How to Brief a Videographer

Outsourcing the production of video content can be a fantastic solution when time and skills are limited. Yet, accurately communicating video specifications to a professional producer can be challenging and costly if the finished product does not support business goals and objectives.

Ben Amos, Online Video Strategist from Innovate Media identified the key information to brief a videographer to assist with a quality result.


1. Clarity surrounding how the video aligns with the business & marketing communication strategies

Ben Amos: We approach things is a bit differently because we come at it from a strategy first perspective. Though I’ll just to frame that for you, even it’s a social media manager or a marketer or someone who says, “Yeah we got the strategy, we’re good.” I would still want to unpack that with them. A lot of producers wouldn’t.

I find even if they’re marketers, they haven’t got a robust enough strategy for my liking. That’s our kind of unique approach. If they were to approach most video production companies or a videographer who wouldn’t have that conversation with them, that’s the benefit of them doing the strategy first. Often what the video producer would say is, “Okay, so what video do you want us to make?” They would start there.

Being able to brief the production company on being really clear about the goals for the video, the audience for the video, so that they can understand what the video needs to do. That’s obviously really important.

They’re going to need to go into it with an understanding of the creative approach that they want to take. It’s going to be a very different brief for a production company if they want to do a cinematic story telling kind of a video versus if they want to do a piece to camera sales video.

2. Creative Approach & Video Type

Ben Amos: That’s where the goals for the video is going to be really important for them to know. If someone’s saying, I want to do a 60 second talking head sales pitch video for my landing page to sell my programme or my course or my product, that doesn’t need bells and whistles of creative production, that just needs to be good copy, scripted well, delivered authentically and well and films well. It doesn’t need cinematic drone shots and be highly creative.

If they want something that’s more of a core branding piece, then they’re going to want to create something that drives more emotion and gets to the heart of the message. And that’s where approaching a good video producer who has a good understanding of storytelling can just make such a difference.

They can help you unpack the story and know how to tell it without you kind of coming to them with a storyboard and a script and all that sort of stuff. I would start, well before you might even kind of thought about scripting.

Look for a video producer that has in their portfolio the kinds of videos that you want.

Different video producers, they have a different focus. They tend to show their most cinematic, beautiful storytelling based work, right? You want to ask them, “Okay, can you show me an example in a more of a sales focused video or more straightforward talking head or social media video.

Know your budget from the outset | Source: Canva

3. Budget

Ben Amos: I know it’s hard for people when they want to ask the video producer how much it costs. It’s the worst question to ask a video producer because it’s how long is is a piece of string? I could potentially do something for couple of hundred dollars or I could do something for a couple hundred thousand dollars and unless we know kind of the budget range, they don’t know kind of how much resources you prepared to grow with this. Obviously you need to ensure that the content is going to return on investment. So deciding on a budget is about kind of doing those numbers between what’s the best case scenario here, what’s this video going to return for my business?

Make those financial decisions and decide on what you can spend because that’s going to indicate to the producer whether or not they can number one work with you or not. Number two, how they approach it. If you want something that’s out of the realm of possibility within your budget, the producer should be able to let you know right then and there.

They’ll say, “Look, this is what you’re telling me you want, but you’re also telling me your budget range is $500 to a $1000, for example. We’re not going to get that.” But a good producer would say, “This is what we can do for that.” Unless your budget is so underneath what they will work at, and then they’ll just say, “Well, you’re probably better doing it yourself or going somewhere else.”

Knowing the channels where the video will feature is vital | Source: Canva

4. Specific Deliverables & Time-Frames

Ben Amos: It’s helpful to have specifics in mind around deliverables. What do you actually want from the video? Do you want one 60 second video? Do you want a 15 second cutdown version? Do you want versions for social media? So you want some burnt in captions. Do you want a series of videos over time?

Whatever it is, kind of be really clear on what the deliverables are, because they’ll ask those questions anyway. You want to be clear on what the intended distribution is for this video. If it’s intended to be used 100% internally.

For internal comms or training, then it’s going to be a different approach than if it’s for social media, for digital. Again, if it’s used for broadcast, the producer needs to think about different licencing and things like that for music.

If it’s ever going to be intended to be used as a TV commercial or some kind of broadcast, then that’s a different thing again. It’s important to have a clear idea on, or if not then you need to work with the producer on clearing those. Time-frames, realistic time-frames are good. If you have a hard deadline, let them know up front because they need to consider that within the workflow.

Locations and On-Camera Talent are Important Components |Source: Canva

5. Locations & On-Camera Talent

Ben Amos: Things like understanding shoot locations, specific logistics like how much are you going to get involved in the shoot planning? Is it up to you as a business to find the people that are going to be in the video, arrange the locations, permissions to film in the locations. Or do you want to put that 100% on the producer to say, “You find me people.

You find me locations.” Often for a corporate video, it should be on the business to do that, to sort that out. So get clear on logistics, like how much you can organise.

6. Branding Guidelines

Ben Amos: As much clarity as you can have on brand guidelines is good as well. If you have clear brand guidelines or branding documentation, it really helps for the video that’s produced to just fit within the rest of your brand rather than the producer kind of guessing in a way. That’s probably important as well. We already talked about knowing who the audience is and what you want the video to do, what the action is from that.

That’s probably the main information. If you can brief a video producer with that then you’ll be off to a good start.

If there is any further information that you believe is helpful when briefing a videographer, please share your thoughts in the comments. 


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