Posts filed under ‘TV Commercial’

#1 Creepiest Commercial of 2009

Number One

Do you have a favorite creepy commercial?  Let me hear from you.  This proves my saying – you have to watch a lot of bad TV to see a “good” commercial.



January 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

Keep Your Audio In-Sync!

today_show_beyonce_nyrd108I once had a film cameraman tell me that sync was not important only to get a call later to fix his production.  That was many years ago when audio was recorded on a medium called magnetic tape or film.  Remember?  Now it’s all digital. I really thought that digital audio would resolve issues but now there are a few more details to consider.

Digital audio is recording in slices or audio samples regular time intervals. This is called the sampling rate.  The standard for recording digital audio for picture is 48 thousand times per second or 48K.  The 48K rate is used because it is mathematically compatible to picture formats. If  there is a variance in the audio sampling rate then the sound can drift in relation to the picture and create chaos in the editing room. Even minor drifts can create problems. Basically there will be more or too little audio for a given scene. I am pretty sensitive to this and I see one or two TV commercials weekly with bad lip sync. 

 SteveFoyHere are some common causes of drifting audio:

  1. The recording was made at the wrong sample rate, not at 48K sample rate.
  2. Multiple cameras and audio recorders and no external master sync source.
  3. No time code is used.
  4. Delay induced by a digital console without external sync.
  5. A mistake in the editing room.
  6. An unexpected equipment failure.

We all know things go wrong so some proper planning and redundancy may save the day.  Always test your setup before recording the final product. Digital recording does not mean good recording.  I have had to fix many digital recordings that were noisy or distorted.  After you do a test recording make sure your location sound man listens to what is being recorded in headphones and listens to the recording of each scene after a take.

If problems do arise, the drift may be resolved by adjusting the playback to match the picture in an audio post house or editing room.  Some productions require frame accurate recording and this adjustment is not acceptable if there is budget to re-shoot the scenes. Happy shooting and may the sync be with you.

December 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm 2 comments

Are TV Commercials Too Loud?

loud Why is the volume of TV commercials so much greater than the program? I get this question all the time.  Would you be surprised if I said there is no difference, they are the same volume.  With audio there is a difference between loudness and volume.  Although the volume is the same, the apparent loudness is not the same. How and why?

Broadcasters have specifications that set the volume limit to a value below digital zero, below the digital maximum (-10db below 0). Volume is measurable and it is the same because broadcasters and cable channels require the peak audio volume of both commercials and programs not to exceed this level. In a commercials the volume is near the limit more often than during the program material. Commercials stay close to the maximum volume from beginning to end.  This is done with audio processors that maintain a higher average volume level – so it sounds louder than the movie or TV show.  So what can you do about it?

7848t Here is a device that regulates the apparent loudness – a TV volume regulator to the rescue. The problem is caused by technology – so why not defeat it with technology! I have not tried the device, but I am willing to try it if they send me one. Personally I’m not buying one.  I make commercials and marketers want consumers to pay attention when the commercials come on. Besides the intermission reminds me to stretch.



October 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief ~ part 5 (the power of a story)

image We are told that every picture tells a story and they are worth thousands of words. However, looking at images alone can make us feel rather than think.  Think about it, the printed word is primarily processed in the left side of the brain along with logic and linear thinking. While images are primarily processed in the right imagehemisphere of the brain. When you see an image the brain processes it all at once. Describe the same picture and it is described in a linear process, word by word.

Some researchers believe that too much TV can make your brain lazy. Does TV make you hyper? dumb? lazy? distracted? What was the question? We love images, especially moving images, kind of like we love sugar. Sugar is enticing, tasty and eating it is a great sensual experience. But too much sugar is bad for your body, just like too many images without other input can remap and restructure your brain to think differently. There is a difference in the manner that electronic media saturated generations perceive the world compared to generations or people groups not exposed to to it. We must reach our image saturated culture with stories to satisfy the right brain preference people have today. Stories are well received by readers and non-readers.

