Ultimate Guide to Creating Sizzle Reels

Ultimate Guide to Creating Sizzle Reels for Movies, Films, Music Videos, Products, and More

One of the main advantages of video is its ability to help someone process a lot of information in a short amount of time. Video has the potential to give someone everything they need to make a decision, because its combination of video and auditory stimulation makes it possible to show, rather than tell, why your product, service, and more are worthy of their time and attention.

Ultimate Guide to Creating Sizzle Reels

One type of video that can be especially powerful when it comes to driving decisions is known as the Sizzle Reel,” sometimes referred to as a Showreel,” “Highlight Reel,” or Teaser” depending on the industry. These videos are short promotional videos that pack an incredible amount of information in a limited amount of time, often through multiple clips and imagery. They are used across a wide range of industries, from TV commercials to Kickstarter product funding.

The following is a comprehensive guide to creating high quality sizzle reels that will capture the attention of your audience, encouraging them to learn more about the topic or driving them to a decision.

About Zipinmedia Video Production Company

The Ultimate Guide to Sizzle Reels is the product of Zipinmedia Video Productions.

Zipinmedia is a full service video production company that can help you with producing, creating, and editing your sizzle reels. Located in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, Zipinmedia works with companies both small and large across the United States, and can provide you with a high quality sizzle reel at a competitive rate. Learn more about Zipinmedia by contacting us today at (305) 482-1285.

What is a Sizzle Reel?

Sizzle Reels” are a form of promotional video. They typically, although not always, integrate multiple video clips and montages, all designed to entice someone into a decision. There is no formal sizzle reel definition.” The term sizzle reel” and the sizzle reel meaning can be different depending on who is searching for it.


Professional editing a

Movie and television previews are one popular example of a sizzle reel. Rather than one long scene, these promotional videos integrate multiple movie clips to promote the film, hint at a story or something interesting that the audience may want to see, and then use voiceovers or other tools to keep engagement high.

But sizzle reels are not limited to things like movie previews alone. Almost any industry can – and often does – use sizzle reels. The term itself is a blanket term for promotional videos that utilize montages in a way that is exciting and/or engaging, which means that it can be used in video marketing, product sales, hospitality, and so much more.

In fact, even in the film industry itself, a sizzle reel is frequently the tool of choice for pitching TV shows or movies to the general public. Most of the films and television programs you see today began as a type of sizzle reel that was created and pitched to studios.

What’s Involved in a Sizzle Reel?

Any engaging, ideally exciting montage promotional video can be called a sizzle reel,” which means that often when someone wants a sizzle reel they may be looking for any number of different types of video. Usually, what theyre looking for is the following:

  • A Short Video – Most sizzle reels outside of the movie/television industry are only between 30 seconds and 2 minutes maximum. In the film industry they may be as long as 2 to 5 minutes, but that would be considered a long video for almost any other purpose.
  • Engaging Clips that Tell a Story – A collection of clips on its own is generally not considered a sizzle reel. The term “sizzle” specifically refers to the idea that the clips are engaging enough and, ideally, exciting enough to make people excited for what they’re watching. To do that, they also typically need to tell a story.
  • There is an End Goal – Some videos are designed for branding, making people aware of the company or introducing a product. Others are informative. There are also promotional videos that are a bit softer, just to let people know about something in advance. Sizzle reels tend to be more powerful videos, designed to get someone to make a purchase, see a movie, or really draw someone into the decision you want them to make.

As you can see, there are otherwise not a lot of rules for these types of videos. In fact, sizzle reels are also an I know it when I see it” type of video, which is why it often is best to integrate experts when your goal is to have a sizzle reel created to promote your company, product, service, or film.

But you WILL know it when you see it. Thats what makes sizzle reels such a popular choice for those interested in promotional videos. Theyre highly effective, capture attention, and are a great way to promote a product, service, brand, film, or event.

Who Uses Sizzle Reels

Sizzle reels have many names, including Showreels,” “Highlight Reels,” “Teasers,” “Video Pitches,” “Demo Reels” and Pressers,” among others. These many names are reflective of the many industries that sizzle reels can be – and are – used in.


Documentaries are frequently gripping, and are a fascinating form of media. But the pace of the documentary is often more slow and methodical. It can sometimes be a challenge to get people to be excited about documentaries, even if the content of the film is outstanding and the topic is relevant to a wide audience.

