. Filming in public places might require a permit, and you should get it in advance. If you have a good budget, you should consider renting special pavilions, so you can set not only light and sound, but also avoid putting off shooting sessions due to unsuitable weather conditions.
  • Equipment. You can shoot simple commercials for social media, using your phone only (with further editing) or with an action camera. In order to get a high-quality shot, necessary for publishing on television, you need professional equipment and people who know how to handle it, that is, the production team.

After filming the necessary material, you can proceed to the final stage of creating the commercial - editing. You can assemble a whole commercial from separate clips on a smartphone or laptop, and then add music and sound effects, text, subtitles, etc. Commercials, made with special equipment is much more difficult to edit, so you’ll need a professional to work with it.

Having learned how to make a commercial and all the stages of its creation, you can make a decision on whether to do it yourself or entrust it to a team of professionals.

What determines the cost of creating a commercial

The cost of creating a commercial relies on many factors, so before you start filming, you should determine the budget and make a detailed estimate. Each additional item, such as another actor, a new setting or specialized equipment will increase the total cost, and you should add it wisely. Small companies with minimal turnover should not spend much money on commercials, especially if you do it exclusively for YouTube and other social networks. Production team also adds to the cost. If you order a full service package from a special team, you’ll have to pay a lot, so filming yourself will much cheaper. On the other hand, professionals will not only help with filming, but also think the script through and improve the main idea in order to achieve specific goals, which is to make the viewers do that the client needs. Alternatively, you can make a team of your friends and acquaintances. There sure will be someone from the drama club, someone who can film a video or edit a greeting clip. These people won’t ask for much money, but the result can be decent. When filming yourself to reduce the budget, keep in mind that you’ll need to coordinate work of specialists and actors independently:

Operator. This person is responsible for the cameras, lighting and image, films and solves technical issues, therefore, you’ll need a person with these skills.

Actors. The smaller the cast - the easier it is to work on the video, in some cases it even makes sense to become the main character of the commercial yourself.

Editor. You can learn a simple editing program in a couple of evenings, but the final result most likely won’t satisfy you, or you will have to redo the work several times. To save money, you can invite people who shoot weddings and holidays, as their services are much cheaper than professional TV people.

With having no basic skills of scriptwriting and filming, a process of shooting can take much time and you’ll still gain not much success.  Sometimes it is better to reduce length of the video and abstain from expensive setting and hire professionals from the video studio. They will take into account all the details and help create good quality content, so even a raw idea can become a cool video.