How a good video brief can deliver you a creative concept video: behind the scenes on our production with Staffordshire Police
Good means different things to different people. And knowing what you want your video to achieve for your marketing is key to writing a good video brief. A brief can vary in length, but that partly depends on what you want the result to be. If you have a clear objective then a defined, detailed brief is perfect.
And if you need a hand to put together that detailed brief our video quiz will prompt you to answer a series of questions that will help you define the right type of video for you: https://ant889631.typeform.com/to/HBGkb1XY for you to pull into that wider brief.
But what if you only have the germ of an idea? This is the benefit of working with video experts, such as ourselves. We can take a bare bones brief and generate ideas for a video that will yield an effective end result. One that delivers a creative concept video for your marketing.
Recently, we received such a brief from Staffordshire Police. In a previous blog post, we discussed the significance of using video in behaviour change marketing, but wanted to delve further into how a certain type of brief can produce a creative concept video and what it means throughout our process.
Pre-production: critical thinking for a creative concept
Staffordshire Police approached us with a broad objective rather than a detailed brief. They wanted to create a video to raising awareness about violence against women and girls. And while they had a tight deadline they knew the benefits of sitting down with Humanoid. Our collaboration created a more detailed brief.
Collaboration with our clients is a great way for us to create a more detailed brief. It is where we combine our expertise with your objectives. It allows us to explain how planning and time for creative thinking will benefit the end result. At our kick-off meeting with Staffordshire Police, we asked a series of questions to define the brief into a video that would lead a campaign aimed at perpetrators.
We then asked questions about what a profile of an offender might look like. This became the spark in our brainstorm. We were able to write a treatment for a creative concept where the focus wasn’t on the legal consequences of the crime. Instead the focus was on the personal fallout for the offender.
A briefer brief was perfect to create the space for critical thinking. One we could turn into a creative concept. We got under the skin of the topic by thinking about how we would feel if this was someone we knew doing this to one of our sisters, mothers, daughters, or female friends. This meant we needed a central character who viewers wouldn’t feel sympathetic toward, but perhaps empathetic. We knew that would heighten the emotions and further drive home the severity of his actions.
Staffordshire Police gave us the space to create our own emotional understanding of the topic. When we presented the written treatment, they could see how this emotion would help the next phases and end video.
Once the concept was agreed with the client, we planned the production. From the start we wanted to lean in the chosen creative direction and design everything about the video to be uncomfortable viewing.
To achieve this, we used a combination of filming techniques to create a video that felt raw and gritty. Unlike a traditional corporate video, we captured scenes using mobile phone footage and staged CCTV scenarios so that the audience felt like they were viewing ‘found footage’, something that we would all consider as genuine. And to increase the tension we shot the central character from a first person perspective to invite the viewer to imagine themselves in the offender’s situation.
Although the style of shots was an important element of the video’s design, to make the story even more immersive it was critical to cast the right actors. For maximum impact, we wanted their performances to feel raw and unrehearsed, so instead of working from a traditional script, we workshopped each scene on location and shaped the final narrative in post-production. It gave them ownership of their character, which brings the video to life.
Throughout production the focus was on realism. We decided to use a real 999 call handler as we felt that an actor wouldn’t feel as authentic. The improvised call was organised in conjunction with Staffordshire Police and recorded on set and at the police headquarters.
How we pulled together all the elements was key to creating an engaging piece of content. The overriding focus was to make sure the edit felt genuine and authentic, which is why we felt the video should be predominantly viewed in portrait.
For the first half of the video, we wanted the viewer to wonder how much of what they’re seeing is real. As the story unfolds, we transition from the live action footage into an animated multi-platform social media sequence documenting the online fallout.
The fast pace was designed to hook viewers from the start with a story that evolved rapidly and unpredictably. To accentuate this further, we used a series of jump cuts to create a sense of disorientation and used music to create atmosphere and build as you view.. Through this we were able to show how quickly a situation can escalate beyond someone’s control. We purposely decided to end with a slower paced scene to give the viewer a chance to reflect and understand the consequences of the perpetrator’s actions.
We produce each overarching story to work as a whole but to also work as shorter snippets or connecting ‘chapters’. This approach enables marketing teams to post the content across all channels. The long-form video – or story – is most effective on YouTube or a website. The shorter snippets or ‘chapters’ then tell a story in themselves as well as connect for a longer story for use across each social media channel including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
Despite never seeing the victim, the end video clearly shows how we all feel about domestic violence. It’s a story for and about the TikTok era, both in concept and execution.
The quality of production is in the techniques used, the concept and planning to keep a raw feel to the video. A smaller production footprint allows us to create gritty movement throughout the video. An approach that is low-budget but delivers high emotion.
It shows how the germ of an idea, in the hands of those who understand video, can be developed into a larger creative concept. And become a tactic in a marketing campaign that lends itself to changing behaviours. Allowing your video experts time to think critically and creatively will generate a range of ideas and the best end result from your bare-bones brief.
You can see this through the views and reactions to the video on Staffordshire Police’s Facebook page. Their highest video views are always reserved for local news but this video reached campaign highs for them. Over 4,000 views on Facebook alone as well as comments and 48 engagements were achieved. It shows how an uncomfortable subject can be dramatised successfully for an online audience.
If you have an idea of what you’d like to achieve with video get in touch with Ant Thane, our Client Services Director. Whether you have a germ of an idea or need help creating the brief, Ant can help. He will arrange for a scoping session with our team to ask you the questions you didn’t know you needed to ask. The result is a brief that allows us to produce a creative content video that delivers results.