Commercials VS Advert production shown on an old TV set

Commercials VS Advert Video Production

What is the difference?

Advert or commercial? Having any form of advertising is very important. However you do need to know the difference between the different types.

The difference between commercials and adverts was originally only a difference in American and international English terms. An advert and a commercial were the same thing. They were both broadcast on some form of TV, whether it be land based like SABC, satellite like DSTV, or cable like FOX news. They were all in a broadcast format. They have changed over time from a standard definition to HD and 4K broadcast. But the delivery process has pretty much remained the same.

Where the difference between the understanding of a commercial and advert has changed is through the use of on-line services. There is also the difference that adverts can mean anything published through print and billboards etc., whereas commercials are primarily TV adverts.

It is still true that commercials and adverts can still be seen as the same in the broadcast industry but on the internet, the landscape has changed. What primarily separated the users of commercials VS advertisers was the broadcast quality.

What are the TV broadcast specifications?

To advertise on TV you need to have the commercial be in a very specific format. It must have exact specifications that keep both the video and the audio within a safe range for broadcast.

These specifications became a standard internationally although there were differences between NTSC (American) and PAL (South African). The difference still exists but is much less noticeable. This is because online systems tend to convert or re-encode from one system to another. The simplest way to see the difference is to look at the frame rate. NTSC is either 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second. PAL is 25 frames per second or 50 frames per second.

In TV broadcast the frame rate was not the only problem. NTSC was completely incompatible with PAL. With on-line marketing these days , that problem has all but disappeared.

There are some subtle differences that can be seen for example if a 30fps camera is used in a country with an electrical system of 50Hz the lights will often flicker in the video.

Problem of converting 25fps to 30, and vice versa, still exist. But most people won’t even notice the problems that come with it. Image jitter from the frame rate change is the prime issue.

What this all means when it comes to TV commercial VS video adverts is that a much lower quality and less controlled video format can be used. This is as opposed to the very strict rules and guidelines of broadcast commercials.

How is it different now?

All of this means that pretty much anyone with a camera or the ability to edit video can make video adverts. Many would say that this is a bad thing because of the resulting low quality.

As much as this is true, as seen with the millions of low quality or downright garbage video productions, this has allowed many more potential advertisers to begin using video adverts. They are doing this at the same level as TV commercials. YouTube is a prime example of where a home-made video can stand side by side with a high end, high budget commercial.

This kind of wild-west situation has its pros and cons for sure. But the blurring of the lines between TV commercials and video adverts can really help small and medium sized businesses.

While the home made DIY junk videos are not recommended, the ability to have a video advert made for just a few thousand Rand, or few hundred Dollars, is a huge leap for small business. Compared to the TV commercial productions of hundreds of thousand if not millions of Dollars or Rand.

When it comes to who should make the video advert, it is still advisable, as with many things in this world, to go to an expert. Corporate video production companies, who have made many of these types of videos, will not only have the skills and experience but also the insight into what is effective or not. It is not just about making the video advert look good, which is also important, but whether the advert will work to bring in more clients or sales.

The Commercial Industry

If you look at the TV commercial industry, the making of the commercial is not the biggest part of the expense, although the expense is substantial. There are many components to the creative chain that work towards the final video commercial product. You have the concept team, the many writers and creative people, actors and voice over artist as well as the highly skilled technical staff that make up the people behind the scenes. It is therefore important to keep in mind, that while it is great that it is cheaper and more open to the smaller businesses to market their companies and services, the skill sets remain the same. That means that the creator of the video advert has to be able to do all those people’s jobs.

This is not a small task to take on and replace a multi-billion dollar industry with a hand held camera and a YouTube channel.

Choosing a video production company

For this reason, at least a small attempt should be made to have a professional video production company or corporate videographer, make the video. When you are going through the list of video production companies in Johannesburg, keep in mind as well that not all video production companies are made equal. While price is a factor, make sure the company can do the work and have a look at their previous clients and video work. The demo reel is very important.

Not only should a collection of best bits be available but complete products which should show, from beginning to end, that the video production company can make a great advert for you.

This way you can take advantage of the lower industry standards while still having your own high standard and, more importantly, effective, advertising campaign while still keeping it affordable.

When all is said and done, be sure you have a good strategy of video placement to ensure your video reaches your target market.