With a few simple tricks, your spot can look cinema-quality, without the expensive price tag.

Such is the premise behind the session “Zero Budget Magic: Doing More with Almost Nothing.” Marty Frey, senior director, NBC affiliate marketing and special projects, and Suzanne Grethen, VP, promotion and marketing, broke down some promo-enhancing visual tips at Station Summit 2017.

1. (Don’t) Invest in Tools

High definition cameras, GoPros, drones and lenses can go a long way in elevating your footage, but it doesn’t have to mean going out and buying a new product.

“You can rent, locally, just about any lens you need,” Frey said. Or, invite viewers to send in their drone footage of an event that you use on-air.

Color correcting is another technique to make your promos pop, and the use of impressive graphics and music do wonders to get across an important message.

Frey and Grethen also pointed to purchased templates – which range from about $60 to $80, along with styling spots with time lapse footage, simple animations and chroma keying and interesting sound design.

2. Get to Know Your Talent

Another trick for a good promo is to focus on your talent.

“It really costs you nothing more than a latte,” Grethen said. “You need to get to know your talent. You need to get to know their strengths, you need to get to know their weaknesses, you need to get to know what they’re capable of.

For example, WISN highlighted meteorologist Mark Baden’s collection of antique thermometers, showing off his geeky personality to viewers.

3. Emotionally Connect with Viewers

Social media is a great way to connect your talent to your audience. The platform also lends itself to longer format videos that can send powerful messages.

It’s also ideal for creatively editing footage produced for new stories into social posts designed to get people talking, laughing and crying.

4. Try Testimonials

Testimonials spots, when done well, can also pack a punch.

For instance, a promo featuring viewers describing the moment they watched a tornado tear apart their town, combined with news footage of the destruction, created a compelling story.

5. Power Through

Promos that use cultural and historical events are often a powerful way to highlight your station. WBAL Baltimore, for instance, used the Baltimore riots and an audio recording of Robert F. Kennedy to get across their message.


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