Like it or not we are affected by the forces of our digital age. Stories echo with greater intensity than ever before. A friend of mine recently went to Africa to bring clean water to areas in Sudan. Most of the people he visited did not read or have TV but communicated with stories. They even had the ability to repeat a detailed story after heating it one time. Perhaps more messages can be communicated in story-form to bridge generational gaps and people groups. Stories could be an effective method of teaching. It’s really a blast from the past because pre-medieval people taught their history through stories. Several savvy marketing companies have already realized the power of stores and I predict we will see more messages communicated in this manner in the future.

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps


July 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief ~ part 3

I came home from work the other day and my wife told me how our cat had gotten so excited. She plays a game with our cat Ringo – he knows to look out the French doors if she says “look at the squirrels” or “look at the birds”. Well a bird came right up to the window and they watched for many minutes. The bird had become enamored with his own reflection in the glass. It took him a long time before he realized that it was not another bird. The bird did finally understand it was a reflection. We need to see image things for what they really are – to see the difference between the message and the media.

The Greek mythological story of Peruses and Medusa offers a solution.  If you were like me you watched the Sinbad movies as a kid you know this story. Medusa was horrifying monster in the land. Everyone that gazed upon Medusa was turned to stone. But Peruses uses his shield. He watched her reflection in his shield, the gaze had no effect and he is able to cut off Medusa’s head.

Both this tale and the story of Narcissus use media, a low tech mirror to receive the message of a reflection. Peruses understood that the mirror medium was a reflection but Narcissus did not. In the same way if we fail to realize the difference between the message and the media, things can take on god-like characteristics and we might become their servants.

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps

… to be continued


June 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief


I usually get around to discussing media with people I meet. Some think today’s technology filled media is evil. Media is neither good or bad.  It’s neutral, like plumbing in a house that  doesn’t matter unless it springs a leak.

In 19th century England there was a people group called the Luddites. They destroyed machines used to make wool and cotton fabric. They thought the machines were of the devil. But in truth they were protesting the dehumanizing  advances of technology in the industrial revolution. It wasn’t the machines that created horrible working conditions and poor wages – it was people.

imageToday in America we have the Amish, who maintain a equally radical, but less violent rejection of technology. They prohibit automobiles and electricity based on their theology. I must admit that after watching the 1985 movie “Witness”, there is a part of me that finds their lifestyle appealing.

In the first matrix movie – Neo, the main character, gets and answer to a question that is bothering him: “What is the Matrix?” Morpheus the prophetic guide has Neo in a secret room. Neo anxiously awaits the answer. But something averts his attention – to his right is a cracked mirror which reflects a fractured image of himself. As Neo looks into the mirror the cracks begin to recede and blend together, making the mirror whole. Now Neo’s reflection is no longer fractured and this surprises him. I believe the mirror imagerepresents a foreshadowing of the coming clarity that Neo is about to get about the technology that has imprisoned him.

Neo now studies the mirror rather than his reflection. He reaches out and touches it, but at the point of contact it bends and bows like liquid mercury and then snaps around his finger tips. He recoils but a portion of the medium stays on his fingers and then quickly multiples until it begins to consume him. Immediately the film cuts to Neo trapped in an incubation pod, struggling to escape. From here he is “born” into the real world and the story turns into a new direction.

The mirror is a metaphor for the technological world of the matrix. The mirror at first appears harmless but then suddenly takes on a life of it’s own. When Neo studied the medium of the mirror, instead of being distracted by his reflection he was freed from the prison of his mind; it is only when he observes the medium apart from it’s content that he perceives true power. With that discovery he is freed from his numbness and slumber. So are we!

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps

… to be continued


June 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

Top Spot of the Week ~ VW Touran

This commercial breaks all language barriers!
Agency: Agence V, Paris
Creative Director: Christian Vince
Creative Team: Romain Guillon, Pierre Riess
Agency Producer: Corinne Persch
Copy Writer: Pierre Riess
Art director: Romain Guillon
Production Company: Nexus Productions / Les Telecreateurs
Director: Woof Wan-Bau
Executive Producers: Charlotte Bavasso, Christopher O’Reilly / Erinn Lotthe Guillon
Producer: Isobel Conroy
Project Lead: Ben Cowell
Animation: Nexus
Compositing: The End
Director of Photography: Sebastian Milaszewski
Editor: Paul Hardcastle @ Trim Editing
Post Production / Grade: The End
Sound Design: Gary @ 750MPH

June 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

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