5 Tips For Shooting Better Cinematic Commercials & Ads

Look no further, here are the 5 tips you need to shoot better cinematic commercials.

Create scroll-stopping, engaging, and purposeful videos for your business, for other people's businesses, and even start charging more for your work, increase your confidence on set, and all without buying any expensive camera gear!

Here are the 5 tips our team wants to share with you for shooting cinematic commercials.

5 Tips For Shooting Cinematic Commercials:

  1. You Need A Script
  2. Lighting Technique 
  3. Filming Multiple Angles 
  4. Switch Up Your Style
  5. Sound Design 

Tip Number 1: You Need A Script!

Your script is your map. This isn’t as sexy as talking about camera gear or fancy editing techniques, but if you plan on shooting a lot of commercials you are going to have to plan on learning some sort of scriptwriting!

Here is how we visualize the basic anatomy of a profitable commercial.

One of the biggest mistakes beginner filmmakers make is just showing up to a set and recording a whole bunch of random shots with no real structure involved.

This is fine, pretty videos are nice and all, but having a script will help you plan out your shots, and will provide you with the flow and progression you need in your vidoes.

Most importantly, potential clients and customers care more about the message than how the video looks.

YUP, at the end of the day a strong message talking about solving customers' problems, what unique benefits you offer, what desires do you fulfill, and how your offer is different from every other offer on the market will win every single day compared to just a pretty video. 

Having a well-thought-out script even if it's just 30 seconds of talking will help you create a commercial that well, actual is a commercial that helps bring in sales for your clients, generate brand awareness, or generates new leads. 

When you do this successfully for your clients they will continue to hire you! And you will have proof of concept to show potential new clients the results you helped generate for a business.

You’re no longer just a videographer, you're a valuable marketing asset that generates business like clockwork.

This is the biggest secret beginners don't realize.

Script and plan out your videos!

Why We Need Scripts:

  1. Serves as a map that helps us plan what to shoot 
  2. It will help your client get results (increase the odds of getting hired again) 
  3. Differentiate yourself and your work from others

Okay so it might sound intimidating to learn a whole new skill but we actually created an entire program to teach you just this powerful skill in only 1 day. Talk about a time saver.

We outline our entire process and formula for any commercial we shot whether it's a social media ad, website video, or even a commercial on TV.

Check out our 1 Day Script program if scriptwriting commercial videos is a skill set you are looking to develop. 

We walk you through our four-part writing process so you know everything about writing and storyboarding a script. 

Tip Number 2: Lighting!

Your lights should be your best friendsFocusing on lighting will improve your image ten times more than buying a better camera or a new lens will.

Okay..... new camera gear is fun and we will talk all about it, but not on this post! 

Lights. Camera. Action

Yeah, lights come first everyone just remembers that. 

One affordable light with a softbox can get the job done in most situations. You can always use other simple lamps, windows, or the sun to help provide fill light and backlight. 

If you are curious about some affordable lights and camera gear check out our recommended gear by clicking here!

One of our favorite budget-friendly lights is the Godox SL-60W. Affordable and does a fantastic job! It's the exact light Anothy used in the video above to shoot a commercial for a local gym!

2 Critical Tips For Lighting:

  1. We want our subject to pop in the frame and stand out as the primary subject while still looking natural. We want the light to seem natural like it could be coming from a window, lights in the room, or the sun for example. 

  2. Create a separation between the subject and the background and the more three-dimensional the scene will look which will increase the perceived quality of our image.

To accomplish both these tips, take your main light, the Key Light, and put it as close as you can to your subject, with it still being out of frame, and on the opposite side or forty-five-degree angle from your camera.  

Now we are filming on the shadow side of the subject, see the image below for an example of where to position your light and camera. 

Don't forget this, shoot from the shadow side. That's the key to beautiful videos or photos. 

Shooting from the shadow side’ is a term coined by Ted Grant – one of Canada’s most well-known photojournalists.

You’ll see this all throughout Hollywood films, 90% of shots come from the shadow side. Pay close attention next time you watch a movie.

They do this because it creates more depth and dimension in the image as opposed to a flatter look. 

You will typically have a flatter look when shooting from the same side as your light source

If your shadow side is a bit too dark and you are losing your subject, use a less powerful light position on the shadow side. This is called adding a fill light

One last tip if you don’t own any pro lights you can position your subject around already existing light sources accordingly. Windows, lamps, the sun for example. They are light sources we can manipulate. 

Tip Number 3: Film Multiple Takes! 

  1. Film Multiple Angles
  2. Cut On The Action

Filming multiple angles of the same action will help you a ton while editing. 

The idea behind this is to keep the pace of your edit fast and engaging. Really long drawn-out shots can lead to viewers clicking away in a heartbeat.

There is a time and place for longer shots but a majority of the time cutting between multiple angles is best. 

Always make it a point to shoot multiple distinctly different angles of your subject performing an action. Just like the image above and below. 

Cut on the action. When you have multiple takes cut to the next shot on the action. By cutting at the peak of action it almost masks the transition between shots. This makes the sequence feel seamless. 

Again this is something you'll start to notice in movies and other productions. 

Tip Number 4: Switch Up Your Style! 

Do you film your entire videos on a gimbal? Or using just one lens? Or an entire video all in the same frame rate?

Don’t be predictable, don't be boring!

Try going from wide and smooth with a gimbal - too tight and handheld giving a more intimate raw handheld feeling. 

Go from fast and close up at 24 fps to wide and slow at 60 fps. Switching between macro and micro shots. 

This diversity in shoots will give you more freedom in the editing process and with help, you create a more engaging video!

Tip Number 5: Sound Design

 Whether you're making a commercial, youtube video, or Hollywood film you NEED sound design. 

Take advantage of sound design. It will help give you even more control over the audience's experience.

Whether you actively notice it or not your subconscious brain is making the connections.

Our minds perceive the video as having significantly more depth and realism

Part of growing your craft is being willing to push yourself, challenge yourself, and build your skillset. Sound design is not something forget about. 

 3 Key Aspects Of Sound Design:

  1. Music
  2. Sounds Effects
  3. Voiceovers 

Sound design is always critical to your viewers — even if you’re not creating Hollywood movies backed by million-dollar budgets.

We Love to use Epidemic SoundMotion Array, Musicbed, Sound Stripe, Artlist, as well as freesound.org for sound effects and music!

Conclusion For Shooting Cinematic Commercials

So you can see all the tips had practically nothing to do with the camera gear itself! 

These are all tips you can implement into your videos right away with the camera or cellphone you already have! 

If you found these tips helpful we have tons more to offer in our program 14 Day Filmmaker which will help you accomplish all of your filmmaking goals 10x faster. 

We have a variety of online course the serve as a start to finsh guides to learn everything you need to shoot amazing videos, grow your business and more! Learn more about our courses here!

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