Shooting a TV commercial is easy for the people who do it every day, but not so easy for you and I. Basically it involves a certain level of planning. Planning saves cost and is the key element in every step of shooting a TV commercial.
There is a form called an AICP form now on spreadsheet which has every possible expense one would need to shoot a feature length movie, or a :30 second TV spot..
Basic things to plan:
Script: Always have a script that is agreed on by all members of the production crew. Knowing this will save you lots of money going from one scene to another in a minimum amount of time.
Budget: How much do you want to spend shooting a spot? Be realistic. Are you going to be able to shoot film or videotape? Are you going to shoot all the scenes in your spot in one or will it take two or more days? Consider that when you're planning your budget.
Shooter: Who's going to do the actual shooting of the video for the spot? Are they going to shoot it on videotape or on film? If you're shooting on film it's prettier, but you're looking at a much higher price as there is processing involved. It's also necessary to commit the film product to video tape eventually so you may edit it with all the digital visual effects available on videotape mixing bays. You might want to consider shooting a higher quality video tape instead saving that extra step.
If you're going to shoot using a video tape shooter, your cost will also be lower as video tape is much easier to find and the audio is linked to the video automatically.
Sound: Once you've decided on what visual medium to use you'll have to consider who'll handle the sound. You'll want to mic your subject or use a boom. Using a boom for audio can cost a bit more as you'll need what is called a "grip" to hold the microphone boom over the subject. If you're just shooting video and not shooting sound synched to it, you're saving money, but once you shoot, you can't go back and add the sound to the video. If you're filming , you'll have to add the expense of using a "Nagra" or film tape recorder to your shoot. Booming or microphone on the person you're shooting applies, it's just that putting it into the Nagra costs extra in equipment and synching it up to the film in the mix will cost you more time. You may want to shoot only the video and record your audio in a recording studio. Consider a good studio that can get you what you want efficiently. You won't need a multitrack unless you're mixing music and voiceover.
Mixing: Now that you have your video shot and sound included it's time to mix. Getting a cost effective editing bay yet one that has all the effects you desire could take some research time. Don't hesitate to get a bay that has all the "goodies"visual effects you need to make your spot come off the way you want it, or you've just wasted time in a less than competent editing bay. Ask around from other producers you may meet and get ideas on how you can maximize your time.
Before you go into the editing bay make sure you get a tape or DVD with visual time code of all the scenes you shot. This is most important as you can choose the scenes you are going to use by visual time code number before you actually edit them and make the final master tape. This is a way you can save literally thousands in a production bay.
When you get to the bay simply hand your pre-mixed audio to the sound person and let them add it to the sound track of the tape.
Now that you've edited your shot video, add the graphics. These should already have been determined on your script. For example, "Car Sale 50% off", "Save Thousands", etc should already be determined going into the editing bay. Just hand all the graphics you want to the person who runs the chyron or character generator and they'll type them up for you in whatever font and size you want.
Remember, prior planning can save you THOUSANDS of dollars. ALWAYS think ahead and you'll become an excellent producer.