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Old April 7th, 2010, 05:12 AM   #1
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Picture in picture ideas for TV advert

Hi there

I don't normally do television commercials but have taken on a job to do one and have a dilemma. I edit in vegas so thought this might be a good place to put the thread.

Its a 30 second piece with 4 subjects each telling us something about the product. Lots of talking (Ive shaved lots off what they plan to say but still too much!) which is going to take up about 26 of the 29 seconds of audio we have (TV station needs half a second of silence at start and end).

I plan to do use a divided screen with talker taking up left half of screen and other half of screen divided into 2 frames for cut aways/text as well as next speaker in action before beginning to speak (will move and expand speaker to left when they start to speak)

My question is this...what do you think looks the slickest (or most professional)...pictures on black background (so black borders) or another color/style...or full framed speaker with speakers face to left of screen and two PIPs over right hand side of speakers frame with shadow borders to help them stand out?

Or another impressive looking way to use Picture in picture???

I know its often a question of taste etc but i basically have to have the ad ready for approval asap and have little time to correct stuff before final version is expected. If I can have something looking pretty smart to begin with, It might save some work!

Yes I know, I know, I should leave these kinds of jobs to the real professionals but I was keen to gain some more experience in working in a domain I usually dont have the opportunity to work in (I usually do educational resources/ short doco's etc).

Any thoughts or advice more than welcome (links to some examples too!)

Cheers

Jamie
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Old April 7th, 2010, 06:17 AM   #2
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hey Jamie, just an opinion here, but, I would def go for anything but a solid background.
Maybe some generated noise, Nothing too loud of course.
Or how bout a height map applied to one of your takes, as a background, this can look cool.
If you have AFX or Boris Red you can make each take appear as an extruded spline and have them fold in and /or roll away, or vice a versa.
Close your eyes and use the Force, lol, it'll come to you.
Put your own stamp on it.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 09:34 AM   #3
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I agree with Gerald... anything but plain black.

You can use the Noise texture generator for a simple background - the "fractal smooth" preset is a good starting point. Use a dark and light shade of the same colour (eg light blue and dark blue) so it is only a subtle pattern. Then use keyframes and the "progress" meter to give it some motion.

If you pay close attention, very few ad's on TV will use a solid colour background - there is almost always some kind of gradient or vignetting at the very minimum.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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Narrative, narrative, narrative.

What is being sold will determine the Design. Don't fit the product-narrative into the design. If you do, then that will look unpro . . .

I could argue Black. I could even argue White.

Grazie
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Old April 7th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.

I will have a play with some of the noise back grounds. Also have some other textures that might look ok if I play around with some compositing settings and get a blend. I like the idea of moving gradient too.

The height map idea is a bit new to me. Im not sure what we're talking about. I tried to have a look at a tutorial on utube but a bit fuzzy. I will investigate more!

Cheers

Jamie
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Old April 7th, 2010, 02:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Bernard View Post
Narrative, narrative, narrative.

What is being sold will determine the Design. Don't fit the product-narrative into the design. If you do, then that will look unpro . . .

I could argue Black. I could even argue White.

Grazie
Thanks Grazie

The product is a type of grass seed and the TVC is aimed specifically at farmers. A challenging scenario!!
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Old April 7th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Roberts View Post
Thanks Grazie

The product is a type of grass seed and the TVC is aimed specifically at farmers. A challenging scenario!!
To follow Grazie's lead here... how about the background being product. Could be seed, turf, or product packaging that's been defocused/blurred... then comes to sharp focus for closing title?
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Old April 8th, 2010, 02:42 PM   #8
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Fantastic Seth. Great idea.

Im on the shoot at moment (up around Albury - locations hours apart!) and will be editing Saturday. Im going to get the steadi-cam out and get some slow footage looking horizontally down over the lucerne. Im going to try slowing this down more in post with the logo over the top. I will see how this looks as a back ground.

Thanks heaps

Jamie
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Old April 8th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #9
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You're welcome.

