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4 TV Advert Production Myths

Simon Orpin, Managing Director of Operations, Getmemedia.com
By Simon Orpin  //  Tue 7th February 2012

There are some myths that need dispelling and lessons to be learnt from TV production that can make previously unacheivable TV advertising ideas now possible.

The Myths: Some oft heard cost issues that bar commercial production and the alternatives.
  1. "It has to be shot on 35mm film" - Not any more. These days, more and more content is being shot on high quality, high definition digital cameras such as the Alexa, Red and Sony F3 which are far less costly to film with and now allow the use of the same lenses that used to be the sole domain of a 35mm camera. The cost benefits also extend into editing and post production, both in terms of money and time. Many music videos are now shot on a Canon 5D which looks like a stills camera but produces high end production quality content at a fraction of the cost of film.
  2.  "It has to be the right (ie a certain) director" - this is often the right name rather than the right price. Big name directors are brilliant at what they do but their price is commensurate. However there is a huge pool of talent out there, both up and coming and from the world of broadcast television, that are highly skilled and cost effective without necessarily having a huge reel of previous work but hungry to direct quality ads that can become their own calling card.
  3. "It will take some time to produce" - and time is, after all, money. This may be time to source the right location, hire the right team and even time to shoot. TV productions don't have the luxury of time or money that commercial shoots often demand yet still deliver programming with only a short number of weeks to write, pre-produce and shoot a series of 6 to 8 half hour shows under tighter budget constraints and shorter lead times.
  4. "You can't tell a story in 30 seconds if your skill is telling a story in 30 minutes and vice versa" - not the case anymore either. In TV, the production team still need to shoot title sequences which describe and tell the story of the show in 30 seconds. Additionally, if your genre of programming is comedy, the content will be a series of short sketches which are short form stories in their own way.
Now of course there are reasons in some cases where a 60 second commercial may cost the same to produce as a 60 minute high end drama but it no longer needs to be the general rule of thumb and valid to all cases. The answer may lie in adopting more TV production disciplines to commercial work, disciplines that have to operate within tight budgets and timelines, yet still needing to produce stunning, impactful content.

Some of these production companies contain a range of the skill sets and assets required to create and produce under one roof which can amultise costs. There is no such thing as a minimum entry cost any more, just new ways to join the 'as seen on TV' band of advertisers.
Cost effective TV advert production, Simon Orpin gertmemedia.com
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