Tips for Picking the Right Video Production Company
There’s no "I" in team (but there is a ‘me’)
Length of Engagement
Do you have one video project or are you looking for an ongoing production partner relationship? If you are only expecting to do one project, then you can shop for a vendor that meets the specific needs of that one project. If it’s more of an ongoing need, you might want to find a vendor with some versatility, flexibility and a wider background of experience.
For example, you might need some video shot at an event with people on a stage giving Powerpoint presentations now, but later, you may need an animated motion graphics piece created and that partner might be harder to find in a quick turnaround. If you only need animated videos, then working with an ENG camera operator doesn’t make much sense. Production companies typically will dabble in many areas but by looking at examples of work they have done that very similar to what you need, you can get better results. Maybe you need drone footage? That’s probably not something you want to be paying for them to be learning on your dime!
Size of Team
Having a resource that has a full team might cost more but they can also do more. Having a relationship with a team can add all kinds of benefits but at a cost. If cost is most important, then finding someone versatile might be more important. Don’t forget that people get sick, take vacations & move on. You don’t want to be left hanging if a key person is unavailable. Having a team is a hedge.
How much creativity might be required? In other words, do you need creative team to develop ideas or just “a dude with a camera” ? Generally, the earlier in the sales process, the ‘glossier’ it needs to be. Customer-facing content, especially when your video is making a first impression in the customer’s mind, probably needs more creative love that a tutorial for a customer who just bought your product.
Talented people tend to get booked up and stay busy. In a way, the better you are at creating great video, the less available you are. You’ll surely need a mix of talent and access so finding out early what key skills are likely to be needed is critical. If you expect an on-going engagement, make sure you plan accordingly to leave time in the plan to get onto the calendar of your preferred team.
If you are a tech company you probably don’t want a wedding videographer to make your company brand anthem video. You’ll benefit from the insights, experience and familiarity of the genre by working with a company that does videos similar to yours all the time. It might be less important if it’s production techniques they know can cross over, or if it’s a specific skill or understanding required, it could be critical.
Everybody wants the best price but you get what you pay for (at least, if you don’t pay for it, it’s not reasonable to expect it). You budget is what it is but just ask around a bit to make sure you are being reasonable about if you think you can achieve your goals on your budget. Clients are never happy when project fall flat. You want something you can stand behind and be proud of. Most video production companies charge market rates for the experience, tools and time involved. Once you start cutting corners, it’s hard to stop.
We’ve all heard about the ‘Good /Fast/Cheap' thing (meaning you can pick 2 of those in any transaction). Some companies can flex their model to adapt that model by project. For example, a big video studio with lots of overhead probably will have less ability to lower costs. Likewise, a small boutique agencyÂ maybe isn’t going to have the breadth of experience and talent that a much larger shop will, but it’d probably be cheaper and faster.Â Consider which of these are priorities to you and if those may shift on a project by project basis.
I hope that helps you evaluate video production companies for your next project and beyond!