How to Define the Scope of Work When Hiring a Video Production Company

How to Define the Scope of Work When Hiring a Video Production Company

January 30, 2021

So, you have decided to integrate video into your company’s marketing mix. Great! Now what?

The process of defining the scope of work involves first selecting the right approach, second writing a creative brief, and third, working out a production schedule in collaboration with your video production company/creative partner. We believe the following steps will help you formulate a scope of work that will keep you on schedule and on budget. This process will also help you get clarity on what you want to accomplish with your video so that you can give your video production company/creative agency a clear road map, which in turn will help them develop creative treatments that align with your goals.

1. Select the right approach for your video

  • Start by finalizing the goals you want to achieve from your video or video series. Do you hope to tempt prospects to learn more about you? Are you a new entrant into your market? Expanding to a new territory? Introducing a new product or software feature? Promoting a seminar or event? Executed professionally according to a sound plan, video can accomplish any of these objectives. Your brand, product, service, industry, and business should guide your choice of video type and tone. Here are just three types of videos you might choose:
  1. Explainer videos - Socially shareable and converting, explainer videos present the facts about what you’re offering. Though often used to promote practical products or as a “user’s manual” for software, gadgets, and processes, professionally produced explainers aren’t dull. They can incorporate graphics, animation, music, sound effects, and more to tell what your product does, how it works, and why people need it.
  2. Testimonial videos - Letting satisfied customers tell their own stories creates an authentic, peer-to-peer intimacy that potential customers can’t help but believe. Testimonial videos show prospects that you have successfully solved the problems they are facing, showing off your experience and expertise. These videos are powerful tools for service-oriented companies that provide facilities maintenance, HR and marketing, delivery and supply chain, and services companies may be looking to outsource.
  3. Sizzle videos - Often used by media companies and personalities, sizzle reels are flashy, brash, and colorful. They show off highlights, skills, and positive reviews in rapid succession. Sizzle videos are appropriate for companies spotlighting sexy products and high-tech gadgets. Think sportscars, electronics, luxury travel, etc.
  1. 2. Write a creative brief
  2. For a step-by-step guide to writing a creative brief, check out this blog, How to Write a Creative Brief for you video project

The creative brief for your project describes the main points you want your video to cover. While it is designed as a roadmap for your video production company creative partner to follow, it also helps you visualize your marketing message, define your strategic advantage, and identify your target market. Writing the brief before you hire a video production company partner gives you the chance to solicit feedback from all key departments so you can sharpen your message and align the marketing campaign with sales, finance, production, and logistics.

Once finalized, the brief will help whomever you hire as your video production company to start the pre-production process. Depending on the type of video, this process will look different. It almost always starts with your video production company partner writing a creative treatment, or sometimes more than one treatment to offer you options. If your video is an animated explainer video, your creative partner will design frames that give you a sense of the look and feel of the video. If you're producing a customer story testimonial video, your production company partner will write a treatment and interview question. A good video production creative partner will also be able to offer suggestions to reduce production costs.

Many of the main points your creative brief should include are covered in step 1 of the blog mentioned above. An overview of your company or featured product and what makes it special; what you want the video to accomplish, the audience the message is directed to; key messages or words to emphasize; and how you intend to use the video (website, landing page, social media, sales presentation, etc.).

  1. 3. Choosing the right video production company
  2. Steps two and three will be much more successful if you choose a video production partner that complements your internal team’s strengths and understands your vision. There is no substitute for experience. Competent, creative teams will maintain a sizable portfolio of similar products and will walk you through several pricing and service options appropriate for your industry and video type. The best choice will have both a back catalog demonstrating seniority in the business and a set of recent videos it has produced demonstrating state-of-the-art techniques and the ability to customize their videos to match the tone, style, and message that will differentiate you from your competitors.
  3. 4. Coordinate with your video production company to map out a realistic schedule
  4. Shooting the footage may be the most visible and exciting part of producing your marketing video, but significant planning and groundwork, as well as editing and post-production work, are just as important to the project’s success.
  5. The production schedule maps out a schedule for various deliverables. Below are basic phases from pre-production through completion. These phases will look a little different depending on the style of video you're producing.
  6. Creative Kick-off Meeting - The melding of your vision and your video production company’s creative abilities begins with a series of meetings that solidify the video’s goals, decide the video’s structure, who will tell the story, what visuals to include, what messages to deliver, and how best to present the information. We often call this meeting the “creative kickoff”. It’s important to enter these meetings with an open mind. Know what you want, but be willing to discuss how to get it. If you’re put together a good creative brief before meeting with your video production company, this part of the process will go a lot smoother.
  7. Pre-production - The pre-production planning will look differently depending on the type of video you are producing. In the case of a testimonial video story, for example, this phase often involves a location scout where your video production team can see the location, select interview set-ups locations, and meet the folks who are going to be interviewed.
  8. In the case of a scripted video in this phase, your video production professionals will draft a script, casting actors, scout locations, and sketch out a shooting schedule.
  9. In the case of an animated explainer video, in addition to writing the first draft of a script, your video production team will design frames for you to review in order to select the right general look and feel of the video.
  10. Production - The shoot day can be hectic with lots of crew members and cast to coordinate and a tight schedule to keep to avoid overtime. If your video production company partner has done their pre-production homework, the production schedule or “run of the day” should all go as planned. Production days will again look different depending on the type of video production.
  11. Post-production - The editing room is where it all comes together. The editor will put together the first cut for the client to review. This first cut should include suggested music and a solid rough assembly of content. In the case of an interview-based video, at this first cut should be a solid assembly of interview sound bites with cinematic footage, also called B-Roll interspersed. In the case of an animated video, the first cut typically consists of “frames” that have yet to be animated, with a voice-over and suggested music; this what we call “an animatic,” like a video storyboard with sound and motion. Regardless of the style of video, most often, there are three rounds of revisions, and by the third revision, if your video production company has done their pre-production homework, it’s hopefully down to small tweaks.
  12. Conclusion
  13. San Francisco Bay Area-based Studio B Films boasts a long history of providing video services to b2b tech and consumer-facing companies fulfilling their marketing objectives through professional, visually stunning video. With more than two decades in the business, we know how to transform your vision into versatile, conversion-focused videos perfect for social media posts, landing pages, email messaging, and more. Contact us to see how video marketing can deliver the results you deserve.