Turning your ideas for a video into reality starts with a video production brief
This blog is based on our 25 years of experience creating videos for a wide range of businesses and organisations – and helping them plan the approach, content, and positioning of their videos, so that their audiences respond positively.
When you ask an experienced producer like us to create your video, they will handle every aspect of the creative and technical process, so that you get a video that delivers the results and ROI you need.
If you don’t have a written brief, what will the producer need to know?
They will need to know the video’s purpose and audience; what you plan to show and say; key messages; calls to action; and so on. They will need to know how you plan to show the video – e.g. to a live audience, on your website, through social media – and how you want audiences to respond. They will need to learn about your business, image, and culture, and what they can film for the video – e.g. people, places, items, products, services.
An experienced producer can help you develop your video strategy and basically write the production brief for you. And then they will come back with their proposal, creative ideas, and a budget.
If you want to get ahead of the process and write your own brief, to set out your specific and clear objectives and requirements, including the answers to the above questions, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you do it …
Step 1: Define Your Objectives
Why do you want to make a video? The surge of interest in video content has led to many businesses coming to us saying ‘we need to make one’, but they don’t always have a sense of purpose or objectives for the content. It’s important from the outset to decide what you want to achieve, including overall business aims and how it will fit into your marketing strategy or communications strategy, and then start to define the key objectives for the video, or set of videos.
Step 2: Who is Your Audience?
Successful video content invariably addresses a very specific target audience. One-size-fits-all is not an approach we would recommend because it tends to dilute the content, making it too generic. Instead you should really understand who your target audience is (you could use a customer avatar to help with this) so that you can create very relevant content that speaks directly to them.
Step 3: Articulate Your Core Message
Once you know your audience, you can then develop ideas to engage and encourage them to respond. Your core message could be a company value statement, a new initiative, brand strapline, or a specific call to action that’s designed to convert viewers into leads. Whatever it is, it will naturally be aligned with your objectives for the video content.
Step 4: Platform Considerations
It’s a good idea to decide how you will use your video, before you begin. For example, is it for a presentation or conference, for your website and social media channels, or for an e-learning exercise?
If you’re planning to use it primarily on social media, for example, this will influence various practical and creative decisions, including the length. On Twitter the maximum lengh is currently 2-minutes 20 seconds; Instagram is 60-seconds. Similarly, if you are creating a training video it’s important to consider how your target audience will watch it: for example: at work or on a course, or online in an e-learning module or YouTube when people will view it during their own time?
Step 5: Creative: Styling, Tone, etc.
Having identified your objectives, target audience, core message and how you will show the video/s, you should now have a clearer idea of the creative factors that you would like to address in the brief. Many people leave it to the production company to come up with a suitable creative treatment – but if you have specific ideas about the style and tone, this can be very helpful.
You don’t need to describe every minute detail. ‘Serious, approachable, fun, cool, upbeat, cutting edge, friendly, professional, etc.’ are all useful ways to convey what you want stylistically from your video. It’s also helpful to indicate what you like and don’t like, so everyone is on the same wavelength.
Step 6: Content
What do you need to include in your video? Maybe you need to show specific projects your business has been involved in, interviews with key members of staff, demonstrate a process or ‘how to’, include scenes of your location, premises, production line or service operation, and feature client testimonials, logos or graphics.
Or perhaps you would prefer 2D or 3D animation to tell your story and drive home your core message. These are all factors to put into the brief (perhaps with the proviso that they are up for discussion) and will help when creating the storyline*.
Step 7: Practicalities: Deadlines, budgets, etc.
Factoring in the practicalities will avoid any pitfalls once the project is under way – for example, the need to hit a particular date for filming an interview with someone who has limited availability. If you have a specific deadline for completing the video you need to make this clear, so that everyone works back from that date when planning the pre-production, filming and editing schedule.
If you have any budgetary constraints explain this in the brief, so that the video producer can be realistic in what can be achieved.
What happens next?
With an accurate brief in place, everyone involved in the production will be able to allocate the resources, discuss and devise a storyline, and bring together the various elements needed to create your video content so that it achieves the right objectives and gets the results you need.
Keith Thomas | Senior Producer, Sightline