You want a video but you’re not sure where to begin (putting a brief together)

It’s all well and good deciding you want a video. But just uttering the phrase “Have we thought about having some videos made?” during a meeting with colleagues can be like opening pandoras box. In this blog, we’ve addressed some of the things you should be thinking about when deciding what kind of video you want and how to translate that into an understandable and direct video brief.

As a client, you’ll find if you contact video production companies and ask “I need a video doing for my website, what are your prices?”, you’ll end up with…well, not a lot really. Most companies have rate cards which tell them how much it costs for them to have a director on set, a producer, a camera man, a sound guy…but there’s so much more involved in making videos that it’s essentially impossible to give an accurate quote based on the above question. So, here are a few tips to get you started.

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1. What’s the purpose of your video and what are your key messages?

Are you trying to sell your product or service, do some brand building, inspire and inform your staff, or something else? What is it that made you think you needed video in the first place? Pinning down the purpose of the video early on may seem like common sense, but it’s very easy to lose sight of the purpose by getting lost in cool concepts and tech.

2. What platform will your video be shown on?

Is your video for a landing page on your website or for your social media channels? Will it be shown to a large group of people at an event setting, or will it take the form of a TV advert? The format of the video and the platform it ends up on are very important when it comes to concept and budget. A small scale corporate video shoot will differ greatly in price and scale of production to a national TV commercial.

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3. Content.

It’s worth while considering what the juicy innards of your video will compose of. This includes things like:

– Locations

– Actors

– Script/voice over

– Live action/motion graphics/animation

Anything that you envisage being a consideration will go towards building a more accurate idea of price and a more streamlined process. The more detail you can give to the people making your video, the more likely it is that there won’t be any surprises further down the line. For example, if you mention that there’s two locations (your offices in Leeds and your offices in London), then we know immediately that there’ll be at least two filming days to add to the quote. If you say that you’d like two actors to perform a scripted TV advert, then we know that we’ve got to think about the actors hire costs and expenses, plus the time dedicated to writing the script, the sound and camera equipment to capture the actors correctly…and it goes on and on. If there’s anything you think is relevant, chuck it into your initial communication.

4. Audience/style

Video production companies will try to tailor your video to suit your audience. If you sell gardening tools, it’s unlikely they’ll suggest an edgy, MTV style way of filming and editing. Letting them know your key demographic will influence the stylistic decisions that both you and the video production company make. You may have one idea of style, but they might suggest another which fits better with your key messages and audience. Letting them know in the early stages who they’re meant to be catering to will mean you don’t receive a video that’s age and sex inappropriate – all the better really!

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5. Who’s involved in the sign off?

One of the things that surprisingly takes the most time, is the distance between the screening of the first edit and the delivery of the final video. The more people are involved in the sign off process, the slower the process runs. If we could suggest anything, it would be to have a hierarchy in place when it comes to suggesting re-edits and revisions. As the saying goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

This one also ties in with number three and number four: The more clear everyone is on the direction of the video before anything is filmed or edited, the more chance the video has of being a success within the company that’s commissioning it. If the head of marketing has been liaising with the production company throughout the process, but then the heads of social media and communications get involved in the late stages, suddenly it starts to get a little bit confusing. Supply the production company with a breakdown of who is responsible for what within your team, such as “Lucy, Marketing Liaison, will be your main point of contact.  Andrea, Marketing Assistant, is who you’ll contact for images, logos and other things you might need, Andrew, head of marketing, is responsible for the sign off at all stages, and Michael, CEO, might dip in at the end just to make sure everything’s okay”. This avoids any potentially confusing and time consuming miscommunication later on.

….Is that all???

And with that, you should have a good idea of what to include in your initial contact with video production companies. It’s all quite simple really. Though it may seem intimidating to imagine up a whole video before you’ve even spoken to anyone about the cost, it will save a lot of time in the long run, for both parties. If you know what kind of video you want, but you have no idea of the content, then be honest about that – the production company will come back to you with ideas and budgets to choose from. Any information that you can provide is a positive thing, no matter how small. You’ll go into it knowing the brief and the budget inside out, which can only help to make the process more enjoyable for you.

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