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Video Production: How to Decide to Hire Professionals or DIY (Do It Yourself)

san francisco video production

Video is now well on it’s way to being an essential way for businesses of every kind to communicate. We see a proliferation of uses for video: marketing, recruitment, branding, sales conversions, tech support, presentations, company events and more.  As more companies strive to increase the amount of video content they create, at some point, the question will be asked: “Why don’t we just do it ourselves”? It’s a great question and in many cases the answer will be “you should”!  It’s important to note that just because you have a pen, it doesn’t mean you’re Shakespeare. In other words, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  To help you through this important decision, I wanted to walk through the pros and cons of each route so you can decide which path makes sense for your goals.

The Do it Yourself Path

*When Quality Matters

Typically, it’s helpful to think about where your video will be positioned in the ‘sales funnel‘. First impressions matter. If a viewer is just learning about your brand, then it’s typically important to make that great first impression with high quality and shorter content. Give them the ‘elevator pitch‘.

Once they have the high level overview, it’s easier to justify a less highly produced video that helps address the mid-stage concerns and helps them make evaluations about how your brand may be relevant to them.

As they approach the decision point about a purchase, the conversion stage, I think the content can be purely ‘transactional’ and inform them about a special offer. By this time, they have already decided they are interested and just need a reason to pull the trigger.


If you aren’t in a hurry, it frequently can make sense to attempt to create the content in-house.  Video shoots on files not tape these days so you can frequently make a few attempts before you settle on what you want. The same goes for editing, if you have time, it’s certainly possible to experiment, get more educated and make something good yourself.


It’s also a nice idea to try and increase your team’s proficiency with video with a ‘trial by fire’ scenario. If you can afford to make a few mistakes along the way, the DIY method is a great educator.


At times, a polished video product can potentially work against you. Authenticity can really help endear you to your audience and in many cases, letting your audience see ‘behind the scenes’ can help remove the element of the unknown and bolster trust. For events, shooting it yourself is a great easy way to help your audience get a taste of what the event was like.


If the project is likely to involve a bunch of variables, lots of moving parts, different assets, etc. it can be an issue to do it yourself. There are many different issues that come along with complexity: different formats, lost time, damaged or destroyed data, hardware, cost overruns, damaged relationships, you name it!


If cost is a big issue, you’ll almost certainly want to explore the DIY options. Just be careful, there can absolutely be costs of doing it the wrong way, missed opportunities, having to do things over, having to explain. Watch out for hidden costs too, if you shoot bad footage, maybe an editor can work with it, but it might be cheaper to hire  a pro to get it right the first time.

The Reasons to Hire professionals

Time is Money

Among the more obvious reasons you might want to hire professionals to help with your project are that you don’t have time. It’s easy to underestimate how long it can take to create a polished product, especially when it comes to editing, graphics and music licensing.

 Don’t Know How

With the wide variety of tools, settings, formats and variables involved in creating quality video content, it even takes us professionals significant time to keep up with it all. Then, there’s the art of what we do. Video storytelling takes a developed sense of timing, a critical ear and eye.  If you don’t create video content on a regular basis, you are almost certainly going to make a few mistakes, some may be un-fixable. You need to decide if you really think you know how to make it all come together and get you a result you can stand behind.

*Have a Budget? *

If you have a budget, then the option to hire professionals becomes possible. It can typically cost anywhere between 5K-50K for a professionally produced video, and even more. For us, the average seems to be in the 5-30K range. One smart idea is to try an use existing assets like video, *photos and graphics. You might even consider shooting some video yourself and hiring a pro to edit it.  I’m biased of course, but I can’t stress enough that you get what you pay for and there’s a very good reason that the best talent gets paid higher rates: *It reflects on the end video product and ultimately on you.

Quality Counts

Video can do a great deal in helping your audience engage with your message, but you have to do it right. Thanks to You Tube, iPhone and the increasing availability of cheap/high quality production equipment, the online marketplace is cluttered with video content now. The bar for engaging content has been set very high. It’s not just enough to make ‘a video’ now you have to make the right video. This is a generalization of course but in order to be successful, I believe video needs to engage, persuade and connect emotionally to reach it’s full potential. This is done with sufficient planning, quality production techniques, quality creative, quality storytelling and quality execution across the board.

I hope these tips help you decide with path is right for your project. If you want some more helpful perspective, check out our complimentary downloadable guide outlining 5 ways you can use video to help your organization grow, complete with case studies and examples!

Hungry for even more insight? Download our free Online Video Marketing Guide: Learn How to Promote your Organization with Video (Free Download)**

Good luck!

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