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image of pens, paper and post its with text "how to write a video brief" overlaid by Vermillion Films Video Production Company Birmingham

Video Brief Template

Why fill out this video brief template?

Video brief templates are a great starting point for shaping your video production. All successful film projects will have answered these questions at some point during the creation of the film. The most efficient approach is to try and answer as many as possible at the start when there is likely to be the least pressure and the most flexibility.
Thinking about these questions early in the video production process will;
    •  help to streamline the creation of the film
    •  improve the end product
    •  probably save you money
    •  align everyone involved
    •  avoid miscommunication and conflict
    •  highlight areas of concern early.

cheeky bonus content 👇

There are two key sections in this template that we haven’t found in similar ones elsewhere;
    • ‘what action do you want the viewer to take next’
    • accessibility.
Download the video brief template, fill it out, let us help you anywhere that you get stuck.
The template is deliberately comprehensive so we wrote the guide below to help.
Our recent projects for Future Foundry and Orb both used this template to great success.

Let's go!

1/ About your company

Background, background, background. As much or as little as you think is relevant to the film project.

2/ about the project

Give us some background on the video project itself, why are you producing this film?  Is it part of a marketing campaign or is it a standalone video project? It might be that you have an idea of the output already e.g. 2-3 minute film based on interviews with 4 key stakeholders, a funny promo that people will want to share or a technical animation to explain a new piece of software.

3/ What problem are you trying to solve?

All the films we make are about one of three things:
These things all solve a problem for someone. By identifying this problem properly it makes it significantly easier to understand if the film has successfully achieved its purpose.

4/ how will you measure success?

Clients will often say they want a piece of branded video content to ‘raise awareness’ but it’s hard to know if that’s been achieved. But taking it a step further ‘how much awareness’ and ‘how will we know it’s happened’ gives us a clearer steer on this particular metric. Perhaps it’s 30,000 interactions with a particular demographic who are accessed through a certain platform.
Previous problems we’ve solved for clients include increasing traffic to a particular site, pre-qualifying leads by clearly explaining their proposition and changing employee behaviour by delivering training objectives.

5/ What are the key messages?

What are the key messages that need to be included in the film? The main thing here is don’t over-complicate it. It’s extremely common for clients to feel as though the investment in video production means it must achieve many things.
There are acres of research that shows that trying to cram in too many messages means that very little information is communicated.
Keep your messaging simple and to the point. There’s a great video here from Carmine Gallo that talks about distilling messages into their simplest terms.

Video brief template

Want to just jump to the download?

6/ References

Have you seen anything else that you like?
These could be whole videos or just 7 seconds of something that stood out. It could be solving the same problem or something entirely different in a separate industry. Show us what really set your world on fire. This will also help us understand the style and tone you want.

7/ What are the deliverables?

How many different video files or versions of files are required?
This could be 1 x HD or 4k file to go online, on YouTube or on your website work portfolio. Or perhaps you need a shorter version of the main film too?  Is it required to go on social (we’ve got another post coming on this one)?
Do you need different language versions?

8/ how will you use & promote it?

Where will the finished video(s) be used?  Online or internal only? TV advertising? Is there a media budget to support the film’s release?

9/ What happens immediately afterwards?

The big one that everyone misses!

What action do you want the viewer to take once they’re finished watching?

Common actions include requesting more information or a callback, sharing on social media or clicking the next video.

By defining this early we can engineer a path towards it within the narrative.

10/ What about accessibility?

Accessibility is something many companies don’t consider at any stage of video production, let alone briefing. Including it here ensures that it’s not tacked on at the end or simply forgotten.  There are a number of approaches that can be taken to improve the accessibility of your content including subtitles, captions, offering transcripts, audio descriptions and sign language.

11/ Timeline

When do you need it? Not just final deadline but are there other key dates driven by factors such as stakeholder availability.

12/ budget

The eternal ‘who will blink first’ question…

A good concept to bear in mind is that cost is indirectly proportional to risk. At one end of the scale using your niece who’s “always on her phone making videos and stuff” is likely to be cost-effective but is equally likely to introduce significant risk of not hitting the brief. At the other end of the scale employing a triple Oscar winning filmmaker will likely reduce the risk but will increase costs dramatically.

But you could give your brief to both of these filmmakers but only one is remotely suitable for what you have in mind.

If you’re not comfortable sharing your budget then try stating “we would like to spend less than £x,xxx. We could go beyond this but would need compelling reasons to do so”.

What next?

If you’re about to head into production then check out our location guide for corporate video.

More reading?

Hope that helps.

If you’d prefer this as a word doc then get in touch and we’ll send it to you.

Thanks for your time.



Featured image by Felipe Furtado on Unsplash

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