How to Write a Brief: Videographers

Ok, you’ve gotten a freelancer’s interest and they’ve clicked on your assignment, now it is the brief that will clinch the deal.

We’ve found that the likelihood for them to respond is based upon 3 main factors:


Here, we’ll break them down for a video request.


Simply put, does the freelancer think that your project is worth their time. Good people only take up what interests them, so how do you spark that interest?

Obviously this is important. If you don’t put a price, then you may diminish the number of members who apply.

Money isn’t everything, and members will take on something with a lower price if the topic really interests them. Help them understand WHAT it is that you’re shooting.

  • Interviewing someone FAMOUS
  • An underwater shoot that may be technically difficult
  • A good cause like filming a marathon to fight cancer.

Every shoot has something interesting about it, the more details you can give about your shoot, the more you might spark someone’s interest


One of the greatest problems when working as a freelancer is dealing with 1) clients who don’t pay or pay very late and 2) clients who don’t know what they want

It’s very unlikely that the freelancer will ever meet the client in person and really has little ability to hold them accountable. So help them out, by demonstrating that they can trust you!

Who are you?

Help the freelancer know what your publication is and why you do what you do.

I always include a template explanation about the company who is publishing the work

What’s the final product?
A journalist’s reputation will take them a long way. They also truly care about the work that they do. This means that wherever their work ends up, could be a major factor in who they work with. Let them know how their work will be used and what the final product will be.

Immediately in the brief, state when you pay and what the process is for payment. This 1) saves you the time of sharing with them later and 2) ensures that they know all of your processes before taking up the project

What’s your selection process?
Be clear and upfront to the candidates about whether you are seeking candidates for an immediate job or identifying people for a potential opportunity. Help them understand your selection process, so they know how fast to respond. Are you simply looking for the best price or is there an entire process to being selected? The more transparent you are, the more trust you build

Response time
You demand that the freelancers respond to your inquiries quickly. Show the same level of respect and respond back to your candidates’ questions in a timely manner. If you demonstrate you are as concerned as them, they’ll trust you more


This is probably the most useful aspect as it will ensure you receive a quality product and you demonstrate to the freelancer that you’re a professional.

#1 Know what you want!

If you’re still in the creative development stage, STATE THAT. The freelancer might be able to help out.

Otherwise, provide a link to an example of what you want to see. This will immediately explain everything that you may fail to convey with words AND it save you a ton of time explaining and editing


  • Consider: when do you want content uploaded for you and when do you need a finished product.
  • Things may come up and there may need to be a rescheduling or Internet may go down on location and the content can’t be uploaded immediately. So give yourself an extra 5–7 days if you also need to be doing editing
  • If it is news connected to a timely event, then let us know when the event is occurring, when do you need to publish? Be sure to be specific as to the exact time you need it uploaded — be sure to state timezone

What technical equipment do you need?

Here’s an overview of the questions for pondering that we always send our clients. Highly suggested to have answers before you get to work on the brief!

Shooting specs

  • What type of camera do you need?
  • What type of lens do you need?
  • Frame rate: 30fps is usually best if there isn’t a lot of motion like interviews and it ensures better lighting in low-light situations.
  • 60fps is great for sports in outdoor environments, sunny days. It is higher quality and thus larger file sizes.
  • Pixels: 1920x1080px
  • 1080px is Full HD, usually not that important for internet as most mobile phones can’t handle the downloading speed
  • 720 x 480 would work well if the video is to be viewed on mobile devices


  • Lighting is key to having the best quality video and natural light is king
  • If you are shooting in-doors, do you need lighting equipment?
  • Are you shooting at night?
  • If you control where and when the shoot will be, can you organize it in so that it is outside or inside near windows? Can you organize it during the afternoon so there is plenty of light?


  • Do you need high-quality sound for interviews?
  • An apple headphones microphone will often work for news standups, but it will be distracting on the view
  • Is a lapel microphone needed?
  • If you are not able to connect a lapel mic to the speaker, then will you need a boom mic to pick up all the sound? Best when speaking outside.


Most important for this is to include a couple of links to previous videos that you’ve done and really like

  • What view should it be? Vertical or Horizontal?
  • From what angle do you want the interviews to be in

- Full body

- Waist up

- From the side


  • What should be in the background for the interviews?
  • Suggestion to use prime lenses to make the background out of focus (blurry) and sharp focus on interviewee


  • Request movement in screen
  • Show the entire process of a story (ie if it is about rebuilding after an earthquake, show people laying the bricks, show destruction and the building process, interview someone affected by the earthquake, then show them in their home so we see how their life is now, etc.)

That’s a lot of info, but hopefully it will help you connect with some amazing professionals to produce great stories!

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