Grazie said it first - design follows product, or, design follows goals, or, as actors are sometimes wont to say "what's my motivation for this shot?" The "motivation" principle applies just as much to graphics, even backgrounds.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 12:53 AM   #10
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Thanks Seth. Apologies I was out all day yesterday getting footage for a Chroma Key outfit and this is an important gig for me, and I need to be designing a piece for them that shows what can't be seen! Interesting scenario . . I'm getting there . .

And yes, you developed my train of thought very well Seth. And y'know, there is nothing more obvious than a piece that has been produced that flails about trying to make a point 'cos there are the tools and fxs and so on to do that. It's tantamount to somebody throwing all the transitions at a 200 photo sideshow - 'cos they can! Hate it . . . . !

Good, GREAT design is always about what is left out. When it is done with poise and precision it is very obvious. When it is NOT executed this way, it is even MORE obvious. Is this an argument for "crassness" throughout? No! When I want crassness I can call upon it. When it is out of control and at variance WITH the narrative then this is typical of a lack of creativity. When crassness IS called for it can be both hysterically funny (viz Monty Python) or shockingly, horrifically, tortuously stunning ("I just love the smell of Napalm in the morning!").

Narrative leads design. When it is the other way around then THAT would be emblematic of the example OF that process.

Bad design is when it doesn't work. My last 30 second ad I did for a cable channel took me the best part of 2 weeks to dig out. I started with loads of ideas and they spawned others and I spent the fortnight parring down and simplifying. It can be hard work. But that final moment of "YEs!" is soooo worthwhile.

We're privileged to work in a creative industry. Try harder and work smarter, yes, all those things. We have a public that deserves it. We are truly fortunate to be working in such a craft. And yes, we DO inform people's visual lexicon.

Apologies for the off-World meanderings, but having spent all my working life in the creative industries, we all have a responsibility to leave behind us some change for good - that, and "The Spanish Inqusition"!

YouTube - Monty Python - The Spanish Inquisition

Grazie

Last edited by Graham Bernard; April 10th, 2010 at 01:02 AM. Reason: Trying to make more sense with correct syntax, spelling and the Cardinals too!
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Old April 10th, 2010, 01:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Roberts View Post
The product is a type of grass seed and the TVC is aimed specifically at farmers. A challenging scenario!!
My first Idea, and looking closely at your location, it was a take on the American artist who spent so much of his life capturing the essence of the Great Corn Plains . . using that image and replacing it with some Aussie farming Icons - too funny? Could be good to instill some sense of upto-date-ness?

My next set of ideas were about a complexity of images that showed the gradually coming to full fruitfulness over a period of time - like what a wheat seed does. Running youngsters with smiling teeth, though the fields of swaying wheat, and getting closer to the font of all strength - "The Wheat Head!" It could loom real large over the ever so blue horizon with a strapline V/O of -

"Our Seeds Make Sense!" ( or whatever . . )

quickly running into a sound DJ scratch final shot to an Aussie farmsteader, all teeth and grizzly craggy standing next to fresh-faced farmer's wife with a broad smile proudly holding up "The Loaf" - "And makes damn fine bread too!" - then over black V/O " eh . .was that okay?"

. . I have other ideas . . .

Grazie
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Old April 10th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #12
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Huh! Just re-read! GRASS seed .. ok .. same thing substitute Cows for running youths and finish with "Makes Damn fine milk too!"

Always read the commission - thoroughly! (idiot!)

Grazie
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Old April 10th, 2010, 03:48 PM   #13
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Can I just speak from someone who frequently has to take storyboards for commercials to help find the right actors - i.e. the actors with the right "image" for the product and campaign. Yes I am a casting director.

With that in mind, I have just scanned through these posts and no one has mentioned the product or theme, corporate identity etc etc which I think is an essential consideration in planning your layout for the ad. e.g I would use a solid colour (maybe black) and not think of a general noise background if I were, say, doing a campaign for a slick hi-tech modern stylish product like a B&O hi-fi or even an iphone. on the otherhand if it was a trendy fashion item, service or product, then I might go for noise. Maybe use an image or secondary video if it were for a holiday company or cosmetic product etc.

Does that make sense? Help?
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