Sizzle reels give the viewer a chance to be more excited about seeing the documentary by piecing together parts that tease about its message. This makes it one of the most successful ways to promote an upcoming documentary. For those that need funding for the documentary, sizzle reels put together an idea of what the story can be, helping investors determine whether or not it is worth funding.

Movies, Films, and TV Shows

Similarly, movies and TV shows are perhaps the best known users of sizzle reels. By piecing together the highlights of a movie or television series in a way that absorbs the viewer, they are able to show people the value that theyll get by watching the entire film, convincing them to commit to the cost or timeline.

These types of videos, along with documentary videos, tend to be the only ones that are on the longer side. They can be as little as 30 seconds (enough for a standard commercial), but can also be played throughout an entire commercial break or as a preview before a film. When used to pitch a TV show or movie, the sizzle reels can be even longer, which means that 2, 3, sometimes 4 minutes is not that uncommon.

Corporate Video Sizzle Reel

Corporate Advertising

Sizzle reels made a name for themselves in the film industry. But it is the corporate world that has been quick to embrace this style of video, especially in the world of corporate advertising. Sizzle reel video production is often used as a tool to engage people with the entirety of the business, so that they have a reason to feel connected to the company and interested in calling.

Within the corporate advertising world, you can see sizzle reels used across a wide range of industries. We at Zipinmedia, for example, have created:

  • Finance Sizzle Reels
  • Franchise and Restaurant Sizzle Reels
  • Marketing Agency Sizzle Reels
  • Retail Sizzle Reels
  • Hospitality Sizzle Reels
  • Electronics and Technology Sizzle Reels, and More

The broad range of approaches to producing these types of video open so many doors for both the sizzle reel video production company, like us, and the unique ways that your business can be advertised. Because of how fast humans process information and the value of giving them all the promotional info they need up front, these types of showreels provide an outstanding advertising tool for businesses to implement.

Product Showcase

Products can also be advertised and marketed using a sizzle reel, especially when there are multiple uses or situations where multiple clips can help promote the product in the eye of the consumer.

Sizzle reels are also a great way to showcase not only a specific product, but also an array of products that you create. For example, a product manufacturer might use a sizzle reel to show buyers or investors all the different items they develop, giving the business a look of professionalism, success, and depth that helps with both branding and consumer decision making.

Fundraising Pitch

Sizzle reels are also used in fundraising, both with small donors and with large donors. Companies that are looking for an investment to fund their projects often create sizzle reels to bring to investors.

Businesses, inventors, and other new ventures also frequently use sizzle reels as their advertising of choice for attracting Kickstarter donations and other small donor resources. Sizzle reels get people excited both about the product/service/project, and about their ability to participate in it and be a part of its success.

Medical Procedures and Care

Sizzle reels may seem a bit out of place in the healthcare field – after all, we dont typically see healthcare as a field that can be Exciting.” But there are actually many situations where these types of short videos can be useful.

It can be used to highlight research. It can be used to show the vast number of services offered. It can be a way to help make something – like getting a COVID vaccine – seem more exciting. There are ample ways that the medical and healthcare field can utilize sizzle reels with just a little bit of creativity.

Other Business and Professional Uses

Because the idea behind a sizzle reel is one that can appeal to so many different audiences, the possibilities for this type of video production are nearly endless. They can be used for:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Television or Film Pitches
  • Resumes or Partnership Requests
  • Satire Content
  • Recruitment, and More

Some of the most frequent requests we receive for this type of video here at Zipinmedia are actually from marketing companies that would like to integrate these types of video into their campaigns. It is a highly effective promotional tool, and one that can be used for essentially any industry if produced correctly.

Videographer filming for a sizzle reel.

How to Make a Sizzle Reel

As a video production company, were a little biased. But we have found that it is difficult for most businesses to create sizzle reels without help, as it tends to take experience to recognize the most effective way to choose, cut, mix, and storyline these clips together.

But for those that would like to create a sizzle reel on their own, the following steps are the best way to make sure that your final production is ready to sell you, your product, or your services.

Identify Your Audience

Before you even begin to map out your video, you first have to identify who your target audience is and what it is that they prefer to view.

