Posts Tagged ‘commercial’

Have a Specific Plan for Video B-Roll

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

A few years ago I came across this mock infomercial called “We Got That B-roll.” Anyone who works in video production, or who is familiar with the industry, will find the video humorous. It takes aim at the generic, overused, and sometimes unoriginal b-roll clips that fill up so many documentaries, commercials, and news stories. B-roll is an extremely important part of telling a story on film or video.

  • It provides the viewer with context.
  • It helps to explain concepts and ideas.
  • It offers up visual variety.
  • It holds an audience’s interest.



Despite its importance to the production, it’s amazing to me how so many people are willing to rush through the process of capturing b-roll. Shooting b-roll can’t become an afterthought. It needs to be an integral part of the shooting day. Here are a few things that need to happen to ensure that you capture great b-roll for your next project.

  • Work it into the schedule. Give yourself and your production crew enough time in the day to set up, light, and shoot b-roll. The last thing you want is to rush around during the last hour of the day, trying to cross all the items off of your shot list. And that leads me into my next point…
  • Create a shot list for your b-roll. Don’t wait until you get to the location to try and figure out exactly what you want to shoot for your b-roll. You will end up with a lot of footage that just won’t fit into your story. And that leads me into my final point…
  • Make your b-roll relevant. Don’t just shoot the building because you think the architecture looks cool. B-roll should compliment and enhance the subject of your story. It should relate to what’s being said, either by those on camera, or the narrator.



B-roll can become a very stale and unoriginal aspect to a video, if not thought out properly. Or, it can be a visually striking element to the production and round out the story like nothing else. Its success or failure depends on how much attention to detail you give to the process during pre-production and production.

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Shorter Videos Aren’t Cheaper

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Let’s imagine that you are currently accepting proposals from various video production companies on two different video projects. Each video is to last ninety seconds. Let’s suppose that Video #1 is a promotional video for a yearly two-day conference and seminar that your company sponsors. And let’s suppose that Video #2 is a promotional video for a specific product or service that your company offers. Sounds pretty straight-forward. Each video will last only ninety seconds. Each video will highlight your company. Each video will be used on your website.

So why is it that the budget estimate for Video #2  is five times greater than the budget estimate for Video #1? Since each video lasts the same amount of time, they should cost the same amount of money, right? Actually, the final running time of a video has very little impact on the budget.* To find out why Video #2 will cost more to produce than Video #1, you have to look at what’s involved in each project. Let’s suppose that in the case of Video #1 (the promotional video for the two-day annual conference) you already have all of the footage from last year’s conference. You simply want to re-purpose that footage into a video that promotes next year’s conference. So, all you need from the video production company is post-production services. You will even provide a script from which to structure the video.

In the case of Video #2, let’s assume that everything will have to be created from scratch. You need the video producer and/or director to come in, meet with you and your team, see the product or service, develop a concept, write a script, and provide all production and post-production services, which includes a two-day shoot on location with a full camera crew.

In these brief descriptions of each project, it’s apparent that Video #2 is a much more involved project than Video #1. Therefore, the budgets for each will be different, although the final running time for each video is the same. Think of it this way: most television commercials last thirty seconds. But, would you say that the commercial for your local furniture store cost the same amount of money as the commercial for Coca-Cola that aired during the Super Bowl? Each spot may last thirty seconds, but each one will have vastly different budgets.

*We’ve discussed the topic of budgeting before on this blog; how one video’s budget is not like the others, how to get the most accurate bid from a video production company, how to go through the budgeting process with your video production company, and several others. You can type the word “budget” to search our archives for articles pertaining to budgeting.

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We Do Radio Too

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
A physician performs a routine checkup on a pa...

Image via Wikipedia

Although we specialize in video production and website design, every so often we have the opportunity to branch out into other media as well. Take, for example, this case study from last year:

Southeast Urgent Care is a small, family medical clinic in Fultondale, AL. They approached us to see if we could work with them to write and produce a thirty-second radio commercial to advertise their grand opening on July 12, 2010. We had less than two weeks to conceptualize, write, produce, and deliver two radio spots to meet their deadline. Southeast Urgent Care prides itself on respecting the time of each patient, so we wrote a script focused on the idea that Dr. Paul Roberts doesn’t want the patient in his waiting room. He wants each patient back in the exam room as quickly as possible. A professional talent introduces the spot, followed by Dr. Roberts who provides information about the grand opening.

Click the link below to listen to the spot.

Waiting Room Expert_Grand Opening

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CommuteSmart TV Commercial – Carpool

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I posted a case study on the new CommuteSmart TV commercials we produced last month. I embedded one of the commercials in that particular post. The entire project consisted of three commercials – two thirty-second spots and one ten-second spot. Here is the other thirty-second commercial that focuses on carpooling.

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Darth Vader Volkswagen Commercial

Friday, February 4th, 2011

It’s not even Super Bowl Sunday yet, and this commercial from Volkswagen has already earned over 5 million views on YouTube. It’s become an instant hit. As I’ve written before, no one can predict that something will go viral, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind when producing online video to help make your content more watchable and shareable. There are several things I like about this Darth Vader spot:

  1. Iconic Imagery – Everyone, whether a Star Wars fan or not, will recognize Darth Vader
  2. Cultural Significance – The Star Wars franchise is ingrained into our culture. When we hear that music or see that mask, we instantly pay attention
  3. Hyper-Relevance – Even if you aren’t a parent, you understand that children love to dress up and pretend. It’s fun to watch, and to see this kid walk around the house, trying to invoke the Force is incredibly entertaining. Plus, you know you tried to do the same thing when you were little. Heck, I sometimes still pretend that I can use the Force when elevator doors or sliding doors at the grocery store open by themselves.

I would love to hear if you like this commercial. Leave your opinions in the comments section.

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