When we create a television commercial every aspect of final product is worked out. Starting with a concept, we develop a script. What’s going to serve the message? What’s the mood? The call to action? We create a world for each commercial that has to feel consistent and serve the message. From the script we draw up a storyboard with a frame for every separate shot in the commercial. This is our film-making template. All of the people involved, Cinematographer, Gaffer, lighting crew, art director, casting director, location scout now have a reference for what we’re after. The more we can pre-visualize each shot the smoother the shoot will go. Then the planning begins. With the storyboard, we know approximately how long each shot will take to execute so we can generate an accurate schedule and book the necessary crew. We hold casting sessions to get the right talent, getting them to perform the script to the our satisfaction. The shoot is a military operation with every contingency prepared for with the ability to improvise for events unforseen. Every detail of the location is planned for, right down to where the crew and talent get their food and water (craft services).
Weather is monitored in the days leading up to the shoot to ensure outdoor locations aren’t negatively affected. Because we work with a team of anywhere from 5 to 30 people, on the shoot day everything must go as planned as hiring everyone for an additional day throws the budget out the window. It’s a bit like pouring cement, it’s an expensive do-over. Shooting is not just about the performances of the actors, it’s also about the photography, every frame is a painting and that means choosing lenses and lighting it to perfection to help realize the world we’re creating. Once the shoot is completed and the footage is “in the can”, then the fun begins. The editor begins viewing all the takes making notes on which part of which takes are the best and the cutting begins. If the budget allows, a music composer will write music to match the scene’s emotional and rhythmic feel. Once a rough cut is approved final finishing begins. Sound design is a crucial part of the overall world being created so dialogue, sound effects and music are and mixed to support the feel and the message. Final graphics are designed and animated and composited. Each shot is color-corrected to not only match each other shot but also to enhance the overall mood of the spot.