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Video Production - Making a TV Commercial from Scratch

By Keiran Mackin, Diploma of Advertising & Media.

Read Keiran's blog HERE.

From the moment I walked into our Video Production class I was converted. Already being a huge fan of film and considering myself a “movie buff”, I knew this subject would be something I would enjoy. I walked in truly believing I had a good idea of what was involved in filmmaking. I was wrong.

Composition, exposure, depth of field, symmetry, rule of thirds and contrast were not new concepts to me. However, I had no idea how to use them. It is all well and good to learn about what these elements of film mean, but it wasn’t until I saw them in action that I could appreciate their inclusion. With multiple examples shown on screen, we were forced to deconstruct every element included within each shot. I was hesitant at first, but it wasn’t long before this task became second nature.

The magic of lighting was one of the key elements I learnt within this unit. The inclusion of shadowing and contrast can set the entire mood of your film. It incorporates emotion by creating vulnerability, happiness or hope. Don’t get me wrong; I was well aware that good lighting is the key to taking the best selfie. But I learnt that the unlimited effects and emotions lighting can produce are endless.

 

Keiran Mackin_VP4

 

Now, everyone knows that all films have a Director, Producer, Cameraman and talent. But what most people do not know is that you can literally have a job title of “best boy”. There are so many different people involved within a film production that I was unaware of! Depending on the film at hand, you can have anywhere from 20 people to 300 people working on that one set (possibly more). Having a background in accounts, I automatically thought about the costs that this would involve. Breaking down all jobs and responsibilities of those needed on set, as well as their expected pay rates was confronting for me. Film production is expensive!

When it came to creating my first video advertisement, there were a lot of new elements that I needed to consider. I wanted to include mood lighting, so I chose something suspenseful. I wanted to include a variety of camera angles, so I chose something simple. I wanted to be different, so I broke some of the rules (What we learnt was that most films begin with an opening wide shot, depicting the setting and mood. I chose to make my reveal at the end of my ad). The idea for my ad “Campbell’s Soup, feeding your anxiety” was incredibly simple. However, it allowed me to trial many of the new film tips and tricks I had learnt throughout the course, and I am thrilled to have used that opportunity in the way that I did.

“You have nothing unless you have a good concept” - Cisco Corea

Our final task proved to be the most challenging and the most rewarding experience within the unit. As a group, we took on multiple rolls in order to produce a video commercial. After throwing around some ideas I came up with the concept of producing an ad for an Op Shop. The ad would promote Op Shop clothing within a fashionable setting, demonstrating the ability to pull together a great outfit for a low price.

 

Keiran Mackin_VP5

 

I chose to take on the role of the Producer. Although I knew this role held large expectations, I wanted the challenge and believed I had the capability to pull it off. There were immediate tasks that I took on from day one, including leading our communications via a Facebook group, delegating specific tasks to my fellow peers, ensuring the campaign idea was clear to everyone involved and drawing up draft budget.

Management is a skill I have learnt through my previous work history and I needed to dive into that mindset straight away. At many stages throughout this process, I experienced difficulty in making sure each person was completing their designated role to their fullest potential. I ensured all communications were direct and clear for everyone, but I did not feel like I wasn’t receiving the same enthusiasm in return. As a result, additional tasks were delegated to fewer team members in order to ensure they were completed.

There were a number of additional roles that we needed to fill using outside sources, including the talent, make up artist and catering. Due to having a limited budget, it was ideal that we would be able to recruit these professionals for a minimum cost. Unfortunately we experienced a large number of difficulties in this area, with 3 dancers pulling out last minute, as well as our Make-up artist. As a result we reached out to a professional dancer and offered her a larger pay cut. This required me to re-evaluate the budget and cut costs from other areas.

Finding a location was surprisingly easy and successful. I searched for a site that would match the creative idea, found a very close match and was able to negotiate a reasonable price. Purchasing costumes, props and catering was a small challenge, but with great communication between team members I was able to keep on track of the budget.

Thankfully, film day ran smoothly. Everyone was on time, prepared to complete their role, helpful in all aspects of filming/set up and productive with time. The only hiccup on the day was a movement of camera, which was dealt with quickly and effectively. The editing team did a fantastic job postproduction and I am thrilled with the final result.

I highly enjoyed the unit, Video Production and have interest in continuing my studies in this field. Keeping in mind that a few additional touch ups need to be made, please view our complete video commercial via the link below.

 

 

Find out more about studying Advertising & Media at Macleay College.

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