Things I learned shooting my first commercial.
  • Creating a 30 second commercial is not that easy because it is so short
  • At swim lessons I was sitting around doing nothing, most of the times I would bring my camera to practice. So I approached the swim instructor if she wanted a commercial done for her.
  • I did some research and found this commercial from Kellogg’s that I think only aired a few times at the last summer Olympics.
  • BTS of Kellogg’s commercial   looks like they removed (made it private) the BTS right after I published this video.
  • Guess that the Kellogg’s commercial costs $500k to $1million to make. 2 days of filming 8 hours a day.
  • I had like 15 minutes here and there and that was about it, so it was more of run and gun than anything else. They had tons of lights around the pool, I just used available light.
  • I even had only about three minutes for the voice over, it was done in just two takes.
  • You can see how they filled just a quarter of the stands and then duplicated them to fill it. They had access to underwater vehicles and long motorized cranes.
  • I wanted the visuals and the edit pacing to be very similar to the Kellogg’s spot but I wasn’t copying their story at all.
  • Thanks to the Basic Film Maker for all his tips
  • I really had a hard time coming up with the idea for the video. I met with the owner and I knew what message we wanted to convey which was, “We not only teach a lifelong skill, we pass on our passion for the sport.”
  • One message is not easy because you want to add more than that.
  • Thanks to my neighbor Miguel Hernandez who works for a local ad agency for helping me out. He taught me a few exercises to come up with ideas for the story, such as researching the keywords on different web sites to make think of the words differently for coming up with ideas. How “butterfly” and “wings” could go together. “I’m a butterfly win or lose I still feel like I am flying”.
  • I learned a lot about the edit pacing from the Kellogg’s video, it is really fast paced and how they sometimes repeated a part of the stroke on a push in, something I would have not known to try.
  • I am happiest about how the message and the story came out. The owner loves it.
  • I’m not so happy about some of the color in the images, it was hard to grade, I wish I had access to the lighting that Kellogg’s used, they had like 20 high powered lights around the pool, I wanted more contrast for my images but it was hard to do both in the water and out.


  • Dave that was an excellent commercial. I produce local TV ads and the biggest obstacle I encounter is the client when wants (demands) their logo, address, website and phone number plastered all over the screen. The fact that you were able the produce a clean looking commercial say a lot! Keep up the great work!

  • It’s quite evident that you really do enjoy sharing..and that’s also without holding anything back. Great commercial and greater the sharing of total process including inspiration, techniques, thought process and resources. Thanks

  • I can’t belived you copy the Kellogs Commerical so baddly, some layers should take care of you. Not only for copying other creatives work but. For doing it so badly, Sir if you don’t have enough creativity to create you own visuals please get a life a dedicate to something else.

  • Dave

    1 please edit out the stupid comment from “Tony” here. It is obvious he is trolling you or is just a complete tool. Allowing morons to post stupid comments just brings the overall vibe here down. Contructive critics are great but we don’t need post like his. These is a whole internet of slime out there for him to go play in. Let’s keep this wonderful place a bit more tidy, please.

    2 – I learned a lot. I am now headd full steam full- time away from stills and into video production. You are a large part of my inspiration -THANKS SO MUCH!!!

  • @Jeremy @Pradip @Alexandre @Shawn thanks guys I appreciate the nice comments.

    @Tony sorry to hear you think I copied it so badly. I learn a lot from studying others work very closely, so I don’t think I’ll be changing anytime soon. I do this exercise each time I create something I’ve never done before like a 30 second commercial. I do put myself out there for everyone one to see and I did ask what you think, so I don’t mind your comments about copying, but as for dedicating my life to something else, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.

  • Dave, very nice job emulating the Kelloggs commercial. Like @Jeremy above, I too produce local tv commercials and can’t get away from mucking up all the visuals with website URLs, disclaimer text and multiple sponsor logos at the request of clients.

    I, however love working in the 30 second timeframe because everything has to be so concise and allows me to work on a variety of topics which keeps me interested in my work.

    Your voiceover sounds pretty clean. Did you record that in the instructor’s office and did you use an external audio recorder?

  • @Harlen thanks! The voice over was done with the Rode Video Mic Pro directly into my 5D3, I did a bit of processing in Audition.

  • Can you talk about the gear you used underwater-specifically, what cameras, and waterproof housing(s)?

  • Dave,

    Your commercial is superior in every way to the Kellogg commercial. It is not over produced. It is much more sincere and honest. Most importantly, I believe that you achieved what the Kellogg commercial attempted to do, which is to move the viewer with true emotion.

    Your talent was even superior.

    Stop making excuses and revel in the success of this new work.

    Did the client like the commercial?



  • Dave — your commercial was simply incredible. My jaw nearly hit the floor. Well done. I agree with Max 100%. Tony is clearly a troll. Best not to feed them. Maybe he should watch “Everything’s a Remix” by Kirby Ferguson and get back to us.

  • Dave,
    That was great. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I really think you did an excellent job. I hear your concern about the lighting, but I wouldn’t change a thing. True, more contrast may have enhanced the emotional tug, but the message comes through loud and clear.
    Thanks again and, as always, I look forward to your next posting.

  • Hi Dave, Compliments on this excellent commercial! I’m curious with which camera did you film? The slomo looks great! How many fps?

  • Dave:

    Excellent, as usual. Thank you! Are you able to identify the specific word association websites that your neighbor Miguel recommended?

  • I think it’s lovely that you’re allowed to take your camera to your daughter’s swim practice. No chance of that over here in the UK, it’s gone mad over here – you’d get called a paedo and banned from taking photos within a 300-mile radius of anywhere a child might even possibly be! 🙁

  • Hi Dave, Great tutorial. Love your videos as you are not afraid to show the mistakes made and how you learn from them. We are always learning throughout our lives.
    You can see the Kellogs commercial by searching in youtube by the way.

    Paul Freeman, you are right things are getting ridiculous over here. Cant even take footage of my daughters performances with the acting/dance group she is with. That may have something to do with money however as they sell the DVD`s filmed by a pro.

  • Dave Thank you for sharing your thought process REALLY REALLY appreciate this matey

    Good luck for your future you are an inspiration

  • Hi Dave,

    Nice work, and I like the story narrated by the voice over.

    I would like to know what’s the web site to look for words related. This resources will be very useful for me.

Signup for Dave’s Newsletter (not working)

  • bandh2.jpg