Producing a commercial for television at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 16th, 2010, 04:03 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Producing a commercial for television

I met today with the president of a chain of restaurants here in Quebec, Canada, who wants a 30-second commercial spot for television. He has a very clear idea what he wants and he obviously knows a little bit about this, as he proposed up front removing the front glass panels on his refrigerated counters to avoid reflections. He wants a straightforward presentation of the food, no scripted scenes, with a female voice-over. We should be in and out in less than 4 hours if everything goes smoothly.

He called me because he said a local broadcaster charges "too much" for the production aspect and is looking for a cheaper (albeit not cheap) alternative. I've done corporate but no thirty-second spots before and I don't want to charge more than is customary (or so low that he won't take me seriously).

What is an approximate rate for a thirty-second commercial spot produced with a three-man crew? I'll add separately the cost of the voice-over actress, equipment rental (if any) and transfer costs, depending on what the broadcaster wants.

Thanks.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sussex, UK
Posts: 317
A few ramblings thrown together in no particular order.

I would allow for a couple of days shooting, if your renting in gear you may need an extra day to get used to the gear, you might also have to go back for pickups.

All depends on the budget, not always easy to get but handy if you can. If this is going to be a good piece for your portfolio and a stepping stone for potential clients then you can afford to do this on a small budget.

It's the thought process and the hours and hours of research we spend before we even pickup the camera thats hard to cost, I always call that bit 'cake'. Do a rough costing and add cake for all the creative background stuff.

Goto the location and takes lots of still from every angle, not the suns direction and available light, as this will effect your budget if you are hiring lamps.

Crew, if it's just runners then allow 180 - 380 depending on days & preproduction meetings.

Motion graphics, logos supplied in vector format or will you have to redraw, screen graphics, titles this could eat up a morning or a day.

If there's no talent involved apart from the VO then this will save a lot of time on the Pre-production screen sessions and alike. When you do get the VO back you will probably need to recut to fit your 'new cut'. Are you writing the script for the VO?

If you are only recording incidental sound on the shoot this will save on having a sound guy or extra pressure on you. What about the background music costs. Cheap these days but still should allow a couple of hundred.

Will you be suppling a story board / shooting plan prior to shooting? You could just use stills and copy for this. I know you he didn't want a script but you need some sort of plan.

When look at the voice, you may have to include studio costs for them to lay down their tack, although a lot of artists will have their own setups and email you the VO. You would need to supply them an online, web viewable cut of the TVC with a burnt in timecode for reference.
They charge by the word so get a draft script for them to cost. Allow around 300.

I would allow for 2/3 days postproduction, although there might be many client amends so pencil in another day for this. It will take half a day to output the file to broadcast specs in a format of their choice. If they need this in SD then they might go with an IMX codec. 1,500

If he will use this on Viral advertising then you need to allow for costs for file conversion. Even if its just going on YouTube if will need maintaining.

You will need the broadcast specs from the station, they will supply a pdf or direct you to a online page with details.
These will have to be followed, things like safe colours / audio levels / freeze frames / clocks should all be covered.
The station will get you to liaise with their technical department if you have any problems. They will reject the TVC if you do not follow their specification. They may allow you to upload via FTP, this would be handy for you.

You can download a simple free clock online from http://idustrialrevolution.com.


Add about a third onto what you were thinking, if you can.

On this one if its a first or you need it then I would charge around 2,500-3,000 (Sterling). If he argues this he may give away his budget and its up to you how much you want the job. Don't go under the budget go over.

Good Luck.

James
James Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Thanks James.

The four-hour shoot is non-negotiable, he wants to do it in the morning before opening while he has all the refrigerated and hot counters filled with food. It's a make-it or break-it condition, so I'm planning everything within that framework. 3-4 lights (its inside a mall, no daylight), no tracks for the dolly, every shot planned beforehand, no sound (foley or sound banks in post). If anything goes wrong, I'll save the next day for pick-ups.

I will figure in all the itemized costs for rentals, actors, etc. I just wanted a global figure that people charge for a three-man, four-hour shoot and adjust accordingly. This is a very well-known chain of fast-food restaurants, so I am definitely ready to do it at cost for the exposure (although I'm not telling him that). I just don't want to bid too low.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 37
I have done many restaurant commercials. One thing I always tell clients is " if you can't afford to shoot food right, don't do it!"

I always spend at least a day on table top photography for food clients.

You can see the results at my website.