Sometimes, this can be self-explanatory. Action movies know that their audience wants to see a taste of what the action will look like, for example. But when we get into more specific sizzle reels – like those for marketing and corporate use, or when youre looking for donors – you have to identify the demographics, viewing preferences, and selling points. That may change the narrative of the video considerably.

Find Your Selling Points

Imagine you have decided to open up a restaurant, and youre looking for a way to get people to come eat. You wouldnt want to create a menu that is exactly the same as every other restaurant, with food and ambiance that is also exactly the same as every other restaurant, because if you did, no one is going to choose you over their loyalty to your competitors.

You have to be different, and you have to offer something that people want. The same is true with sizzle reels. Generic” isnt what wows people. Youll want to think about your product, services, or whatever you are trying to promote and determine what it is that makes you special. Then, make sure that at least some of those points are highlighted within the clips.

Determine Your Goal: Teaser or Summary

Sizzle reels typically have one of two goals:

  • They want to tease at something to create interest in seeing or experiencing the whole thing.
  • They want to show the entirety of something in order to get people to make a decision.

For example, an escape room would not want someone to see everything that makes the experience amazing, because that would give away the secrets. Instead, it wants to tease at them just enough that it sparks interest and makes people feel a strong desire to finish the experience.

But a fundraising push by a non-profit has no desire to tease at something. It wants to show you exactly what they do and who they are, giving you reason to support them financially or otherwise. Hinting at what you are doing is definitely not going to be a selling point in that industry.

Most movies use teasers, since they still want you to see the film without entirely knowing the ending. But other industries may want one or the other, all depending on what the conversion goal is.

Grab the Footage – Or Create It

Once you have your audience and your goal, its time to start collecting the footage that youre going to share. Perhaps not surprisingly, youll want to determine what footage is the most exciting and the most engaging, along with what your viewers are going to want to see.

For example, when we created our Zipinmedia Sizzle Reel, we wanted to summarize our work (not tease it) and show people all the different industries, types of video, customers, and more that represent us. That means finding the best clips from only distinctive industries (since we want to show our range) and making sure the footage pieces together well. You can see the quality of the final outcome, below:

Now, we work in the video production industry, which means that we have video that is at-the-ready and able to be used for these types of productions. If you dont currently have video, youll want to produce or start filming video that can be pieced together for this purpose, or contact a video production company to help you produce it.

Youll need many different clips in order to create one of these videos, so the sooner you begin and the more you have, the better your final design will be.

Determine Score or Script

Sizzle reels are rarely silent. There is almost always some music in the background – usually upbeat, sometimes thrilling, unless the content of the sizzle reel is darker in tone.

Then there may be voiceovers or text call outs, in which case youll also need a script. Not every video requires a script or voiceovers, but when yours does, it will need to have that pre-written and recorded.

Audio typically precedes video, since the footage will be cut at the marks that the audio makes possible. However, this is not always the case. In most movie trailers, for instance, the music is made custom to the trailer in order to make the sound as compelling as the visuals. If you plan on composing music for your piece or adding sound effects for extra punch, you’ll want to edit the video first and then do the music and sound to match the look and feel. 

Your Narrative: Edit the Video to Tell a Story

Every sizzle video should also have a narrative. Sometimes that narrative is simple: heres the work that weve done. Other times that narrative is more complex. For example, if creating a television show sizzle reel, youll want to give an idea what the show is about using only 30 seconds to a few minutes of clips, but you wont be able to fit (nor will you want to) the entire story within the time range. That means youll need to determine what your narrative and story will be.

Editing a sizzle reel on premiere pro.

Once you have an idea of what youre trying to tell the audience, thats when youll need to start the editing process. Youll be cutting clips from all of your collected footage that continue to follow that narrative and make the process fun and engaging.

This is where the magic happens, but it is also the most complex. With so many different types of industries, footage, audio, goals, and more, it often takes a lot of planning and vision to create a sizzle reel that pops.

Final Adjustments

Since youre taking footage from multiple sources, presumably with multiple cameras, lighting, and more, you are likely to need to make adjustments so that everything is uniform. This may include color corrections, sound edits, video clarity editing, and other post-production requirements.

Finally, now is the time to add any graphics, text, animation, or other components you may need to add. It is always best to do this after the spliced video has been put together.


