What You Should Know About Outsourcing Video Production [Film School For Marketers Podcast, Ep. 16]
By Zach Basner
Ready to start your next video project with an outsourced video production company?
In this episode of the Film School for Marketers, we discuss everything you should know about hiring a great partner, how to get ready for a shoot, and how "insourcing" will affect the video community.
Listen to the full episode here (or scroll down to watch the video):
A little about our guest host, Alex Winter
Alex Winter is Creative Director and leader of our video production team here at IMPACT. He's had quite the journey to us.
He's always been passionate about filmmaking and storytelling and his career has had some pretty amazing milestones:
- Studied at the Savannah College of Art & Design
- Moved to Hollywood to shoot and direct independent feature films
- Shot music videos for Sony BMG Music for notable artists like Lil' Wayne, Birdman, Travis Porter, Killer Mike, and Soulja Boi.
- Grew a production company over the course 10 years into a full-blown marketing agency
- Became Creative Director at IMPACT
What should someone look for when choosing a video production company?
There are many factors and variables depending on your projects, but here are a couple crucial elements to help you find a great production partner.
1. Quality of Production (Production Value)
You want to make sure the company has the tools, resources, and equipment that are going to offer the highest quality product. This applies to both audio and video. Every video is an important touchpoint with your audience, so keep in mind the perception you want to create.
2. A Video Strategy
Although many production companies still claim that they are the best, visuals are only half the battle. You want to find a partner who understands your goals with sales, marketing, and customer experience.
How can you tell if a video production company actually does quality work?
If you really get down to it, they've got to be mastering the basics. Things like exposure, composition, and lighting make all the difference when creating cinematic content.
Audio is also a big element. It can either add or subtract from your viewing experience, yet it can sometimes be an afterthought for producers.
In fact, it's these fundamental elements that many production companies overlook while focusing on high-end equipment alone.
Alex's advice? Think to yourself, "is this comparable to what I'd see in a theater?" If not, perhaps you should keep looking.
Should I just hire a freelancer who costs less?
In Alex's opinion, this is a budget conversation. If you only have enough money to hire a freelancer, then it's really not a bad option.
Generally speaking, you could potentially hire a freelancer that's much better than a production company in your area.
If you find yourself in this scenario, with a freelancer budget, just be sure you're properly screening your candidates.
In the same way that we'd advise giving a simply activity to in-house videographer candidates, you should have your freelance candidates complete a similar task.
This shows if they truly have the abilities you need, and if they really care about earning your business.
How can I get my team organized and ready for a shoot day with an outsourced video company?
A lot of this is in the hands of the production company you're working with. They should be coaching and getting you ready well in advance of your shoot day.
If you aren't ready on shoot day, that's a major red flag an account of the producers.
Just as we do here at IMPACT, there should be a lot of hand holding involved. Through the education of "this is how we do it" and "this is why we do it" you mitigate the possibility of abrupt changes during a shoot and ensure you're prepared for production.
Other things to keep in mind to prepare for your shoot day:
Be realistic with what can actually be accomplished in the time you've planned. It's a safer bet to plan for a few things going wrong versus everything going right. If you think it will take an hour, plan for an hour and a half.
Get Your Staff Ready
Even the most talented communicators can struggle in front of the camera. It doesn't hurt to run a quick test on a smartphone camera and review it beforehand. You could even send this to your producers and ask for feedback.
What's better, scripted or non-scripted communication on video?
In Alex's experience, running a great interview is the best thing you can do.
Otherwise, with a script you have two options, teleprompter or memorization. Both take the humanity, genuine connection, and warmth out of your videos.
Should I be wary of companies that charge a day rate for "all-we-can-shoot?"
The short answer, yes. What we've learned at IMPACT is that because of strategies like "The Selling 7," we can maximize a production day and ensure that every video being shot will affect revenue. That takes preparation and an "all-we-can-shoot" plan doesn't allow for that.
Is it possible you could have a good outcome that way? Sure. But, unless you have the budget to take that risk, it's not advised.
Should I assume that a production company is ensuring I get an ROI on my project?
You should not assume this. In fact, this can be a common problem and a worse case scenario for your marketing budget.
The major reason? The barrier to entry of becoming a filmmaker and creating stunning visuals is lower every day.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing; it actually produces healthy competition in the marketplace. It does, however, make the need to vet out your production company or freelancers strategy abilities very important.
Is outsourcing or insourcing the best move, long- term?
Insourcing a good portion of your video content is going to be cost-effective and better for your brand over time. Producing 2-3 pieces of content per week internally, is much cheaper and more manageable than outsourcing the same amount of content.
That said, outsourced video shouldn't be ruled out completely. Hiring a production company could add a lot of value even once you've hired an internal videographer.
By bringing in a team of professionals, that videographer can learn and grow throughout the course of a project. This is training grounds that the videographer may not usually have access to.
Also, some videographers may not have the capabilities to produce higher-end videos, like the "Claims We Make" or "Product/Service" videos.
How will "insourcing" affect the video landscape overall?
From Alex's perspective, this shift is beneficial for the freelance video community that can sometimes struggle to find work. Ultimately, as more companies choose to insource it increases the amount of opportunity.
From my perspective, this forces the production companies, ourselves included, to add new ways of providing value for the small to medium-sized businesses of the world. A professional production element, added to a strong in-house video culture, will create a force for revenue.
To keep up with with Alex Winter, connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.
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