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Getting the video you want: a roadmap for video production

26 March 2019

As a marketer, you already know that video is a key component of your marketing strategy. You might know exactly what kind of video you want and where it will be used, but communicating that vision with your team is crucial to success. So, everyone's pumped and ready to take the plunge...but where should you begin?

When it comes to video, it's super important that you know how to ask for what you want so that you end up with a final product that suits your marketings needs. In our experience, strong communication between the marketer making the request and the team producing the video is essential to ensuring you get what you asked for—and so everyone stays happy.

1. Assembling your project brief

You have a ton of great ideas, and you know exactly where and how the video will be used. Great! Now it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in a the form of a project brief.

You may be thinking that you don’t need a project brief or that it’s going to take too much time to write—don't underestimate the power of the brief. The project brief is a key component to any successful video project as it determines the direction, outlines the goals, sets the timeline, and identifies the key stakeholders.


A project brief shouldn't take you too much time to write—after all, it’s called a brief for a reason! For your first brief, try not to spend more than 30 minutes getting everything down. And, if you standardize your template, it should take you even less time when you sit down to write the next one. Regardless of how long it actually takes you to get this done, rest assured it’s time well-spent. Your whole team will be thanking you for formalizing the request in such a digestible format.

"For your first brief, try not to spend more than 30 minutes getting everything down."

Of course, not all projects need a brief. If you're looking for an edit or a new version of an existing asset, you may simply want to field a request on a Trello board or via email, depending on the process at your business. That being said, any project that is the first of its kind or has the potential for high reach and impact should be grounds for a formal brief.

Here are some key components to include in your project brief:

  1. Business challenge: What is the the singular business need or problem you are trying to solve? Make sure this is clear and succinct. Everything should ladder up to this one question.
  2. Who’s the target audience: Define who will be consuming the video content and identify their pain points.
  3. Goals and objectives: What does success look like? This may include softer metrics for success (like brand affinity) or more measurable metrics for success (engagements, lead captures, clicks, etc). Also, include any benchmarks or results from previous videos that the team should be aware of.
  4. Creative considerations/discussions: This is a great place to make suggestions to the video team. The team is looking for guidance, but you also want to give them the flexibility to be creative and think outside the box.
  5. Mandatories: This is where you put the non-negotiables, like the video must contain the company logo or a call to action. Also include information about whether or not it will need to optimized for a particular device like desktop vs mobile.
  6. Next steps/timing: At a high level, outline next steps and timing: the kick off, the scripting process, timing for video production, expectations for feedback or rounds of review, delivery of final video, and launch. Again, keep this high level—a more formalized timeline should be kept in your preferred management tool of choice to ensure that you stay on track.
  7. Inspiration: This is one of my favorite sections, as it forces you to look at how other brands are approaching video in their marketing, and can provide examples for the concepting in the pre-production stage. Price Intelligently, Bamboo HR and Casper are all doing a great job of using video in their marketing, so be sure to check out those companies for some fresh ideas.
  8. Approval process: You’re almost there! Identifying the approval process, and who the key stakeholders are at each stage, ensures that the project keeps moving along. Nothing’s worse than getting to the finish line only to have a project kicked back from someone weighing in at the last minute. Be clear from the start who needs to provide feedback and approval, and at what stage, so there’s no surprises.

2. Pulling together your project details

You have your project brief in hand and you’re feeling really good about this video project of yours. But in order for the brief to do its job, it needs to be followed up with an outline of your project's specs. This is typically a list of requirements that the video team needs to know before they start the pre-production.

Without an accurate spec sheet, the process of producing or editing a video can be chaotic, and may even result in lost time (or even revenue). That's why we believe it's best to deliver the specs with the project brief or immediately following the kick-off meeting. The specs sheet is also a crucial component to this process—it'll help you efficiently execute on your project while making it crystal clear to the video team what you're asking for.

"Without an accurate spec sheet, the process of producing or editing a video can be chaotic, and may even result in lost time (or even revenue)."

For example, if you're requesting a video for your homepage, it will need to work within the confines of the page, including the overall color palette of the page design. Or, if you're requesting a video for paid ads on Facebook that are only being delivered on mobile, the video should be shot in a square format and will need more visual captions. Provide all the technical details necessary so the video can do what it needs to, from living on a website, to being shared with a client in the right format, and you'll be in great shape!

Key video spec sheet components:

  1. Summary of project: At this point, you've already had a kick-off meeting and have reviewed the project brief with your team, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate why you're requesting the video in the first place. You can even link back to the brief if the team needs more background!
  2. Marketing purpose: Where will the video live and how will it be used? Will it be a homepage overview video, a teaser for social media, a piece of supporting content on a blog post, or perhaps even a video you'll use as an ad on social networks? Make it clear what the main the purpose of this video will be.
  3. Technical requirements: Include file format, size, aspect ratio, and resolution, and any other technical details the video team will need to know in order to effectively plan the production (or also keep in mind for post-production!).
  4. Add-ons: This is where other additional details should live, like if you need a companion banner, supporting text, multiple formats for different channels, or other customizations.
  5. Deadline: Is there an external force like an event or scheduled launch that's driving the due date? The video team will likely need to back track into a production schedule based on when you want the final video delivered, so don't forget to add this crucial component to your spec sheet!

3. Understanding the production process and terms

Whether you have an internal video team, or you're using an agency to produce your videos, it’s super helpful to know a bit about both the production process and the common terms video producers tend to use when shooting and editing. That way, both parties are on the same page, speaking the same language.

Three key video production stages:

1. Pre-Production

It’s all about the planning. Without proper planning, the actual production of the video could run over time, over budget, or could even miss important details outlined in the brief or project spec sheet. Your hard work could be in serious jeopardy if this step isn't thoughtfully planned.

This is also where you'll develop and agree on a concept, plan the location (will it be shot in the office or somewhere else), cast the talent, and write the script. You may even be asked to take a crack at writing the first draft of the script yourself. If you feel stuck on the first line, try to work out the rest of the script and come back to this later. And of course, you can always refer to our guide to scripting for some helpful pointers as well.

"You may even be asked to take a crack at writing the first draft of the script yourself. If you feel stuck on the first line, it might be best to work out the rest of the script and come back to this later."
2. Production

It’s go time! This is where the video producer shoots the video and creates all the elements that will be a part of the finished product: graphics, animations, music, sound, etc. And, this is also happens to be where the terms get technical pretty fast (at least for most marketers). Depth of field, cine camera, ambient sound, and head room, for example, are a few terms that start to come into play.

This shared language helps producers communicate with one another about how they want the shot to take look and ultimately take form. It's right about here where the marketer or video requester typically takes a step back and gives the video producers some room to do their thing. Sit back and relax while the video starts getting pieced together!

3. Post-Production
Post Production Montage

This includes anything that happens after the shoot, like editing, adding a voiceover and motion graphics, or versioning out your video. Producers will start with the rough cut and edit from there. This initial video will also serve as a template or model for any additional cuts or versions that will be created. You can make simple edits to your script when you use a voiceover at this stage without having to shoot the video again, which is a nice back-up option to have!

Communication is the key to collaboration

With these three planning worksheets in hand, you'll be more prepared than ever before to communicate with video producers, whether they're in-house or at an agency. This also means you're one step closer to building your brand, growing your business, and reaching your marketing goals—all with video! Keep up the good work. 

Source: https://wistia.com/blog/video-collaboration-worksheets (Barb Gagne) 

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