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Old June 2nd, 2014, 07:51 AM   #1
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First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Tried posting this in a more appropriate forum section, but nobody is biting.

Wedding videographer venturing into commercial work here.

What do I need to know? The company have given me a very brief brief. They probably don't know much about what they are doing either. They gave me an example of what they want - here it is.


They want two actors, which I think they are going to source rather than me.

Is there anything I need to be aware of technically that wouldn't matter for my usual wedding work for internet and DVD. Frame rates, resolution etc?

I think most TV in UK is still 720p. Am I wrong? Does that mean i deliver 720? or do the TV people downscale it?

Next up - I'd like to bring in another guy, a friend of mine, just so we can share opinions on how to make things happen. Can you give me some ideas for what 'title' I could put on him for invoicing purposes. The company will no doubt question the need for a second guy - I may need to sell it.

What would be a typical cost for the above linked commercial assuming it was aired on TV?

Sorry for all the questions, Hopefully some of you can help me out!
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 08:25 AM   #2
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Get releases from the actors even if they are willing to be in the commercial.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Your going to need to output to 1080i 25 frames.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 10:14 AM   #4
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

You need to get the technical delivery requirements in writing.

The only commercials I've been involved with wanted everything as ProRes 422 HQ (captured as 4:2:2, not 4:2:0 then put in a 4:2:2 wrapper). They took the ProRes file and worked on the rest from there for actual transmission. They said they'd previously tried to submit something recorded in 4:2:0 (AVCHD) and it had been rejected.

Costs for commercials - honestly it really varies because often the production cost can be a drop in the ocean compared to the transmission costs, depending on when it's going to be viewed. National advertising can be £40K or more per spot (each time it's shown) at peak times on main channels, but regional advertising on secondary channels at midnight can be as little as a few hundred.

Actors need model releases (professional actors know this already) - and really need to be good at what they do. If the company tries to skimp and use in-house people you may spend more time coaching them on what you want - which increases production time, quite possibly decreases production value (they never quite look as natural) and is a major PITA to deal with. Trust me, I've been there.

Professional Voice overs also need quoting based on usage. A 30 second spot on a web site is usually not the same cost as a 30 second spot on national TV, so get those quotes also.

In terms of titles, make up what you want. Director, Production Assistant, Story Board Editor etc etc.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Thanks so much guys. All very helpful.

My local station came back to me and simply said 'quicktime format' and minimum 720.

I figured this was too little info on this. SO I pushed here, and she is refering the quey to more technical colleagues.

Dave, you mention 4:2:2. A friend told me that Canon DSLR only records 4:2:0 and that I would need to record to an Atamos. Then my other friend said that I can't do that on my 6D because it doesn't have a clean hdmi out.

I'm feeling like I'm way over my head.

If it meant hiring or borrowing gear - what should I shoot on?
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 01:28 PM   #6
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Well, the bad news is that some cameras only output 4:2:0 over HDMI too (even though it's in a 4:2:2 wrapper).

It may be that your requirements are not 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 are ok - if so you'll be good to go.

Let us know what they come back with. They may be quite happy with 4:2:0 AVCHD sourced footage which should make things easy for you.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

I know some commercials on UTV have been shot with DSLR (or least proposed that they were and some certainly look like they were), although most are shot with higher end cameras. Commercials tend to have reasonable lighting rigs because the product is the star and the actors need to look good and aspiring.

All the paperwork needs to be in place and you need production insurance.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 04:37 PM   #8
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
My local station came back to me and simply said 'quicktime format' and minimum 720.
I work at television station and I can tell you that we require our commercials to be 1280 x 1080 and as long as we get that Full HD version we can run the commercial in our encoder and it creates a playable file to air. Some of my commercials are shoot on my 6D, edited in Premiere and After Effects all in 24p.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 05:03 PM   #9
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

When looking at the example they showed you definitely need a crane for a lot of the movements.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 05:22 PM   #10
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
I'm feeling like I'm way over my head.
Prepare as good as you can and just make the jump, I was hired by an advertising agency a few years back to shoot a short commercial for a company that manufactured pasteurised eggs, they did all the storyboarding and I was only hired for the shooting and editing. I had no experience whatsoever shooting something like this and I just hired the lights I thought I needed and we did the shoot at professional kitchen showroom at the headquarters of AEG. I worked alone and only had my Canon xh-a1 back then, I liked shooting it because all was well prepared so no surprises and I could follow a shotlist. They also hired the actor.

If you think you need a second person just calculate him in, don't let them press you to leave him out so they can save some money, if the end result is not what they expected you will be the one they will blame. Quote accordingly, if they are a bigger company then 600 or 700 dollar per day for one extra person is peanuts for them. Just hire all the gear you need according their specifications and add them in your quote.

Also, don't shoot with your 6D, for these kind of commercials you"ll want a camera that can shoot moire and aliasing free, hire a 5dIII.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 03:35 AM   #11
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Thanks guys.

Brian - cheers for the local info, UTV is who I've contacted and was surprised that they gave me so little technical requirements. Hopefully I'll get more out of them after pressing them.

On the colour - I have to confess to being clueless. Is TV incapable of broadcasting 4:2:0? Or is it just that it would look bad? I should go read up I think!

I'm encouraged by Jeremy on the notion that stations can run most files through their encoder.

hopefully UTV tells me similar!
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 07:49 AM   #12
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

The problem with DSLRs is amount of compression they use, if you've got the budget, there is now a range of cameras in the next tier which will do a better job. UTV have transmitted some rough looking commercials.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
On the colour - I have to confess to being clueless. Is TV incapable of broadcasting 4:2:0? Or is it just that it would look bad? I should go read up I think!
TV can broadcast almost anything as long as the playout system can read it. Most will remember the video shot on a phone of Concorde taking off in flames just before crashing, or the footage shot by people in the street in war zones. Or perhaps those TV programs like you have been framed. None of those are 4:2:2 :)

Much of it is down to the standards set on a station by station or network by network basis, standards which can be broken if the time is right. The 5D2 was not an approved camera for BBC production, but the odd one has been approved on a case by case basis.

As long as it's all broadcast safe (which is down to your colour grading) then really they should have no problem with it - you just have to know it's going to be accepted before you turn up with the camera, lights, actors etc. Finding out later would be too late and rather expensive.

Worst case is hire a C100 + Ninja and you'll be good to go, but you may well get away with DSLR as long as you watch out for moiré and aliasing.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 08:59 AM   #14
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

You should bear in mind that it will be going along side the most expensive productions on TV. You pick the gear that's appropriate for the visual style of your commerical. If it's supposed to be glossy, you'll need to use the equipment that will give you a high class look, while if it's a home movie style you use what will give you that.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 10:53 AM   #15
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Re: First TV commercial - advice needed UK

I'm hoping to hire a C300 for £150 for one day.
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