Lizardlandvideo.com
Phoenix video production
Paul Hudson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:32 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hudson View Post
One thing I always tell clients is " if you can't afford to shoot food right, don't do it!"
He won't. That was made clear. The conditions I presented are non-negotiable. Yes, I know it usually takes at least a day.

EDIT: I will propose, however, doing two 4-hour shoots on separate days. Great if we get everything we need the first day, but at least we won't have the clock breathing down our necks.

I would like advice on pricing, however. Thanks.

J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sussex, UK
Posts: 317
It might be only for 4 hrs but *15 years experience! (*or what ever).
Ok 'just' the shooting for 3 man, say 1 camera, 2 runners/grip for 4 hrs 580 (sterling). 2 Camera 800.
James Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
It might be only for 4 hrs but *15 years experience! (*or what ever).
Ok 'just' the shooting for 3 man, say 1 camera, 2 runners/grip for 4 hrs 580 (sterling). 2 Camera 800.
Thanks James. We all know the story about Picasso's napkin. :-)

I'll add the associated costs to this and bid accordingly. If his budget is too low, or I feel that I can't do it in the conditions/time allotted, I'll just pass.

J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sussex, UK
Posts: 317
On a quick side note. I once missed a placement of a blonde lamp that was too near a massive shop type window (coffee shop, french door style, double glazed). I only noticed because the glass had warped and distorted the view.

I made an excuse, had a quick chat with the director and called a wrap for the day, I quickly moved the light and made no reference to the distorted panel. When I arrive back early the next morning the glass was perfect and flat, much to our relief. The client was unaware.
That won't happen again.
James Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sussex, UK
Posts: 317
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Thanks James. We all know the story about Picasso's napkin. :-)

J.
Yeah I know, but some clients always forget!

Good luck on the bid.
James Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hudson View Post
I have done many restaurant commercials.
Paul, I posted in the "Taking care of business" forum about rights for commercials. Do you renounce all rights when you cash the cheque, or do you negotiate extra fees for additional territories or the client modifying the ad after you've completed the project (such as a different voice-over language)? Does the client own the ad completely?


J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
Yeah I know, but some clients always forget!

Good luck on the bid.
Thanks. the goal is to get enough exposure in commercial (as opposed to event or corporate) productions not to deal with nickle-and-dime stuff like this anymore and bank on my reputation to dictate the parameters for shooting, instead of having the client do it.

In this case, having the name of this restaurant in my portfolio is going to rank me right up there with the majors, which is why I'm so accomodating.

J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 11:07 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 277
If getting the job means that much, I'd factor the costs of paying your help, paying any expenses (rental, travel, whatever), and then throw in enough to cover your personal time, and call that a quote!
Bryan Cantwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Cantwell View Post
If getting the job means that much, I'd factor the costs of paying your help, paying any expenses (rental, travel, whatever), and then throw in enough to cover your personal time, and call that a quote!
I guess that's what it boils down to.

I have other considerations, also. Because this is a commercial production (as opposed to a low-budget short film), I don't get to claim "independent production" status with all the breaks that entails. If I go union, I have to go all the way. I would hate not to, if only for the voice actress who would forfeit royalties. I'll have to do two budgets and compare.

Do people with experience producing commercials here usually go union or not?

J.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 17th, 2010, 04:08 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,430
Making food look delicious and appetizing on screen is notoriously difficult. A specialized "food artist" is usually on set to prep and dress the food items. For example, if you shoot a nice juicy steak, it usually photographs too dark, and looks either too greasy or too dry. Green salads look dead and wilted on screen even if they're fresh. In many cases, the food isn't real. Ice cream melts way too fast to photograph, so they usually use frozen mashed potatoes instead. Do you know what kind of food you're shooting, and does it require a professional food prep artist to make it look delicious?
Warren Kawamoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 17th, 2010, 05:04 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sussex, UK
Posts: 317
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Making food look delicious and appetizing on screen is notoriously difficult. A specialized "food artist" is usually on set to prep and dress the food items. For example, if you shoot a nice juicy steak, it usually photographs too dark, and looks either too greasy or too dry. Green salads look dead and wilted on screen even if they're fresh. In many cases, the food isn't real. Ice cream melts way too fast to photograph, so they usually use frozen mashed potatoes instead. Do you know what kind of food you're shooting, and does it require a professional food prep artist to make it look delicious?
Here's a quick photo from a Hellman's Mayonnaise advert, the burger is about 15years old. Doesn't look to bad.
Attached Thumbnails
Producing a commercial for television-photo.jpg  
James Miller is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:46 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network