Filming a Commercial

How Long Does it Take to Film a 30-Second Commercial?

Thirty seconds isn’t a very long time; thirty seconds can pass in silence without you even noticing. However, when it comes to commercials, 30 seconds can mean a lot. Those quickly passing 30 seconds of airtime are crucial for your business and every second must count.

Many Maryland business owners and marketing directors who want to film a 30 to 60-second commercial are shocked to find out how long it takes to produce the commercial from start to finish.

How can something so short take so much work? Well, that’s the key. Because the commercial is so quick, every single second must be on-point and carefully crafted to get the message across in a concise, yet highly effective manner.

The whole point is to turn your target audience into customers, and a stellar 30-second commercial is your ticket to new customers.

Let’s take a deeper look into what it takes to film a 30-second commercial so that the next time your company seeks out a professional video production company in Maryland to film your business commercial, there will be no hidden surprises.


Filming a 30-Second Commercial

If your company is aiming to film a 30-second commercial to advertise your products and services, the first (and best) thing you should do is hire your local Maryland video production company.

In doing so, you will be guaranteed the necessary support, creative insight, and experience to produce a quality commercial that will boost your sales.

There are 3 main steps in filming a short commercial, so let’s get into those:


Step 1:  Pre-Production Process

Before you and your Maryland video production crew even think about pulling out the camera to begin filming your commercial, massive pre-production planning must occur. Pre-planning is where you decide what your vision is for your commercial.


Your commercial is essentially a story you visually and verbally relay to your audience.

In summary, your commercial:

  • Embodies your company’s core values
  • Provides adequate material for the viewer to make an informed decision about your brand
  • Encourages your audience to take action right away

Obviously, all of the above things are huge to your business, and therein lies the justification for putting lots of time and effort into the pre-planning.

Here is a breakdown of the typical pre-production process your video production company will likely guide you through before filming begins:

  • Define your audience
  • Define your message
  • Create a call to action
  • Create a budget
  • Determine an ideal commercial length
  • Write and revise a script
  • Storyboard the entire commercial
  • Make a shot list
  • Create a production schedule
  • Outline set locations, studio use, equipment, hired talent, contact information, production dates, and production crew
  • Draft a contract that fits your budget


All of this occurs before any filming begins. Wild, isn’t it?

As you can see, pre-production of even a short 30-second commercial can take days or weeks of planning before everything is set, contracted, and prepared for filming to begin.

Now that you’ve got a handle on that, let’s move on to step two: film production.


Step 2: Film Production

Lights, camera, action!

Now that you’ve prepped everything for filming, the production can begin. Lighting, props, studio equipment, and actors should be prepared beforehand to prevent any glitches in the filming process. Be sure that all actors know the script inside and out, that all equipment is in perfect working order, and that your whole crew is ready for action.

In order to get quality film shots for any type of video production, you can expect to film about five pages of script per day.

This means that working from dawn ‘til dusk you will get about 5 minutes of good film captured in its raw form. Keep in mind that this is unorganized, random, and non-chronologically ordered film shots; there is still much to do after the filming process finishes.

Unfortunately, things do not always go as planned on set. These estimated film times do not take into consideration any mishaps that may occur throughout the day.

In fact, our own video production crew here at Sheffield Audio-Video Productions has shared that filming raw footage of a 30-second commercial can take at least 4 hours to capture perfectly.

Once filming is complete, you’re ready to move on to the final stage of the filming process: post-production editing.


Step 3:  Post-Production Editing

Editing is crucial. This is where all the filming that you did starts to make sense; this is where it all comes together to produce a product for your customers’ viewing pleasure.


Many different things occur in post-production. Since all of your shots were likely shot out of order, there are repetitious shots that must be reviewed and trimmed for unnecessary footage, and your footage is without special effects, your commercial is far from being a final product.

So while you are indeed in the last step of the filming process, it is a big one.

So what really goes on behind the scenes after your commercial has been filmed?

Honestly, a lot. Here are some of the main things that occur following the shoot:

  1. Your filmed commercial is digitally pieced together using a variety of advanced software and editing equipment.
  2. Any scenes that can’t be used, contain errors, or are of poor quality are reshot. This means more shooting, which requires use (again) of all equipment, lighting, location/studios, and hired talent that were present on the original production day(s).
  3. A professional sound editor then views multiple rough drafts of your commercial and decides where to place audio to enhance your commercial’s overall appeal.
  4. Lastly, any music that is needed will then overlay the commercial where appropriate. Here a professional musician, band, or composer is hired. That is, unless you have the rights to use another artist’s work. In that case, there are additional steps required to secure those rights and, of course, this all costs money.


Other post-production tasks that are delegated to the various post-production team include:

  • Adding titles and other text to promote your company
  • Creating a dialogue for subtitles, if necessary
  • Adding call to action information for your viewers to follow
  • Finalizing the product as it will appear on-air
  • Getting final approval from you (or whomever hired the production team)
  • Securing airtime on television or online after considering time slots, channels or websites, and your target audience


As you can see, there is a lot that goes into creating a short 30-second commercial.

There is business and paperwork to sort out with the video production company, planning of the commercial’s concept, filming, editing of the final product, and finally distribution of the commercial across the various platforms. In the end, all of these steps take significant time and effort on the part of everyone involved.

Can you imagine what creating a full-length feature film is like? 


Who to Hire

If you are a Maryland business owner and are looking to create a commercial to boost your marketing and branding potential, contact Sheffield Audio-Video Productions. Not only do our experts understand what it takes to produce a quality commercial, we are dedicated to putting in the time it takes to complete your project from start to finish.

With state-of-the-art equipment, stunning studios, and an entire production crew to take your commercial from just an idea to one that airs on national television, Sheffield can help make your business more successful than ever.