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How to Make Compelling Video Commercials for Products and Services

It used to be that producing visual content was difficult and expensive. It took the resources of a film studio and the hard work of dozens of professionals to bring a 30-second spot to life.


Fast forward several decades later, and everybody has the technology to create visual content themselves. Now the world is awash with millions upon millions of videos. Some become famous, others become infamous, but the vast majority get buried by the relentless avalanche of more content getting made every day.

It’s in this realm that modern advertisers must compete to grab the attention of the consumer. While access to mainstream platforms, like television and YouTube, gives advertisers an effective way to reach consumers, they still must contend with a surplus of visual media that diminishes the value of their product.

It comes down to this: how do you make compelling video content that stands out from the crowd? What’s more, how do you do so while remaining within the confines of the standard commercial structure?

The answer is simple: go back to the basics. Ultimately, commercials are like short films. If you make it like a short film, using cost-effective tools and techniques along the way, you’ll increase the odds of producing quality video content that successfully helps sell a product or service.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at five steps to take when trying to make compelling video commercials for products and services:

Write a script

It might seem silly to write a script for a commercial. But that’s what advertising agencies have been doing for decades. Writing a script for a commercial helps advertisers and content creators to stay on message. With less than a minute to get the point across, you’ll want to maximize the impact of every second of the video. By writing a script, you’ll end up with a reliable blueprint that streamlines the rest of the process.

Start with storyboarding

You’ve got a good script. It’s time to shoot, right? Wrong! Now’s the time to convert your script into a storyboard. A storyboard is like a comic book version of the script. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be an accomplished artist to create effective storyboards – you just need to be good enough that characters, props, and a general sense of framing and editing are conveyed in the images. Stick figures and labeled objects get the job done. While the storyboard is not final – you may decide to alter various things later – it establishes a “proof of concept” for the script in terms of its potential to be converted into an effective video advertisement.

Keep colors and lighting consistent

Now’s the time to shoot your video! In addition to the basics of setting up shots and getting your frame just right, you’ll also want to establish a consistent color scheme and lighting setup. Put your designer hat on and approach the image like you would graphic design; are the colors complimentary, the lighting balanced, and the frame complete? You only get one chance to shoot, so it’s imperative you get everything the way you want.

Use user-friendly editing software

Once filming is wrapped up, it’s time to take all those individual clips and edit them into place. Those with limited editing experience are encouraged to use all-in-one online video editor software. These editing tools are user-friendly and provide all the options you’ll need to edit and polish your video into the final cut.

Utilize cinematic editing techniques

As mentioned earlier, you’re basically tasked with making a short film, only instead of telling a story, you’re selling a product or service. As such, you want to utilize cinematic editing techniques as much as possible. For instance, time your cuts so that sound and video are broken up rather than constantly fitted together. In other words, if a character is talking, cut to a different shot while they’re still talking. Doing so gives the video a professional look and feel.

There’s no limit to what you can do with video these days other than budget and ability. For those tasked with creating compelling video commercials, it’s best to stick to the basics of filmmaking. If you write a script, map it out with storyboards, apply a cinematographer’s eye for color and light, and utilize professional editing techniques, you’ll be good to go each time.

Michael Driver is a freelance writer from Texas. When not writing to pay the bills, he loves covering topics related to history, movies, and sports. Michael can be reached at [email protected]