Finally, your sizzle reel is ready to go. It can be published across a wide variety of avenues, including YouTube, social media, your website, or as a TV commercial/movie preview, depending on the type of video that youve decided to create.

It takes some time, effort, and expertise to create a high quality sizzle reel, but there is no denying that once its completed, it is one of the most effective tools at your disposal for promoting your business or other media.

Common Questions About Sizzle Reels

Sizzle reels have been used for decades. But it is only in the last 10 years or so, as social media and YouTube really became mainstays in the marketing and advertising world, that businesses outside of television and movie studios started to integrate these showreels into their campaigns.

For those that have considered this type of media, that means that you likely have questions. The following are some answers to your most common questions about sizzle reels, broken down into two sections:

  • Film and Television
  • Business Marketing, Fundraising, and Other

The reason we broke them down is because there are some key differences between them, and any attempt to answer these questions would be more difficult if we lumped them both together.

Sizzle Reels for Movies, TV, and Similar Media

Sizzle reels can be use for Movies & TV.

What’s The Purpose of the Sizzle Reel?

In the film and television industry, there are two different types of sizzle reels:

  • Pitches
  • Previews

Most of us understand things like movie and television previews. These are sizzle reels that promote a film or TV show to the potential audience, trying to get them to want to watch the show. They can be short advertisements, about 30 seconds, or long previews like those before other movies.

Sizzle reels are also used to PITCH these shows to studios and investors, and here is where sizzle reels really shine. The vast majority of the films and TV shows you see today started as sizzle reels, where the showrunner or producers created a 3 to 5 minute showreel and used it to pitch their idea to potential studios.

Where Should I Publish the Sizzle Reel Content? 

Sizzle reels that are used for pitching video ideas are typically private, as they are usually considered confidential until investors have been found. You may want to keep the video on a portable hard drive, or publish it using YouTubes private video” feature that protects it from unwanted viewers until the time is right to share it.

That is, unless you dont have contacts to pitch to. If youre finding that you dont have a way to get to studios directly, one way to promote your video is to put it on YouTube publicly and start promoting it on various channels. If youre able to get views and positive feedback, you can leverage that into trying to capture the attention of a studio. 

Sizzle reels that are there to promote the film to the broader public are often used as TV commercials, previews, and social media advertisements.

How Long Does It Take? 

From the time that youve decided to produce a sizzle reel to when it is ready to be viewed can depend on several factors. The biggest factor is how much footage you already have. If you need to create footage first in order to create the sizzle reel, then the question is going to be how long you need to compile the footage.

Here at Zipinmedia, we can create most sizzle reels – including creating the footage for the reel – in about 3 to 4 weeks. For DIY video creators, it usually takes about 2 weeks when you already have footage, and about 6 to 10 weeks or more when you do not, since producing all the video you need for the reel is often time consuming for DIY projects.

How Much Does It Cost?

Similarly, the cost of the sizzle reel can vary dramatically. A sizzle reel completed completely in-house, with no actors and self-edited will be close to free. Professional video production can cost anywhere from $750 to $10,000 per minute. Zipinmedia uses an efficient process that keeps costs lower than most other video production companies, but the amount of footage needed can still play a role, so we recommend contacting us for a quote.

How Long Should the Video Be?

In the film and television industry, a sizzle reel used for pitching an idea to studios can veer on the longer side. Professionally produced sizzle reels are often 3 to 5 minutes in length, sometimes as long as 7. Because movies and TV shows are so much longer (30 minutes to 3 hours), this is considered a short video for this industry, but a long video most other places.

Sizzle reel video on a laptop

The exception to this is for pitches that are first going to be public online, like YouTube or social media. Those can still be as long as 7 minutes, but may also be as short as 1.5 to 2 minutes given the attention span of the audience. Sizzle reels used as commercials for existing films are usually 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

How Much Does Quality Matter?

Quality matters considerably with a sizzle reel. A collection of low quality clips pieced together in a way that is unprofessional is highly unlikely to find investors or studios. Sizzle reels – even more so than other videos – tend to need to be perfect, because when timing or clip choice is off, the result can often be a jumbled mess.

That is one of the reasons that we mentioned that DIY sizzle reels still tend to take a few weeks to complete, even when you have all the footage. Because, without experience, it takes a lot of time to perfect the final video.

