There are lots of options available when it comes to buying video production services. You can go with a large full-service agency, a small video production company or almost everything in between. In this post, we're going to try and break down what you need to look for when buying video production services.
In general, there are three important things you need to know about anyone providing video production services. First you need to understand what type of experience they have, then you need to figure out if they fit your budget, and lastly, you need to figure out what happens at the end of the project.
What is their experience?
Make sure that you invest the time in getting to know the partners you are considering. Find out how long they've been doing video work for (because some firms have been around for much longer than they've been doing video). Find out if they have an in-house video team or if they outsource to other partners. If they outsource, find out exactly what aspects of the projects they outsource. For example, do they outsource the pre-production, production and post-production or just some smaller parts of the project?
You also want to find out if they have experience with different types of videos such as live action videos or animated videos. You should also find out if they have experience with the type of client you're going to be. Do they work with associations, non-profits and/or businesses? This is important to know because they should have experience creating the types of videos you're looking to create. Some firms might be better at brand storytelling and others might be better at creating direct-response ads that drive immediate sales.
Can they work with your budget?
Once you're satisfied that they have the type of experience you're looking for, you need to know if they can work with your budget. Video production can get expensive and you need to understand exactly what you're going to get for the budget you have in mind. Make sure you understand how long the final video is going to be, and whether you're going to need voiceover talent and/or onscreen talent. Make sure you understand where you can make changes and how many rounds of revisions you get and how much changes might cost. Each of these things will have an effect on your budget.
For your video to both look and sound good, you need to make sure that they have professional equipment. While it's true that there are many ways to capture high definition (HD) video, your potential partners will need to have the proper camera stands to make sure the picture is steady. They will also need to have lighting to make sure the picture is clear, and they will need microphones to make sure they capture sound properly. You don't need to get technical when talking about gear but you need to figure out if they are charging less than others might be charging because they are using less professional gear. A "guy with a camera" is always much cheaper than a professional but the end result will look very different.
The final aspects of your project that has a huge impact on price are any animated graphics such as intros, outros and/or lower thirds. These might seem like small details but they can make a big difference in the quality of your final video and also have a huge impact on price. Complicated sequences for intros and outros that require animation can be significantly more expensive that showing something simple like a logo. Make sure you understand if your partner is going to be able to provide these for you, or if you need to do it yourself.
What happens when it's over?
Hopefully, you'll have a plan to get your video seen after the project has been completed, but if you don't, make sure you've thought about when and where you're going to be sharing the video. You might need specific formats of the final videos for social media and you might also require things like subtitles so be sure to find out if your potential partners can do this work for you. Some companies that offer video production services are also marketing agencies, so perhaps you want to find out what other services they might provide. Perhaps they can help you use the video for a digital advertising campaign.
If you're into content marketing, you might also think about trying to get as much of the footage that was shot such as "behind the scenes" footage so that you can use it to create additional content down the road.
It's true what they say...
When it comes to video production services, you really do what get you pay for. You just need to be sure that you ask the right questions before you pay to make sure you end up happy. Done right, video is a great way to tell your story and reach audiences.