The thing about a good video production brief is that it typically results in a smashing piece of video content. As a rather well-experienced video production agency, the TopLine team has seen it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. But let us tell you for free: there is nothing so moving, so awe-inspiring, so absolutely magnificent as a good video production brief. When it lands in our inbox, we literally stand up and do a little jig of joy.
The reality is that commissioning a video project is a big deal for most companies. We understand that and will do our utmost to make the process painless, and even fun. But, we can’t do it entirely on our own. A detailed video production brief with clear objectives and a sprinkling of realistic budget awareness gets things off to a winning start.
Why the video production brief matters
Yes, a good video production brief takes time and thought to put together, but this initial effort pays off in spades. It clarifies what needs to be done and gets both the agency and client on the same page from the get-go. This reduces the back and forth, ensuring that the video is completed on (or even before!) deadline.
With that in mind, let us guide you through the process of creating the prefect video production brief. It’s really simple – just complete these sections (and modify them to suit your needs if necessary). Or, you can download our video production brief template here.
Start with a little bit about you
Please tell us your name. And your company’s name. It helps to know exactly which human at which organisation has reached out to us. Otherwise it just feels like spam. Or a not very serious request.
So, do you like piña coladas? Or walks in the rain? Give us a little info about what your company does and what you do for the company. Link us to the website too so we can have a good snoop.
Objectives – why are you doing this?
Why are you reaching out to video production companies? What do you need our help with? Seems like an obvious question but ‘I think we need a video’ doesn’t quite hit the mark. Give us the entire picture – it may feel like waffling but that’s ok, we like detail. And context.
You might be looking to convert site visitors into customers. Or to onboard new employees. Or to get people off TikTok and onto your sales page. Or to give your sales managers a piece of mind-blowing collateral to share with prospects as they move them down the sales funnel. Whatever it is, we would really love to know.
Target audience: who’s it for?
Who do you want to watch the video and why? And how will they watch it? Are you trying to entice new customers – or are you commissioning an internal communications video for staff? The more information you have on your target audience the better we can tailor the video to catch their interest and engage them.
What do you want them to feel, to think or to do after watching your video? Location is also important as it will affect things like music licensing.
Distribution strategy – where will this video go?
Very importantly, tell us how you’ll be distributing the video. We have a whole lot to say about planning a video distribution strategy, and we can definitely help you with that. But it’s useful if you can guide us on your thinking at this stage. Is this video for a TikTok campaign? Will it be hosted on your website? Do you plan to use it at an event? The more information you can share with us, the better.
Core message: what should it say?
What are the key points you need to get across in this video? It’s easy to want to put EVERYTHING down on paper but time is precious. Don’t overload your audience, give them the facts and the emotional motivation for taking action. We like to ask our clients to think about the one key message that this video needs to deliver. Then think about what messages should support the key message.
Creative – what style are video are you thinking about
You probably already have an idea in your head about how you want your video to look. Be open to the fact that this might have to change. A video production company worth its salt won’t just nod and do – if we think live action will convey your message better than animation, we’ll advise you accordingly. Your corporate image, budget and business objectives all play an important role in deciding the best look and feel. Again, it’s important to ask this upfront so that all can agree on the approach before shouting “Action!”.
Of course, this is our area of expertise but most clients have an idea in mind of how they want their video to look. If you can, point us in the right style direction. Does animation tickle your fancy? Or filmed content? Maybe virtual reality? If you’re not sure that’s totally fine just tell us and we’ll brainstorm some ideas with you.
We don’t need you to draw us a storyboard, but by all means tell us what you like AND what you don’t like. Use your competitors’ videos as references – this will help us make your video exceptional!
And be honest. You might think that a ten-minute explainer video featuring boring waffle and unnecessary information is a great idea. We don’t. But that’s ok because that’s why you’ve hired us. We’re experts at this stuff so let us help you determine the right video length to maximise its impact.
Format: how should we deliver the video?
What format do you need your video delivered in?
Budget: what’s been set aside?
It saves production time if we have a ballpark budget to work with. Steer us in the right financial direction and we’ll know how to deliver your vision without breaking the bank.
Your budget will directly influence the video’s production process and guide its style, equipment needs, and cast and crew. It’s very important to establish the budget from the get-go. The client and the production company both need to be on the same financial page. If your vision is more expensive than you realised, then you can discuss it upfront and look for creative ways to achieve a similar result for the same money, or budget more to ensure you’re happy with the finished article. Once the penny and pound parameters are set, the creative process can flow far more successfully.
Again, be realistic. Most agencies work to deadlines. Having a date to work towards helps us all stay on track and meet expectations.
We all want everything yesterday. A good video production agency will set out a project schedule for you so that you know when and where things are happening throughout the lifecycle of your project. Your video agency should be able to give you realistic timings on how quickly things can be turned around. Timings will vary depending on the type of video production, for example, animation can take longer to turn around than filmed content.
What many clients don’t realise is that post-production is a lengthy process – and different styles, such as live video versus animation, take different amounts of time. This is important to know upfront as you may need your video turned around quickly. Trying to change things halfway through filming, to speed up the entire production process, will increase costs and impact the final result. You’ll more than likely be left with a shoddy video that went way over budget. Make sure you understand the post-production process before you get started.
Agency experience: what’s important to you
Hopefully your research will have served you well and you’ll be up to speed on the type of content your chosen video agency produces and the type of agency it is. Whether it’s animation, filmed content or an awesome 360 video, make sure your agency is easy to work with, understands what you’re looking to commission and can support you with the objectives you’re looking to achieve.
A good agency will be knowledgeable, experienced and driven to produce good content for their clients. Whether it was a quick google search or recommendation that led you to your agency, get to know the types of content they’ve produced and find some examples of their work you really love. A good agency will then walk you through the process of producing that video.
Decision making: what’s the chain of command?
It’s really helpful for your video production agency to know who is going to be involved in making important decisions (from signing off the project budget to approving the script) and what your process will be. Do you need them to submit a quote? Attend a meeting with stakeholders? Prepare a presentation?