Who Is Editing It? (Yourself Or Professional)

It is always recommended that you hire a professional if you are able. Sizzle reels require a considerable amount of editing, because youre taking brief splices of different footage that each need to be timed perfectly, and you need to be able to tell a story with the content.

There are wonderful examples of DIY sizzle reel editing, however. For those that do have the time, ability, and vision to put together a demo reel on their own, there is ample cost savings outside of the time it takes away from other forms of revenue. Nevertheless, because were discussing the reels that will be used for the television and film industry, quality and timing can matter even more there than they do in some other fields, and thus it is helpful to have a professional video editor if you are able.

How To Get Exposure and Measure Success

If youre bringing the video directly to studios and investors, any added exposure is often unnecessary. But if youre not connected to any, or youre using your sizzle reel as a promotional tool for an existing film, then what youll want to receive are views.

YouTube, as the leading free video hosting platform, is often the best place to put your video and promote it. Sizzle reels can also be used as advertisements, both on YouTube and on other websites. If youre placing your sizzle reel on social media, youll often want to run an active account beyond the video itself in order to obtain followers and views.

Most of these video sharing platforms have analytics that can help you measure their success. On websites like Facebook, youll want to develop a following to your page, and if you can grow your page to greater than 5,000 or 10,000 people, you may be able to get the attention of an investor. In YouTube, youll want to note views, likes,” and shares, all of which tend to indicate approval.

Sizzle Reels for Corporations, Small Businesses, Fundraising, and Marketing

Sizzle Reel boardroom pitch meeting

In the marketing world, sizzle reels can be quite different. These are representations of your business and brand. They tend to need to be exceedingly professional, sometimes even more so than a film industry sizzle reel, because the vast majority of them are consumer-facing and even those that are not consumer facing are being placed in front of business professionals that expect high quality pitches.

What’s The Purpose of the Sizzle Reel?

Sizzle reels, as a style of video, have more uses in the corporate world. They are typically used for:

  • Fundraising
  • Branding
  • Marketing

When pitching a product, service, or business idea to investors, sizzle reels can be a bit more like teasers – for example, if a new product is likely to be released soon – but in general most sizzle reels in the business world act as summaries. Decision makers and consumers both want to know that what theyre putting money into is going to give them a return.

These types of promotional sizzle reels may also serve as company overviews, recaps, or a chance to introduce multiple products and services in a short period of time.

Where To Publish the Content? 

Sizzle reels in the business world can be published almost anywhere, with no real limitations. YouTube, your website, your social media accounts, and more. Many Kickstarter crowdsource fundraising accounts utilize sizzle reels, and these types of video are consistently used as advertisements across nearly any form of video media, including television.

How Long Does It Take? 

When well organized, the time to completion on a corporate sizzle reel can be faster than those used in the film industry. That is due to two factors:

  • Shorter Videos
  • Fewer Footage Sources

Like any other type of video, there is always the potential that a recording may take longer, depending on the footage needed and how you need it designed. But, in general, a professional video production company like Zipinmedia can complete a sizzle reel in about 3 to 4 weeks, and most companies will take anywhere from 3 to 7 at most with only a few exceptions.

DIY sizzle reels may take longer, depending on how much footage you need, as there are often fewer resources available to support you without a professional team. A good estimate is between 4 to 9 weeks if youre trying to put together your own footage, although it will take less time if youre using existing footage.

Professional Sizzle Reel Video Editing

How Much Does It Cost?

Every professional video production company has different pricing. At Zipinmedia, our rates will vary on a number of factors for a 1 minute video. The average for this type of video is between $2000 and $4500 per minute.

Performing this type of work in house can still have costs, as youll have to organize workers or invest in video editing. The price can range from free to thousands of dollars, depending on the value of your time and the items you need to produce it, including a professional camera.

How Do You Create A Script For A Sizzle Reel?

Sometimes, no script is even needed. The content of the video can speak for itself, especially (although not exclusively) if the video already has dialogue.

If a script is necessary for the sizzle reel, it has to complement, not detract, from the video itself. Talking over the video is not always going to add to the value of the video. It is best to create a script first that highlights your most important talking points, and connect it with the audio, and then build the reel around it so that you can be certain that the video lines up. Consider a less is more” approach, since the point of a sizzle reel is for the content of the video to be exciting and engaging.

