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Advertising Videos: Here’s How To Make Them

Commercials: a decades-long history

The commercials have a date of birth: February 3, 1957, the beginning of advertising on Italian television. Arrived only a few years ago, this new medium soon became an effective link between companies, sellers and a vast public fascinated by the new medium. Advertising videos, therefore, have always been a fundamental means of communication and marketing.

In this article I will explain how an advertising video is made and I will reveal the work behind those few seconds of commercials, which you see in the interval of a film or a TV series: in this way you too will know what is needed. Do to create an advertising video.

From the Carousel to YouTube: the evolution of the advertising video

w that I’ve given you a quick smattering of the history and evolution of commercials, let me tell you how to make a commercial video.

The steps to create an advertising video

For this article, I will pretend that you are a videomaker who has been asked to create an advertising film video production for a company or brand. If you are really new to the industry and are trying to figure out how best to move to make a commercial, so much the better. Basically, there are three stages behind creating an advertisement, each one important to the result.

The phases in question are:

  • Ideation
  • Production
  • Post production

Creating an advertising video: the ideation

Even the advertising video, like practically every other audiovisual and non-audiovisual product, needs an ideation phase. The first step to take, in the specific case of advertising, is to sit down at a table with the client, the company that wants to make the commercial, to understand what their needs are, the message they want to convey, the product they want. Advertise and above all the target they want to reach.

Drawing a little from semiotics – Greimas, specifically – in each advertising video there are at least six elements (which are called “actants”). They are: subject, object, helper, opponent, sender and recipient. Let’s take the case of an Amplifon advertising video: in the commercial, the elderly person (the subject) wants to hear us better (the object) and therefore uses a device (the helper) to combat deafness (the opponent). The recipient of this message is Amplifon itself, while the recipient is not a general public, but a specific target audience: in this case, elderly people with hearing problems. As you can see, behind every commercial there is make your advertising video.

Once you have clear what the advertising video you are making will have to talk about, it is time to choose the best type of commercial based on the customer’s needs: this means having to design an advertising video that has an emotional storytelling, or a more sterile but effective tutorial or having to use animated graphics to explain concepts or offers. The type of commercial depends a lot on what you are trying to sell and communicate.

We then move on to writing the subject of the advertising video, a brief but precise explanation of what we will show and tell. If approved, then you can proceed with the drafting of the screenplay : doing it with the right format is essential to help the production understand the duration of the commercial and the technical times to make it, as well as writing down everything you need to available during production.

At this stage you may have to mediate a lot with the customer and his observations, but always remember to be essential and precise in what you want to show and above all to create an advertising video in line with the target you want to intercept.

Now that your video ad has been approved by the client, you can enter the production phase

Creating a commercial: production

The production of a video advertisement begins by “counting the script”: Once approved by the customer, in fact, this is analyzed and it is drawn up the list of the locations, the actors / extras and props (props) needed to implement of the spot. Depending on the size of your crew, you may find yourself having to do most of the work yourself, or decide to pay someone to take care of the various aspects.

The search for locations is essential for two reasons: having a clear idea of ​​where the advertising video will be shot will help the production to create the storyboard and technical script of the commercial to be shot. The storyboard is the graphic representation, in the form of sequences, of what is contained in the script: through the storyboard, what is called the technical script can be drawn up, that is, a version of the script in which the shot to be made is reported.

This aspect is connected to the second reason why it is important, when making an advertising video, to find the locations immediately: created storyboards and technical scripts of the shots (also indicating the type of lens to use and any camera movements), the one who he will take care of photography and spot lighting, he will be able to create his own lighting plan.

All this is essential to arrive at the shooting day of the advertising video knowing with absolute precision what there is to do and how, thus limiting the waste of time to a minimum, which immediately translates into a greater economic outlay.

Have you prepared everything for your advertising video? Did you find the actors, the locations, and the crew? Has the big day of filming arrived? Then know that all the preparation work is put to the test right on the day of shooting the commercial.

When you shoot advertising video, also organize well on the set: always arrange the equipment in an orderly manner in a special space and when you change sets (for example if you are shooting in several spaces of the same company) do not leave anything behind thinking “then I’ll take it. “ Order is essential in order not to waste time and waste energy. He coordinates the departments well so that they know exactly what they have to do at all times and, above all, the timing of the scene, of the set and in general of the entire shooting day.

Take into account that a bit of a delay is always normal: it may take a while to get off to a good start, set up the camera, warm up the actor and generally oil the gears of the crew well. When organizing the timing of filming, always take this aspect into account and, in case, plan slightly longer times than necessary, instead of being optimistic and assigning too little time to the individual scenes of the advertising video.

If everything went well at the end of the day you will have the footage of your commercial: immediately download the material from the memory cards, immediately create a copy (directly from the cards and not from the material already downloaded – to avoid duplicating any errors due to material transfer), then free the set. A little rest and then immediately in the editing room for the post-production phase

Creating an advertising video: post-production

You have almost finished all the steps to create advertising video: it was written, approved by the client, shot and now it is “only” edited. What may seem like a bowing phase, however, can hide several pitfalls.

When you are at work to edit a commercial), do not be afraid to modify something that was foreseen by the script: what works on paper, does not necessarily do the same once. Created the sequence of the spot. The editing, in fact, can give a different perspective  of a scene, which can thus render it better.

One of the sacred rules of editing an advertising video is to get the first 10 seconds right. This, in fact, is the average time in which the public is involved or not by what they are watching. Therefore, it is essential to use the first three to four cuts to capture the attention of the audience: use music and a rhythm that adapt well to the tone of the video and you will succeed in this delicate undertaking.

Furthermore, if the marketing objective of the client, who requested the advertising video , is not only brand-awareness (i.e. the awareness by the public of the existence of that brand), but also an attempt to convert and call -to-action , then it is essential to pay the utmost attention even to the very last seconds of the video: this “call to action” – whether it is bringing people to the website, social pages or pushing them to call to ask for a quote – must be prepared and well positioned so as to interest and intrigue the user so as to entice him to do something after seeing your advertising video .

Let’s be clear: when it comes to making an advertising video, it will be very difficult for the client not to request changes to the version of the commercial you are completing. If the requests are exaggerated or even impossible to do, try to keep calm and remember: it’s not their job but their advertising video! The customer perspective can be very helpful in improving the effectiveness of the video and the way the product is communicated. In any case, it is advisable during the estimate phase to provide for a maximum limit of changes, to avoid dragging the assembly and post-production phase – and, consequently, the balance of the invoice – for endless months.

Once the commercial has been delivered, your experience of creating an advertising video can be considered concluded.

Creating a commercial: the conclusions

We have reached the end of this guide on how to create an advertising video. I hope I have given you an exhaustive explanation of all the steps behind a few seconds of commercials. The study of the product in terms of marketing is fundamental for identifying the target and the right approach to the commercial that is being created. Likewise, it is important to organize yourself well before shooting and therefore have patience and a fresh mind during the editing phase. It doesn’t matter the format or the duration: whether you need to create a 10 second emotional advertising video for a YouTube ad or a lengthy tutorial – – on using an industrial machine, if you follow these steps you will facilitate the life and production of the commercial. 

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