Are you tasked with creating video content for your company? Promoting a new product? training or brand advert? I’ve Produced many corporate videos for organisations and brands such as the NHS, Gillette and the Home office. This is the process I have developed that I use with clients that leads to successful films.

A Producers insight to making a successful corporate video. STAGE 2: BUDGETS & BRIEFS

  • How much video detail do you need to know?
  • Do you consider budgets at this stage?
  • How involved do you need to be in specific ideas at this stage?

Stage 1 ‘Before you call Spielberg’ covered the first steps of ‘why’ and ‘who’ and a few tips on a title. Stage 2 is all about budgets and how to communicate the project to a producer, production team or in-house team through a brief. This process is based on my experience of working directly with a production team than via an agency. So finding a good producer that really understands market driven ideas over purely technical video know-how crews is important here.

How involved do you need to be in specific ideas at this stage?

Do you consider budgets at this stage?

How much video detail do you need to know?

What’s First ? – Budget or Ideas?

Simply put, its budget first. Everyone will eventually work to a fixed budget? Some project budgets are on going and flexible but for this exercise we will consider a fixed budget only. It’s natural to think through ideas early but its far more effective to know what you have to spend first before thinking through amazing films of flying submarines and stunt based health & safety films. You may not have any idea what it will cost so find it tricky to budget?  The more productions you make the easier this gets. I’ve produced corporate films with budgets from £600 to £60000 and it can get much bigger. It’s so dependent on what is required but an average professional corporate promo film today is probably £3000-£6000. A bit of internet research digging will give you a good idea on rates and costs. Again, if you can create a relationship with a trusted production company they should be able to give you a range of figures early on in the process, based on what they have produced before.

Note: Tender – If you are putting out an official tender then there would normally be a budget cap that potential companies work up to and you’ll see a range of prices. If you are not constrained with public tenders and you don’t already work with a trusted company then an invite for companies to offer costed creative treatments that will give you a good overview of quality, ideas and price.

The Brief (Video)

Creative Briefs are well known in the arts industry, normally 1-2 pages, it outlines the parameters for the project. I’ve seen some briefs that can be over complex and come with a good dose of convoluted marketing double talk which should be avoided. This will help the creative producer get to the heart of what the message is and to whom it is aimed. It outlines the ‘Why’ and the ‘Who’ as well as schedule/delivery targets and budget. There are many formats from pictograms to graphs to the simple 2 paragraph statement. It will also give a wider background to the product/company, brand ethos and any campaign strategy to give the producer the basis for any creative ideas to hang on.

CHECK OUT THESE EXAMPLES OF BRAND BRIEFS via Dandad (not all video advertising)

Design and Art Direction

What to include in a video production brief:-

  1. Company and product background
  2. Project Background?– ‘WHY’ . Product or subject background and any current campaign link
  3. Objectives? – What problem does the film have to solve? What’s the key message it has to deliver? What is the key objective or call to arms? What reaction do you want the target audience to have when viewing?
  4. Who is the primary audience? There may be secondary audience but be clear here which is primary and which is second etc. the filmmaker needs to understand the primary audience as audience research may be required around ideas. Some briefs create a fictitious target audience member
  5. How will the video will be distributed? – Platform-specific targets will have technical considerations for the production. For example, a training film shown at work is a ‘captured audience’ and therefore the film can take more time to build or tell a nuanced story than say an online public video that can be clicked off at any moment. Platforms like Instagram require square aspect ratios and a max of 60secs. TV broadcast ads eg Sky Ad Smart require legal clearance of script as well as output and legal settings on colour and sound levels etc.
  6. Timeline? – Commencement date, delivery deadline and any timeline schedule.
  7. Budget? – I think a fixed budget set early on is effective and efficient. However, you may tender out for budgets or you may work with trusted producer/production company to write up an agreed budget for the project considering ideas proposed.
  8. Length? – Take care here. This depends on the target output etc. A TV ad is very exact to the second but an online ad is not bound by tv programming slots. In general it can be a good idea to state an approx. time range and if you are working with a market led production company and leave the exact time detail open to discussion. Time is relevant to the subject and approach eg a 2 min emotive ad can feel quicker, due to visual engagement, than a 1min interview, whilst a Facebook ‘drop’ has only 5-6 seconds to hit home.
  9. Tone ?-Tone is what an audience will feel/react due to the way a film is approached. This can be set by the subject matter, editing pace, music, colour etc. Is it serious fact filled? friendly personable?, cold scientific ? or human and emotive ? or light hearted with humour? or a one line gag? Is a specific music track required?
  10. Examples? –Whilst these can be really useful to get across tone and possible first thoughts on ideas ensure you don’t constrain a creative producer by appearing to communicate “just make me one of those”. A range of examples doesn’t have to be from your sector either, as they can also show what you don’t think works, what is bad in your view.
  11. Fixed elements? – e.g. font types, pantones, taglines and call to arms, interviewee titles/spelling etc.
  12. Sign off and approval process – A timeline of sign off stages eg treatment, possible location schedule, how many edit sign offs are expected etc. The edit sign off frequency is a balance of project management and delivery speed. Agree on what will be fed back upon, by when and by whom. If edits need to be unpicked because of a backtrack of a previous sign off then this could add extra days/budget beyond what is agreed.

NEXT TIME: STAGE 3 – TREATMENTS, IDEAS and THE PRODUCTION BEGINS…