On the surface, this TV spot doesn’t look very complicated and it may not be for some people who do it all of the time professionally. But, when I first heard the concept myself, I didn’t think it would be very difficult until I started diving into all of the technical details

I was employed by iHeartRadio here in San Diego, California and I occasionally got to do a TV spot for the radio shows. There are seven radio stations within the San Diego market and this particular spot was for The DSC Show who is on 101.5 KGB-FM, a classic rock radio station that has been around since the 1970s.

The DSC Show combines news with a healthy dose of humor to create San Diego’s most dependably hilarious morning show.  Anybody who has grown up or lived in San Diego even for a short time has probably heard of them. They’ve been around almost 30 years and are still going strong. Members of the show are Dave Rickards, Cookie “Chainsaw” Randolph, Chris Boyer, Nina “Ruth 66” Reeba, Emily Maguire, Sarah Beebe, and they broadcast weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. 

Watch the finished TV spot below.

Here’s the details on the process of producing the television spot…

The DSC provided me with one of their favorite audio bits and told me their vision. To be honest, when I first heard the idea, I thought it was going to be annoying. But, once I heard the audio track, I had to admit that the woman’s laugh was contagious and I probably still laughed at least the first twenty or so times I listened to it while producing the tv commercial.

The TV Spot Concept

The idea was to capture a person in their morning commute listening to the radio show. So, that meant there had to be traffic and look like it was in the morning. I’m not exactly Tarantino where I have access to all of these luxuries on cue in a fancy movie studio. So, I had to figure it out without a Hollywood budget.

This is the original raw video footage.

The TV Spot Execution

The first and probably most challenging obstacle was just getting the shot when it wasn’t raining. I never thought rain would be an obstacle in San Diego, but it was! We ended up shooting in the evening when the sun wasn’t shining directly through the windshield and creating too much contrast on the dashboard.

The next challenge was timing. I had to create a smooth zoom so it timed out to be about 25 seconds to align with the audio. The video was shot with a Sony HDR-AX2000 video camera and the zoom settings were set to as slow as possible. I thought I would just be able to drive around and capture footage, but I definitely needed some kind of gimbal or steady cam for every time we hit bumps.

Our solution was to sit at a stoplight in the turn lane with our hazards on so the camera wasn’t moving around. Fortunately, it wasn’t a super busy intersection and we didn’t create any obstacles, but I couldn’t get the traffic to time right. Where’s traffic when you need it? I ended up sitting in the back seat with a tripod barking orders at poor DJ Happee who was our lovely hand model driver.

Moving On To Post-Production

After three different attempts on different occasions, I finally got some footage I could work with. Even though I had a pretty steady hand and it was on a tripod, the footage was still shakey and I had to use the warp stabilizer tool in Adobe Premiere to make it smooth.

I then noticed that there was a SIRIUS radio logo that I had to remove. That might not be good since they are a direct competitor. Doh! What’s that logo doing there anyway?

radio logo to remove for tv spot
radio logo to remove for tv spot

I had used motion tracking in After Effects before, but it didn’t work very well in this situation. I created a little graphic in Photoshop to cover the logo up and had to hand keyframe it all. That was fun! Because the light changes in the video, I had to keyframe the brightness and contrast of the graphic cover up so it blended in.

radio cover up for tv spot

Next, I created the graphic to cover up the radio screen in Adobe Photoshop. There were a lot of lighting challenges on the existing footage and we wanted to change the text anyway. You never notice how much dust is on something until you zoom in on it with a video camera!

I thought I would be able to use the motion tracking for this too, but no such luck. I ended up hand keyframing it all Adobe After Effects as well.

The end slide was made in Adobe Photoshop which I imported and aligned in Premiere.

After creating the graphics and aligning them all, I added a fast warming effect in Adobe Premiere and made an RGB s-curve with a filter to help give it a little more contrast. I also wanted to give it a little bit of flair and added a light leak video over it all and set the layer mode to soft light and transparency to about 50%.

I forgot to mention that the video was shot in my car. Do you think I will be able to sell it like “as seen on TV” and bump up the value a little? ?

The TV spot aired on Cox TV in San Diego, California.

Here it is again just in case you can’t wait to watch it another time.

We actually put together another TV commercial prior to this one, but it got denied.

This video was so much easier to produce because I shot just a high-resolution photo that I could zoom in on and modify in Photoshop. If you can get away with it, this is the much easier solution! But, the easiest solution isn’t always the best.

If you read this far, wow! Thanks for checking out this post! I appreciate it. ?

If you need any video production help, drop me a line!

See my reviews for Video Production in San Diego, California.