What Is a Sizzle Reel?

Sizzle reels are all about getting your message across to your audience with impact ! They are the perfect way for you to present your idea, project or product to a potential buyer or audience in a way that no other medium can!

A sharp fast-moving video that comes across with impact is the most powerful way to get across a concept or idea to someone. If "a picture is worth 1000 words" then a video has got to be worth 1000 pictures…! And that's putting it mildly!

It's a visual world... And if you want to get your point across, engage people's interest or sell your product... Nothing connects more strongly than a well-made, sharp and fast-moving video!

The Definition of a "Sizzle Reel "…

Definition of: Sizzle Reel

* This is a special type of video production for a specific purpose... It is a short (2 – 5 minute), high-energy, fast-moving video that gets across an idea, information or preview to an audience, client or customer with impact.

What Composition Elements Define This Type of Video Production?

Impact and/or energy and a rapid overview as opposed to an in-depth look!

It Is Used Primarily to Deliver a Key Message or Preview to a Particular Audience...

  • It is quite often used to launch a publicity campaign for products and services, or... 
  • Give a rapid rundown of what an audience (or an entertainment project producer) might expect to see in a upcoming feature film, TV or video production.

A Few Other Names That You Will Hear for This Type of Video-Making Technique Are...

  • Ripomatic
  • Pitch Reels
  • Demo Reel
  • Look Books
  • Mood/Tone Film
  • Show Reels
  • Media Highlight Reels
  • Public-Relations Video
  • Video Pitches
  • Electronic Press Kit Videos
  • Promo Videos

What Can This Type of Video Production Do for You... The Business Person or Video Producer?

  • Attract customers to your business. 
  • Inform and interest your clients in your products and services.
  • Give fans a teaser of what the full-length video production you are working on will look like.

Sizzle reels can be used on a variety of video sharing and communication platforms. 

They are especially perfect for social media as they are a great way to present fresh and relevant content to your customers or audience on your social media channels.

Here Are Some Examples of "Sizzle Reels"...

This type of video is a short presentation. Usually no longer than five minutes. That is plenty of time to get across your point without losing your perspective fan's, client's, buyer's or customer's interest.

It is always short and to the point... Bang – Bang! You want to grab their attention, show them all they need to know and leave them a bit curious and wanting more information!

Here are a few examples...

These types of video production's are often used as business or sales videos for projects that are being launched or that have not been fully developed and need backing. It can consist of video footage of locations, interviews with personnel, mock-ups of the finished product etc...Here is a business promotion sizzle reel!

In this "Ripomatic" (Sizzle Reel)... Chris Weakley uses footage taken from various sources and puts them to music to give a prospective client the look and feel of a proposed video game.

In the case of TV or movie projects ... This type of promotional video shows the characters that would be in the production. It would also rapidly show and give a feel for what the finished production would look like and an idea of what the characters would bring to that project. Here's a sizzle reel for the television show... Pawn Stars .


How Do You Create a "Sizzle Reel"...

 Just like other types of video advertising, this type of video has one very basic objective to achieve...

Sizzle reels quickly convey your key message to your target audience... With impact!

Your Audience and Sizzle Reels...

Put yourself in the audience's place ... Will they be entertained and really "get" what you are trying to get across with this video? That's how you edit "for the audience"! 

Whoever your target audience is…  The sizzle reel is a tool to get "out the word" (let everybody know) about what you have to offer to your audience, clients, customers or fans. 

As a video producer or video editor… Making this type of video can be a creative and fun challenge. 

These videos have to be short, impactful and to the point! You have to really be able to impinge on the audience.

Often times… In putting together this type of video production… You have to bring together a wide range of media (video, audio, graphics etc.) to make the production work. 

When people sit down to watch a video… Any sort of video…

They want to be entertained! It is absolutely the key point to remember when you're making any type of video! It's a point that video editors must understand thoroughly and completely when their editing…  It's a creative challenge to make a fast-paced, fun and impactful video on some product or service that is actually kind of dry or mundane. But… It can be done! 

And also... producing these types of promotional videos are a good way to sharpen your creative and editing skills as you go on to produce other types of videos. As always… The best advice for any video producer or video editor is "have fun with it!"

A Couple of Tips If You Are Producing a "Sizzle Reel" Yourself...

Related Articles – Video Production Camerawork
  • As in all video productions... know your rights and responsibilities. Are you using copyrighted video, photos and/or music? If you're shooting new footage as part of a video production... are you using (and have people sign) waivers so that you have the right to their image? Make sure that you own the rights to the materials used in your production. Don't open yourself or your client up to any sort of legal entanglements that could cost you (or them) a lot of time and money to solve.

Related Articles – Video Production Camerawork
  • If you think you're going to produce several sizzle reels (maybe for the same client over a period of time) you might want to consider making up a "sizzle reel template". It will give you a faster way to knock out a sizzle reel on short notice. You can mock up several types of templates that use particular types of music and graphics so that you can then drop in the rest of your material quickly.

Having One Made for You? A Couple of Things to Take into Consideration…

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  • This tip applies for any type of video production or presentation... but… For a Sizzle Reel especially... You need to really know  what your audience wants to see and hear. This type of video production is almost wholly a video advertisement. So... Do your fan's, client's, customer's etc. want a lot of flash, do they want facts and figures, do they want to get a sense of the emotional content of the production etc. What is it that will most get through to them and make them want to watch the video and by the finished product.

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  • These types of videos are marketing tools that represent you and your business. The quality of the production  will be associated (in your customer's mind) with the quality of your company. The two go hand-in-hand. So… Do it well or… Don't do it at all! Consumers have many choices and a natural inclination to spend wisely... they will go with the individual or company that presents itself the best and with the best quality production. I think you would agree that it's hard to evaluate a company any other way… So... If you're going to make a sizzle reel or have one made for you... Make it the highest quality you can! 

So… What a sizzle reel wants to capture is the definition of Sizzle itself...  

Zing, Zip, Pizzazz, Excitement, Exciting or Dazzling...

Or… If you're a video producer... And you make one that is bad... Well… It could mean the sound of your customer frying you in the roasting pan (laugh)... 

Let's hope not! Just use the above tips and I'm sure you'll make a great video that everyone will love!

Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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