It's no surprise, with the rise in the popularity of video content, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of video production companies. So it stands to reason that people looking at video production companies should understand how they might differ.
There's an important difference between a videographer (a person who records video) and a video production company (a group of people who produce videos). Videographers will sometimes work for or with video production companies but videographers tend to be required to only capture video for events such as conferences. Videographers are great to use when you have somebody else lined up to produce the video.
Now that we've gotten that distinction out of the way, here are some of the primary characteristics that differentiate video production companies.
Types of Videos
The first way in which video production companies differ is the types of video they can produce. Some are experts in animated videos while others are good at producing live action videos. If you're interested in capturing drone footage, you'll need to look for a company that specializes in drone video production. Some video production companies are good at producing videos that require studios, actors and other additional elements like make up artists and stylist. Other production agencies are better at videos shot in the field and on location.
It is also worth noting that some video production companies are better at longer-form videos and others will specialize in shorter videos. This means that some video production companies might be better at doing a longer branding video like a corporate overview while another will be better at producing a short video that's supposed to boost your sales in the short term.
If you're looking for a video production company, make sure you take note of what types of videos they can produce. It stands to reason that you if need an animated video, you should find a video production company that specializes in these types of videos.
Another aspect a video production company that differentiates them is outsourcing. Some video production companies outsource large portions of the work they do to smaller partners. In fact, this type of video production company might simply be responsible for bidding on work and then pulling in contractors as required to complete the project. Others might do most of the pre and post production tasks such as developing the script, creating the storyboard and editing the video in house, while outsourcing the actual production of the footage to partners such as videographers.
It's hard for me to tell you if more or less outsourcing is better. What matters most is the quality of the output and the corresponding pricing you're going to get. The most important thing is that whoever is driving the bus, has to know what they're doing.
The cost of the equipment required to produce high quality videos has certainly come down in recent years but professional video production companies are going to use professional grade equipment. There is going to be a big difference in quality of your video when proper equipment is used. In particular, the quality of the camera stabilization, lighting and audio equipment is going to have a huge impact. The instinct is to look at the quality of the video cameras themselves but in reality, it's often the other equipment that will make the biggest difference. If your video is unsteady and isn't lit properly, even the best quality video camera will produce a video that doesn't look good.
The same thing that can be said about lighting applies to the audio. If you're going to be recording a "talking head" video, you need to make sure that you have the proper sound equipment to capture the audio properly. Normally, that would be a good quality lapel microphone but it could also be a boom microphone under the right conditions. Either way, a microphone attached to the top of your camera or your phone's microphone aren't going to cut it.
Choosing the right video production company can be difficult. I hope that this blog post has helped you understand a little bit more about how they differ. We've blogged before about what to look for when buying video production services and that post has much more detail that you might find helpful.