Video is a big investment, no matter the size of your business
It requires your time, your finances, and a little vulnerability. It’s an opportunity to put a face and voice to your brand,perhaps for the first time ever. And if you do it right, the payoff is incredible - customer reach, brand loyalty, sales conversions, and the sense of satisfaction and pride in seeing your brand immortalized on video.
finding a company that will capture your story and stretch your dollars while producing quality work is essential.
Where do you start? Keep reading!
Any business decision requires an understanding of what you hope to accomplish and how much you’re willing to allocate toward that project. It’s important to ask yourself why you want a video and what you expect it to do for your business. You’ll want to make sure you’re staying true to your company’s brand, and staying within the budget you’re willing to work with.
Once you’ve established your budget and video concept, it's time to start looking for a company to make your dreams come to life! Video is a creative business, and every company does things a little differently. You want to pick a company whose work you appreciate, and whose people you can connect with, and whose reputation you can trust. Like any industry, there are businesses with integrity, and businesses who can pull some cheap tricks.
So here are a few steps to take before signing the contract.
Step 1: Research
Do a quick google search and see what video production companies pop up in your area, and read some company reviews if they are available. Talk to a friend or colleague about people they may know. A personal reference for a company will give you the best evaluation of the experience, so do this if you can! Browse their websites, watch demo reels, and more importantly, watch the videos they have produced for clients.
While you browse, ask yourself these questions:
What types of projects does this company take on? (are they like mine)
What types of clients hire this company? (are they like me)
Do the people on camera look comfortable and confident?
What overall impression do you have of this company's work?
Are they active on social media?
What value do they offer to their clients beyond the final video product?
As you research different companies, you'll start to get an idea for what things you really like, and what things you don't want. High five! Even if you stopped your search here, you'd already be ahead.
Additional video review tips
If you want to take your review process even further, here are some specific elements to look for in video that will reveal a lot about the style and skill of a production company.
AUDIO: Do these videos sound good? (voice sounds crisp and clear, good music choice and volume, limited/zero background noise.)
VIDEO: Are these videos visually pleasing? (variety of closeup and distance shots, interviews are in-focus, good lighting, steady camerawork)
EDITING: Are the stories communicated effectively with a beginning, middle and end? Does the pace feel natural? Are the graphic elements and colors well-designed and consistent?
Step 2: Reach out
Once you've selected your top 2-3 companies you'd like to pursue, give them a call or fill out the contact form on their website to let them know you're interested! Most companies assume that you'll be talking with other companies for quotes, but it is always a good practice to let them know that you're still deciding which company to hire.
Now that you've got direct contact, you'll have an even better idea of what it would be like to work with them on the other side of a signed contract.
Take note of their personality and professionalism:
Response time to correspondence
Interest in you/your project
Understanding of your video concept
Guidance they provide before sending a proposal or quote
How you feel communicating with them
Step 3: run the numbers
Wow! after a few phone calls and emails, you've got some proposals to review. Look them over and see what you think. Does the concept they outline match up with the your vision for the video?
You might have budget numbers that vary wildly for a single video. Just because a company is offering you a video at the lowest cost, doesn't mean that the quality of the video will match some of the higher-priced competitors. Take note of what each company is able to provide in terms of pre-production, production, and post-production.
Here are a few questions to help you understand where each company is getting its cost estimates:
PRE-PRODUCTION: How much time they spend creating the shot list, scouting locations, hiring crew, and working with you?
PRODUCTION: How many production days are quoted? The number of production days, locations, crew members will dramatically affect the budget. You can usually fit in filming at 2-3 locations in a single day if the locations are fairly close to each other. Other factors include the amount of gear needed, and whether the company is hiring talent, wardrobe, or extras.
POST-PRODUCTION: Does this company include color-grading, audio mastering, and animated titles with your video? Those elements make a video look really polished and professional, but are not always included with every proposal.
What are you actually getting when the project is complete? Make sure you understand what codec you need for your platform (social media, youtube, your website) and communicate that to the production company. Do you need 1080p HD or 4k? Do you want a DVD, or is a digital download fine? Do you want short clips for social media? The more you can work out these details before a contract is signed, the happier the overall production will be.
whew, you made it!
After applying these tips, I am confident that you're equipped to find a great video production company to help you tell your story!
Are you ready to put this article into practice? Check out my demo reel below and contact me if you'd like to know more about hiring Sherwood Media to produce your next video! </shameless plug>
I love creating content that empowers companies to have great video, whether it’s a brand story, production tips, or using video for a social media campaign.