Saturday, December 20, 2008

Color-graded TVC campaign with snazzy text on a corporate video budget? It's possible!

Recently completed the post-production on a series of 3 x 30s TVCs for a local polytechnic's recruitment drive. As with most projects, this one had its share of constraints.

First, we were working with a tight timeline, from being awarded the project to delivery, as the client had already bought the media and had a firm deadline. Plus, the open house was in January 2009, so in order to maximize the reach of the TVCs, they had brought forward the air dates.

Secondly, we were producing a set of three TVCs but we were working on more of a corporate video than a full-blown advertising budget.

Thirdly, right in the middle of production, an unfortunate news/current affairs incident occurred [not related to this production and no, not the financial debacle], which hit us closer than we had imagined.

Nevertheless, we soldiered on and I'm pretty happy with how all three TVCs turned out, since we really put out so as to give the client a solid product.

It started off on the right foot as the client picked our favorite concept, of the three pitched to them. This was the bolder, more creative and more conceptual one.

With a short pre-production period, we had quite a few props to prep. This included getting our hands on a photogenic goldfish, which I'm happy to report has been successfully adopted by the client, having survived the harsh hours and conditions of production! We weren't quite sure it would make it...

To our client's credit, they managed to provide photogenic and lively talents with character within a tight timeline as well. Since this series of TVCs is quite stylish, this certainly helped a lot.

The assembly cut was made pretty quickly, since the shots were storyboarded and they were snappy pieces cut to a snappy beat. We did have to drop a few shots and move some shots around but that didn't affect the general feel of the TVCs.

In order make the TVCs stand out even more, we pulled out all stops and threw in some more goodies. We got our motion graphics artist to do up a set of playful, dynamic fonts. Then, it was my turn to give the shots an extra 'oomph' through grading.

I had to make sure we had enough lead time to color grade every single shot. I'm by no means a colorist but the Magic Bullet Editors Look Suite certainly helped provide quite a few jumping points. After doing a primary grading with FCP's 3-way Color Corrector [crushing the blacks a little and making sure the whites are within limits], I was able to treat each shot with a different look and texture.

In fact, I was already grading the shots before we presented the final cut to the client because we were cutting it close to the deadline. Thankfully for all involved, with only a few minor tweaks, the TVCs were good to go.

Due to budgetary and time constraints, I don't usually have the luxury of color grading every video that goes out. It does make so much difference though. The ability to really fine tune the colors and cuts [down to the frame] is making me enjoy editing TVCs, especially after a spell of longer corporate videos. Not to mention the chance to work entirely with professionally-shot footage, as opposed to *cough* 'archival' *cough* footage.

The first delivery [in DVD format] of the 3 TVCs [6 in total, since there are 2 versions of the end slates] has already been made to the media owners of the plasma TV screens in McDonald's islandwide. It's slated to run for 3 weeks and I'm tempted to just go sit in a McD's to see how things look on their screens. The last time we delivered a TVC to be shown at DBS banks, I was quite appalled when they vertically stretched my 16:9 video, when I had supplied them with a 4:3 AND 16:9 version!

Next delivery for the TVCs would be on DigiBeta and headed for TV Mobile. I'm not a fan of TV Mobile and my usual commute doesn't involve me coming in contact with it... but as usual, I'd like to see how things turn out on there as well.

Haven't uploaded the TVCs to our YouTube page yet, since we shouldn't be stealing the thunder from our client's campaign ;]