Television commercials have graced the small screen from the very beginning of the medium. Though production methods have become more sophisticated, the process for TV commercial production is the same: careful planning, efficient shooting and sharp editing. Following the TV production process vigilantly ensures a quality end result for broadcasters.
During the creative consultation process, the advertising agency or production company talks to the client about what the client wants to say with her television commercial. Clients need to advertise a new product or service with a memorable commercial that is entertaining while conveying important information. The production company writes all of the necessary points down and pitches ideas to the client based upon the information. After the client and production company decide on a few ideas that will work, the production company will go to work on the next steps of the production process.
Production companies must perform a number of tasks before the cameras start running. The pre-production process includes scriptwriting, location scouting, prop collection, hiring actors, equipment renting and creating shot-lists. The pre-production stage is the stage in which all of the TV commercial's scheduling is created. Commercial shoots are planned down to the minute because time is literally money. If a shoot runs long, hiring actors, renting equipment and reserving locations will inflate your budget.
The actual filming of the commercial takes place during the production phase of the TV commercial production process. The director coordinates the shoot using the shot list and shooting script. Actors give multiple takes for dialogue and actions specified in the script. Production for TV commercials can take a day or multiple days of shooting, depending on the length of the commercial and the intricacy of the script. Once all of the shots are filmed, the director sends the film, tape or video files to the editor.
The post-production process includes all video editing, sound editing and exporting of the TV commercial. Video editing is performed on a non-linear editing system (NLE). The footage is reviewed, and the best performances from the actors are put together by the editor. Once all of the video editing is completed, the sound is mixed to make the audio levels even. Music and sound effects are finally added to the commercial. Once completed, the commercial is exported to videotape or hard drive, depending on the needs of the TV studio, and delivered.
Aaron Marquis is a University of Texas graduate with experience writing commercials and press releases for national advertising agencies as well as comedy television treatments/stories for FOX Studios and HBO. Marquis has been writing for over six years.