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How To Make a Commercial

It used to be that only large companies could afford professional commercials and marketing campaigns. With their deep pockets, they keep large advertising agencies (think Mad Men!) on retainer, and spend small fortunes for a single campaign.


In today’s market, ANY business is capable of having a professional, high quality commercial. 5Gear Studios has helped many companies working within a wide range of budgets to create polished and professional commercials and promotional videos.

With today’s technology you don’t need to empty the bank account to produce professional engaging videos, you just need the right team! Here at 5Gear Studios, our creative and production teams have designed, constructed and executed countless productions both small and large for tv, web and everything in between! Think it’s too big a task for your company? Think again, you just need 5Gear in your corner.


If you are planning a commercial spot for TV, there are a number of guidelines and conditions set out by the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the CRTC and other regulatory bodies which must be met in order to be approved for network airtime. Some of the conditions are simple, such as each spot must be exactly 15, 30 or 60 seconds, but there are a number of complex conditions that may need to be met also. Certain components such as closed captioning and bilingual accessibility may be necessary to incorporate into your commercial. Commercials to appear on Canadian TV first needs to be approved by the Telecaster Services of ThinkTv. On behalf of the network broadcast members, ThinkTv reviews commercials to ensure they comply with Telecaster’s member-approved guidelines.

Once approved, the commercial will receive a Telecaster Number, signifying to the various networks that all requisite clearances have been obtained and that the commercial adheres to Telecaster guidelines. Sounds complex? Don’t worry, 5Gear can help you or handle all aspects of this process!


Commercials and promotional videos made for the web have different, and often more relaxed guidelines.


It is imperative that you either know and understand which rules and guidelines apply to your commercial whether for TV or web, or that you partner with a team that does. 5Gear has in depth knowledge and experience in getting your commercial cleared for air.


To submit your commercial for approval, you must first plan it in detail and finally make it! Here’s a break down on the basic elements of putting together a commercial or your next promotional video:


Ideation - The process of coming up with the initial idea, storyline and concept. This is the building block that the rest of the production is based on. If creative brainstorming isn’t your team’s strong suit, 5Gear Studios has a highly experienced team in creating and developing original and exciting concepts.


Script - This is the heart of the production, and a key guideline during production. It outlines each scene, and all dialogue. The script has been carefully crafted prior to production, and a Script Supervisor on set will help ensure that nothing in the script is overlooked and provide key production notes for the editing team.


Shot List - Along with the script and schedule, these are the critical documents on shooting day. A shot list describes in detail each scene being shot, and how it is to be shot.

It maps out exactly what will occur and what will be used in each particular shot for the scene. It also describes the technical specifics for each shot, from the movement of the camera and which lens to use, to where the actors and props are to be located. A shot list saves you time and money by making your production day the most efficient and effective it can be. It serves as a detailed checklist that gives the video a sense of direction and prepares the crew for film expectations.


Storyboards - A storyboard acts as the table of contents for the production. It gives you a step by step overview of the whole video. Each scene is broken down, and in a similar format to a comic book, each scene is represented with a single still photo and description. By creating storyboards in advance, this helps visualize the video prior to production and ensures the message clearly comes across and no important details are missing.


Schedule - This is one of the most important documents on shooting day. A schedule guides the day and keeps the production moving in a timely manner to ensure each scene gets appropriate time to be filmed and you don’t run out of time. Scenes are often shot out of order for the convenience of the set’s location, and the schedule will outline which scenes are being shot when.


Actors - Professional actors ensure a smooth a production with their experience memorizing and delivering lines with emotion to portray the desired scene. To save costs, you may wish to use your own people. When using non-professional actors, always ensure to schedule additional time for each scene as they tend to require extra attempts to get the perfect take.


Location - Depending on your concept, you may want to shoot your commercial or promotional video on location or in a studio. If your video is meant to depict your company and it’s culture, shooting in your offices may be the best idea. This will show a true image of your business, as well as being budget friendly. If your offices are not the desired look for the video, the appropriate location may need to be scouted and secured. Permits may be necessary to obtain in order to film at your desired location, especially if it is outdoors or on city property. Whether you have a location in mind or need some help, 5Gear has professional location scouters to assist in finding the perfect location or studio for your project.


Don’t hesitate to contact 5Gear for your commercial or promotional video no matter what budget you’re working with! We specialize in working WITH you to create the perfect video for your company’s message and budget :)

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