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Old March 16th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #1
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Shooting Commercial with HPX170. Need Advice

I am looking to get some advice on shooting a commercial with my HPX170. This is my first commercial so I was thinking I would post on the forums to get some advice and use the thread as a means to ask questions that may come up once I begin shooting. The commercial is for a local Honda motorcycle, four wheeler, dirt bike, etc. dealer and for the most part will be in store footage. I was told that there is a lot of guidelines/requirements to film anyone riding a motorcycle and the person hiring me would rather just keep it simple and focus on the store. Please feel free to post about your own experiences and lessons you've learned while filming commercials because this is my first time and I want to make this as painless as possible. My experience with film is mostly script based short films so I am used to shooting dialogue and action, not parked motorcycles. I don't want this to be another boring local T.V. ad where the owners demand that their kid, cousin, niece be in the commercial, I can't stand that!! I was looking to purchase a cheaper $400-$500 crane that I could use to make the camera movements a little more interesting than just Tripod shots. Any suggestions on reasonable camera cranes that fall within my price range? I will be commenting on this thread a lot within the next few days updating it with more questions as they arise. I'm looking forward to reading about some of your experiences!

My first major question is what format to shoot in? Based off what I read in the book that comes with the camera 720/60P is the "standard" for all broadcast. Is this correct?
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Old March 16th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #2
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You really need to check with the TV stations/cable companies that you will be sending your completed spot to (this is IMPERATIVE!) My guess is that they wouldn't be able to handle anything but standard def - usually delivered on DV or Betacam SP tape - sometimes you can deliver the file on a data DVD - but you need to check with them, first.

Also, depending on how particular the stations/cable companies are, you'll need to watch your video and color levels in post. I know some people choose to ignore this part of video Q.C. and I've seen some get away with it. I find it best to keep everything "legal" and avoid having the station or cable company complaining to your client because you screwed up on the basics.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Robert Viator View Post
I am looking to get some advice on shooting a commercial with my HPX170. This is my first commercial so I was thinking I would post on the forums to get some advice and use the thread as a means to ask questions that may come up once I begin shooting. The commercial is for a local Honda motorcycle, four wheeler, dirt bike, etc. dealer and for the most part will be in store footage. I was told that there is a lot of guidelines/requirements to film anyone riding a motorcycle and the person hiring me would rather just keep it simple and focus on the store. Please feel free to post about your own experiences and lessons you've learned while filming commercials because this is my first time and I want to make this as painless as possible. My experience with film is mostly script based short films so I am used to shooting dialogue and action, not parked motorcycles. I don't want this to be another boring local T.V. ad where the owners demand that their kid, cousin, niece be in the commercial, I can't stand that!! I was looking to purchase a cheaper $400-$500 crane that I could use to make the camera movements a little more interesting than just Tripod shots. Any suggestions on reasonable camera cranes that fall within my price range? I will be commenting on this thread a lot within the next few days updating it with more questions as they arise. I'm looking forward to reading about some of your experiences!

My first major question is what format to shoot in? Based off what I read in the book that comes with the camera 720/60P is the "standard" for all broadcast. Is this correct?

If you find a crane for $500 let me know.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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You will need to follow your local TV broadcaster spec guidelines.
Just an FYI, most local broadcasters do not air local commercials in HD.

Also, you will need to visit the Honda website for your disclaimer information and logos.
Your dealer may have to give you a password.

And if this is a Co-Op spot, you will need to get the copy approved by Honda before you even think about shooting a spot.

Good Luck!
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Old March 17th, 2009, 04:57 PM   #5
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There's an 8' Kessler Crane for $499.95.

Kessler CraneŽ - Quality Professional Camera Cranes, Camera Jib & Camera Support Products - Home
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Old March 18th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #6
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Thanks Bill! I am definitely considering purchasing that crane! I need to find out if my current tripod/head can support the weight of it all or if I would need to purchase the tripod system they sell as well. I wonder if I would just be better of upgrading my tripod set up all together instead of buying the one they sell.

If the T.V. stations won't want a commercial in H.D. all that means is I would just have to render out the footage not in HD but still shoot it all in HD.... right?
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Old March 18th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #7
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If the T.V. stations won't want a commercial in H.D. all that means is I would just have to render out the footage not in HD but still shoot it all in HD.... right?
Yes,.. that's right. Edit in HD and send them the downconverted version. Make sure it is colour corrected and in broadcast specs or it will be rejected and come back to you. Just make a new SD sequence and drag the HD sequence into it. Render it out and you now have a SD timeline to export from. If you export the HD sequence out to SD it will look awful.
What you are undertaking as a first commercial is not easy and you will need to get everything right. I have tried a few editors in my business that have real troubles creating a TV commercial. They have the skills at creating videos but cant seem to get the gist of having to create something that must be exactly 30 seconds. I just find it easier to do it myself rather than hire anyone.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #8
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Congrats and good luck

First, check with the cable companies network operations to see how they accept edited, approved spots. Some require Beta, dvcpro, DV, or even a compressed MPEG.

