Advertisements vary greatly in quality. It’s just as difficult to photograph a bottle of water as it is a famous actor dancing the night away in a crowded nightclub. However, understanding how to create a vehicle commercial is possibly the greatest difficulty of any commercial genre.
An automobile commercial is similar to other types of commercials in many respects. We’ve got a director, a cinematographer, a camera crew, grips, and a lighting crew, just like any other film crew, with one major exception: our subject is an automobile. Vehicle speed and precision driving demand expert skill.
Controlled pandemonium best describes the morning of filming a car commercial. The camera is being installed in the camera car, car prep is repositioning vehicles, the motorhome is finding a parking spot, the VTR is setting up the video van, and the 1st AD, police, and drivers are reviewing the day’s schedule.
Shooting A Moving Target
How Making a car commercial involves staying on top of the pandemonium and keeping all the teams going in the right direction. Making a good car commercial depends on the success or failure of the challenging challenge of shooting a moving target, or “running footage” as it’s known in the industry. Consequently, there are a few factors you’ll need to understand to acquire the ideal photo of a moving car.
Acquaint Yourself With the Landscape
Someone is filming car commercials anywhere you can drive a car. When thinking about how to construct a vehicle commercial, the location is one of the most crucial considerations. However, it is no easy undertaking to acquire a location and the necessary permits to film there lawfully.
A Location Scout is the First Step
One that takes into account the many factors specific to filming an automobile commercial. Unless you’re making commercials for cars that are barely two seconds long, finding a lovely length of road that only looks fantastic from one aspect is not sufficient.
Instead, a site for making vehicle commercials should be visually appealing from nearly every angle. Finding a location that can handle a large commercial crew is difficult because a camera vehicle, trailer, and numerous car haulers can each require up to 33 metres of clearance.
In addition, the director, producer, and advertising agency may have specific requests for the automobile commercial scout to find. Some examples of these are:
- State of the pavement
- The Size and Quantity of Lanes
- Bike lanes and bus stops
- Situations during peak hour traffic
- Crossroads and parking lots
- Park safely in the shade of a telephone pole.
- Protection from the elements for aerial vehicles
But that’s only the beginning. Once a site has been selected, the next step is to acquire the necessary permissions.
Get Your Permits in Order
A significant element of learning how to shoot a vehicle advertisement is knowing how to get permissions in advance. The production firm will often call and hold locations before a job has even been granted. Particularly difficult to plan for are urban centres.
Permission to film in a major city may take as much as 30 days’ notice because production companies often need to close down entire streets (or at least slow them down). Since ads need to be shot quickly, this is usually not viable. But the production company’s chances of having the location approved by local officials improve with the more advanced notice they can give.
While production firms would ideally close down an entire street, this is usually not practicable. Intermittent Traffic Control (ITC) is used instead, where police temporarily halt traffic for a production. Only when the road is closed can filming take place for this project. The practice is continued until the cops clear the road and the production is ready for another take.
Get the Appropriate Crew Together
Knowing how to construct a vehicle commercial requires the same attention to detail as any other production. Producers, camera operators, assistant directors, grips, etc., are all essential members of any commercial crew, and car commercials are no exception. However, when a commercial for a car is being shot, many of these roles take on a slightly different appearance.
When making a vehicle commercial, the camera car is where the action happens. There are several other iterations of the camera automobile, including a customised Porsche Cayenne, Toyota Tundra, Mercedes, and even a boat. There aren’t many similarities across camera cars, though. In-car cameras:
- Fasten a sophisticated robotic camera arm to the top of the building.
- Are quick Have room for the essential group
- Incredibly awesome visuals
Your camera car crew is now inside the vehicle. There is a director, a director of photography, a crane operator, and a first assistant camera, thus in some ways they are similar to a conventional film team.
Every member of the camera car crew, including the driver, must perform the duties of a standard camera crew while traveling at sixty miles per hour. When learning how to shoot a vehicle commercial, this is the single most crucial consideration. The ripple effect of the speeding automobile.
Getting the perfect photo of a moving car is a complex and potentially dangerous dance of choreography. Each adjustment to the crane alters the automobile’s balance, and each spin of the car changes the angle at which the photo is taken. Imagine trying to tail someone on the motorway while holding a 22KG camera suspended from a 5 m crane above your vehicle. Not so simple.
The Art Department
Commercials for motor vehicles require a specialised art department. Simple tasks like renting a tree or bush to cover unsightly street signs or sweeping a muddy pavement are part of their job description.
Prep The Car For The Shoot
The photo cars, or commercial vehicles, are managed by car prep. The process of preparing vehicles for assembly is handled independently from the rest of the manufacturing process. They get the vehicles to the scene, maintain them clean, change the tires and wheels, and even remove the seats so that a camera can be placed inside. How to shoot a vehicle commercial successfully relies heavily on a skilled car setup team.
When filming a commercial for an automobile, the police play a crucial part in keeping the area safe. The police ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers by maintaining order. There may be as many as six police officers on motorcycles or in cars waiting to stop traffic for a speeding car in Cape Town.
The police can also act as a shuttle service for the team, guiding them through congested areas and facilitating their travel between different shoot locations.
The 1st A.D.’s primary role is to act as a go-between for the various departments on set. However, the title of this piece is “How to Make a Car Commercial.” The 1st A.D. must coordinate with the local authorities to clear the area of any people or other vehicles before shooting a commercial for an automobile. Before anyone on a commercial set may call “roll camera,” the 1st A.D. has to get the “all clear” from each police officer and the Key 2nd A.D.
Production assistants on a vehicle commercial are also responsible for something called “lockups.” Even one car pulling out of a driveway onto a busy metropolitan street is a recipe for disaster. Nobody ever said that learning to shoot an ad for a car would be completely safe.
A police force cannot “lock up” every driveway and parking lot entry along the route to ensure the safety of the public. This is not up for discussion. When it comes to making vehicle commercials, safety is paramount.
Acquire Some Familiarity With Cars
Having some familiarity with automobiles and how they function is helpful when shooting commercials for them, though you generally won’t need to know what a spark plug is. If you don’t get your vehicle ready and your cameras set up, your competition will talk over your head. It will be difficult to convey the director’s vision to the crew if, for example, you don’t know the difference between a tire and a wheel.
As a bonus, being auto-savvy will allow you to spot any issues before they arise. Use of an off-road vehicle in a film. You need to be aware of the clearance. Need to drive a car through a brook? Check that the air intake valve won’t get wet. Want to learn the ins and outs of producing a vehicle commercial? Put your skills as a commercial filmmaker to use on the open road with moving cars.
Produce The Ultimate Car Commercial
A vehicle ad shoot is unlike any other commercial shoot. However, the same abilities that make you succeed in any production shoot will serve you well here. You can make a commercial that sells cars and looks great if you plan, organise the shoot, and hire the proper people.