HOW TO BRIEF FOR A HIGH QUALITY SHORT VIDEO

BRIEFING FOR QUALITY

The construction of any high quality creative project starts with its design. Standard practice is to engage a designer or architect first  when looking to build a high quality new website or renovate your home.

If you want an engaging video STORY rather than a quick turnaround video report, then consider what production process might produce this higher quality video.

COMMON PRACTICE FOR VIDEO BRIEFS

Most briefs ask video producers to respond with a fixed price with an assumption that they include all the detail necessary for an accurate costing. This is rarely the case and for simple reasons. No matter what time has been put into a video brief, there will always be unresolved logistical details for the shoot that have quite significant cost implications eg who will appear on camera? where? when?

Faced with this reality, Video Producers are forced to play a guessing game on costs for their quoted price. Whilst this might seem a good way to secure a competitive price, the guesswork behind those quotes mean they often include a contingency as safety for the producer – which might not be used – OR a cookie cutter filmmaking approach that will not result in a high quality video.

STORY DETAIL BEFORE FINAL PRICE

Whilst the budget you have in mind is obviously very important, establish a process to select the right producer for your video based first on their creative response rather than their guesstimate price. Help your potential suppliers by nominating a price range so they can work out a general creative response with at least ballpark budget accuracy.

What’s important is that the story ideas & requirements in your brief can be developed into a satisfying & clear plan for ‘construction’ that will maximise the budget you do have. Locking into a  creative response before exploring your options is limiting the potential impact of your finished video. The process you are initiating should generate confidence in you that the video you’ll be paying for will be the best it can be before you commit to the expense of the shoot & editing.

Therefore write your brief predominantly for the ‘design’ phase of video production, not the ‘build’ (the shoot & edit). Factor in additional time after this 1st stage of brief development to consider & approve the video producer’s proposed script outline which by then should be accurately costed & fit your final budget.

SELECTING THE RIGHT PRODUCER

This approach works well if you are prepared to trust your selected video producer to fully understand what you want & to generate good creative ideas in response. That initial sense of trust should be the basis on which you choose your video producer from the responses you receive.

This trust can then be built through a consultative process as your brief is developed. The result should be a script outline you love that’s based on the actual availability of those to appear on camera & the established logistics of filming at the proposed locations.

Just as you would not commit to a builder’s quote before settling on a design with your architect, it’s best not to request the final price for a ‘high quality’ video before allowing time & some budget for the development of your brief. So keep your brief more indicative than prescriptive.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INITIAL BRIEF

Your Own Ideas

This is what every video producer should want to know straightaway. Be as detailed or broad as you like however resist the impulse to be too prescriptive. If you’re wanting to employ a talented & experienced filmmaker, then allow them to utilise their skills & experience on your behalf. They will definitely look to incorporate your ideas & expand on them.

A Budget Range

Of course you’ll need at least a rough figure. Hold onto that and initially just indicate a budget range you’re comfortable with. If you are indeed wanting a quality video then keep in mind you will never receive the exact same video from any two suppliers. Each will look to tell your story differently for the budget range you provide.

Make your judgments first & foremost on their creative response rather than price. If you generally like a filmmaker’s approach, there will always be room for tweaking elements of their proposed production.

Your Key Messages

You will likely be very clear on what these are. How these should be expressed through the video is something you should be looking to your filmmaker to propose.

Your Key Audience

Often there is a temptation to want a video that will be all things to all people. Unfortunately, that often results in BORING videos! Much better to nominate a specific audience & allow that to drive the tone & content. This is how advertising works & if done right, other audiences will get on board too.

Key Interviews

Always helpful to nominate who should talk on camera. Keep an open mind though until your video producer has had the chance to develop your video story by speaking with all those involved. Perhaps they will suggest a revised cast of  ‘characters’.

Shoot Locations

As with the casting, locations bring a story to life. So whenever possible, shoot interviews & activities at places most relevant to the subject matter. An authentic sense of place grounds a story.

Activities

Videos are all about movement. We need to see action in order to understand content. Considering what actions are intrinsic to the subject matter is an important part of delivering the video’s visual impact. Any suggestions from you will be welcome.

Delivery Deadline

Some videos are needed for specific screen dates whilst others just need to be done. All that’s important to the filmmaker is having sufficient time to be able to deliver on your expectations.

A SUCCESSFUL BRIEF

Whether delivered in person, over the phone or in writing, your briefing process will have been successful if you receive  clear Proposals from each video Producer in which they have outlined in general terms how they will translate your story into an engaging video.

Once selected, you should allow your video Producer to develop your brief so they can prepare an indicative script outline, proposed schedule & final price. From that point you can work with them to finalise their proposal until you are ready for the production of your quality video.

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