I often edit my spots on HD, create a stylized letterbox for the SD downconvert that includes
location info an website/phone if they desire it.

Also, be sure to leave 10 to 15 frames of emtpy audio at the head as some older insertion systems often chop that off with tone for the inserters. So 29:20 is a good bet for eveything to make it to air.

Good luck!
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Old March 28th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #9
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I shoot commercials for local Honda dealers (and other makes), and I can tell you that Honda's guidelines are among the strictest I've come across. If the dealership hopes to have the spot co-opted (Honda pays for some of the advertising bill), you have to follow Honda's guidelines to the letter. They will request a script (with all the graphics, audio and video clearly written out) and final copy of the spot. If the dealership sells other brands of bikes, and this is for a Honda co-op, DO NOT show any video of another maker's product, or even their logos. That includes the exterior shot of the building. Make sure you know Honda's policy on how often you need to display their logo. I also produced a Yamaha co-op commercial, and they required their logo be seen 100% of the time.

I know you want to be really creative with the spot, but remember, your client is more interested in generating walk-in traffic. He doesn't have the luxury of instant brand identification, like Budweiser beer, so he wants to put out as much info as he can in 30 seconds for his potential customers. Your client will have final say in the product, so cater to their needs - if the owner wants his nephew in the spot, then by god, that's what he gets. If the spot generates business, they'll come back to you for future work. Being creative is nice, but getting paid is even better.

Oh, and you probably will have to deliver in SD. I shoot in HD all the time, but usually deliver in SD.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Viator View Post
This is my first commercial so I was thinking I would post on the forums to get some advice and use the thread as a means to ask questions that may come up once I begin shooting.
Please feel free to post about your own experiences and lessons you've learned while filming commercials because this is my first time and I want to make this as painless as possible. My experience with film is mostly script based short films so I am used to shooting dialogue and action, not parked motorcycles.
Hi Robert
By your own admission your better to leave this TVC to those that do them every day, they can be a road to an early grave, stick to what you know.
A client of mine took a "film" cameraman on a commercial shoot because I was booked at another gig over the shoot period, He didn't understand the medium and a Bad / costly shoot was the result.

Cheers
Tom K
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Old March 30th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #11
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Hi Robert
By your own admission your better to leave this TVC to those that do them every day, they can be a road to an early grave, stick to what you know.
A client of mine took a "film" cameraman on a commercial shoot because I was booked at another gig over the shoot period, He didn't understand the medium and a Bad / costly shoot was the result.

Cheers
Tom K
I tend to agree Tom. They dont seem to understand that the TVC is there to make money for the client. I shoot them everyday and that's our job, to make money for the client. I had many years in the sales industry before this business.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #12
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Hi Dennis,

Perth, Nice, hows the ecomony over there , we hear some tales of woe in the mining industry that will have serious flow on effects through the community later this year.

cheers
Tom K
in Sunny n Dry Vic.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #13
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Hi Dennis,

Perth, Nice, hows the ecomony over there , we hear some tales of woe in the mining industry that will have serious flow on effects through the community later this year.

cheers
Tom K
in Sunny n Dry Vic.
Hi Tom,
To be honest that may be right but most of us dont even know we have a mining industry. Like most people I certainly didn't get anything from the boom and don't notice a downturn here yet either. I have never been so busy. Working 18 hour days 7 days a week for a year.
I know this work will keep going for me at least anyway. At this moment I have 18 television commercials to shoot for example. Am trying to do one a day and I don't employ anyone. Things are good.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 05:04 AM   #14
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Hi Dennis,
when I get "Too Busy" I get in some help to ease the load and keep clients serviced or I pass the work to some other industry colleagues. life's too short to just churn out "sausage adds" and wake up one day and it's all behind us.
TVC'a are more in demand in hard economic times than in good times i've found, clients get lax when things go well and they panic and advertise when times are harder.

Take care

Tom k
olinevideo.com.au
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Old April 1st, 2009, 05:48 AM   #15
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Hi Dennis,
when I get "Too Busy" I get in some help to ease the load and keep clients serviced or I pass the work to some other industry colleagues. life's too short to just churn out "sausage adds" and wake up one day and it's all behind us.
TVC'a are more in demand in hard economic times than in good times i've found, clients get lax when things go well and they panic and advertise when times are harder.

Take care

Tom k
olinevideo.com.au
Hi Tom,
Thing is we have a labor Government in power now and we have to get it while we can.
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