What is a Sizzle Reel?
Good question! Sizzle reels are also referred to as demo reels, pitch reels, highlight reels, montage videos, promo videos…the list goes on. You’ve definitely seen them before. Sizzle reels are fast-paced stylized promotional videos that are standard choice for news clips, teasers, trailers, and event coverage.
Lots of different “types” of videos can be sizzle reels, so it’s important to make a distinction here. A sizzle reel isn’t a type of video as much as a way of making video. Sizzle reels employ techniques that are geared towards strong first impressions and fast branding, which makes them popular for both B2B pitches and B2C communications as well as promotions.
Make your Business “Sizzle”
Advertising executives and investors want to know why they’re spending money on your campaign. A solid sizzle reel demonstrates that 1) you have a marketable idea or concept, 2) your vision of that concept is worthwhile, and 3) you can produce that deliverable.
But why sizzle reels? One of the reasons these videos leave such a good first impression is because they contain more content than other types of video of similar length, which makes them harder to execute but more rewarding to watch. When perfected, a sizzle reel pulls viewers in and owns attention spans for its duration.
Some of the best techniques for successful sizzle reels?
Use a Montage of Images
Pictures are very powerful tools, even in the fast-paced age of digital video. A targeted picture “freezes” the camera lens and guides the viewer to specific, unambiguous information. Like graphics, they can be used to instantly convey information. It’s not uncommon for sizzle reels to only contain images.
Take Advantage of Various Narrators
A quick and simple way to make your words more engaging is to use several live narrators rather than a single voice-over artist. Lots of news and gossip sites use this technique regularly in their reels. Several speakers will deliver pieces of the script and finish each others words in a relay-narrative.
Include Several Subjects with a Common Thread
If you want to promote your brand there is no better way to do it than by highlighting fun events from the past year or showcasing best-selling products and services in a rapid-fire promo. This is fast branding and it builds consumer confidence quickly. If you think about it, a lot of client testimonial videos are sizzle reels.
Use a Well-known Song
Lots of corporate videos lean towards elevator music because paying for the rights to popular songs can be undesirable. But for sizzle reels it just might be worth it. Remember, B2B pitches and promos are often first-impression videos. A well-known song can put skeptical viewers in a more receptive state of mind.
Know Your Rights
Sizzle reels are image-heavy, which makes them more prone to copyright infringement. Try to find free-use images on Flickr Creative Commons and iStockphoto. Google has recently added a free-use image search option. If you really want to use something that’s copyrighted you’ll need to ask for permission.