The art of a great TV commercial

We recently had the privilege of creating a 60-second TV commercial for Audi of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC. Not to toot our own horn, but we’re pretty proud of how it looks, and, most importantly, the client is thrilled.  We wanted to take you behind the scenes, to the work that went into creating this spot.

The aim was to accurately represent the city of Charlotte, known as the “Queen City.”  A focus was put on showcasing some of Charlotte’s best attributes, with a tone and atmosphere to match.

As with any good video, there’s a lot of work that went into producing the commercial. Pre-planning included scouting talent, deciding which vehicles should be shown, and determining the best routes through the city and to avoid traffic.

“The hardest part of the shoot was not knowing the city and where the different landmarks are, as well as parking and traffic,” Joe Mole, our in-house Video Production Manager, said. “As a cinematographer, you want to experiment to come up with the best shots – but because we had to shoot it all in a half a day, there was no time for experimenting.”

Joe and Coley O’Donnell, Video Producer, put their best foot forward, capturing shots quickly – over 300 total in the half-day shoot.  Given the task of capturing two actors in three different cars at multiple locations throughout a large city, Joe and Coley knew that meticulous coordination was necessary to complete the shoot in a timely manner.

“Even smaller details, like how to keep the heat from impacting your shot too much or where cars should be parked while they aren’t being used, have to be planned,” Coley said.

In fact, Coley went to Charlotte the night before in order to capture drone footage of the city and dealership with the best possible lighting. “It was about three hours of shoot time the night before everyone else arrived,” he said.

Despite having so many moving parts – including traveling talent, and moving thousands of dollars of video production equipment throughout an unknown city – the shoot went smoothly, with some clear favorite scenes from both producers.

“My favorite shot is the aerial skyline shot of Charlotte. I just think it looks cool and is a good overall view of the city,” Coley said.

“Mine is of the queen statue where the sun is behind the crown,” Joe added. “What makes both shots stand out is how they provide a perspective you can’t normally have.”

Once back in their editing suites, Coley and Joe mined through 300+ pieces of footage from all angles, applying slight modifications to the best ones such as color correction and lighting touch-ups for a consistent look throughout. Add in plenty of time to properly sync voiceovers, music, and assorted final touches, and the finished product ended up a hit:

“What made this spot great was how everything came together:  the script, voice over, music, filming, color correcting, editing, and a client who understood what it takes for a great production,” Joe said. “We always want to give the client the best production within their budget, and the budget often determines how far we can go in making it look as great as this one does. That’s why we are experts at executing a plan with perfection and efficiency!”

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