How Long Should the Video Be?

Unlike sizzle reels for TV shows and films, corporate sizzle reels should only be between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. The attention span of those watching the video tends to be shorter, and there are usually requirements about where the video plays that would limit the amount of time it can be on screen.

The only exception to this might be fundraising videos, particularly for websites like Kickstarter and for non-profits, as you may want to provide more highlights about the work that youre anticipating. Nevertheless, a short video that speaks highly of your business is always preferable.

Who Is Editing It? (Yourself Or Professional)

Because these are consumer facing videos, they should typically be edited by a professional. Editing footage from multiple avenues in a way that is engaging is difficult, especially in the corporate world, where creating an “engaging” video can already be a challenge.

DIY editing is possible using high end video editing software. You will also need a computer that can handle the demands of the video, as it tends to require a lot of resources to render.

How Long Should the Video Be?

There are so many ways to both promote the video and measure its success, especially when you’re discussing sizzle reels for many possible industries and uses.

The analytics for these videos can be difficult to parse, but there are tools that provide conversion data, view information, and more. At Zipinmedia, we found that many of our clients were lost when it comes to promotion, so we started a “post-post-production service” that allows us to use our expertise to find viewers and track success.

If you’re planning on promoting them yourself, it is best to go back and review your audience again:

  • Where are they?
  • What do you expect them to do?
  • How can you measure what their next action is?

Some video apps allow you to set up conversion tracking. For others, you can measure improvements in activities, or set up specific web links that are only seen on videos created for where it is being promoted. It is always recommended you track conversions and success, because you may need to replicate or change your activities in the future for other videos.

Get Started on Your Sizzle Reel

Video is a type of art. Sizzle reels are no different. It takes years of practice, vision, and more to create the perfect video – one that will make a direct impact on the viewer – and is far more than can be summarized within one page, especially when you consider all the different types, uses, and variations of sizzle reels that exist across hundreds of industries.

It does help to hire a professional video production company to create a sizzle reel for your business or idea. It is difficult to put an effective one together. But there are many historical examples of successful sizzle reels put together by those with limited experience. It can take some work, and a lot of creativity, but it is possible.

If youd like support for your sizzle reel, no matter where youre located in the United States, please contact Zipinmedia today.

Frequently Asked Questions | Our Video Production FAQ

We use a three step video production process - pre-production, production, and post-production. The goal is to reduce the time to completion, so that your video can be online and viewed within weeks, rather than months. The customer will have the most involvement in the post-production phase, where we will request edits and thoughts to perfect the final piece.  

The standard format for most online and broadcast is H.264 .MP4 files which we provide for our clients in several sizes, full quality to upload to their video platform of choice, as well as smaller files for presentations and self hosting videos on their website.

We work with all video formats and can provide high quality files to your professional specifications.

Yes! We provide a full license to our clients to use the raw footage we shoot for their project for any purpose. This is included in our licensing fees and contract. We won’t hold your footage hostage and are happy to transfer the footage at the end of a project to a hard drive the client provides. 

We accept suggestions, requests, and customization according to the purpose of your video. But if you'd like to be more hands off, you can trust that in our 10+ years of operations, we have the capabilities necessary to deliver final products that exceed expectations. 

Production price varies depending on the length of the video, the type of video, and how much travel is involved. With that in mind, our value is some of the highest in the industry, starting at $1200 and moving up gradually depending on the needs of the piece. We encourage you to contact us, as we are able to provide you with both a free quote and more information about how our prices and services operate.

We can. Because we're based in Miami, most local Florida videos require no or minimal additional investment for filming. But for out of state clients, travel expenses may need to be provided for. We will talk to you about this on our call. If travel budget is an issue, we often work with out of state production crews and manage the filming process remotely where budget is a concern. They shoot the video and we edit the final piece. It’s often something we do locally for other production companies.

We can request permission to use music from almost any record label, but we cannot guarantee a response. Some recording companies do not respond right away to licensing requests. Others do. We encourage you to call us to talk about the different options.

Typically our process is takes 3-4 weeks from production date. Now in some cases we can complete them quicker than this timeline. Each project is different. 

Examples of Our Work