Creating a 30 second Commercial – What I Learned

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.