Choosing a video production company is a big decision. It should not be done in haste, and you should do your homework. A quality video is a big investment, whether you are spending $5,000 or $500,000. Since I am often the second or third production person people have come to, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from my clients about previous experiences with other video companies. So here are some of the things you should be looking for when choosing a video company to do your project.
Watch examples of their work. This sounds like a no-brainer but I am always surprised that people don’t see the quality of work a company has done before hiring them! Watching examples of a company’s work is the best way to see, quite frankly, if they have any talent. You’ll be surprised at what is being put together out there. Ask yourself “Would this be a good representation of my company?”
Beware of Demo Reels. Never-ever base your decision on the “demo reel” alone. A demo reel is basically a highlight video of a company’s work. It is snippets of projects put together that is supposed to a “demonstration” of their work. I have one. The problem with demo reels is that, unlike ours, they can be just a hodgepodge of great shots that were never actual video projects. They are just cool shots they have collected. The images might not even be their work! Often times that is exactly the case, especially with the proliferation of inexpensive high quality video b-roll that can be purchased online.
After watching a demo reel be sure to ask to see many of the projects in their entirety that compiled the reel. If you get excuses, or you don’t even see the other works on their website? You know to go somewhere else. If you spend anytime at all watching the many videos I have online you will see that my demo reel is made up of images and b-roll shot for actual projects.
Check References. Another no-brainer, but people just don’t do it. You should call a video productions company’s clients and say “Hi, I am thinking of having a video created and I was wondering what your experience was like working with XYZ Video? Would you do it all over again? Did they deliver what they promised?” Questions like that. You’d be surprised at the answers. I have my clients’ names and phone numbers posted because I know what they will tell you when you call them. This is also a great way to make sure that the work they claim is theirs is actually their work!
Make sure the company has insurance. If the video guy you hire doesn’t have General Liability insurance and his assistant whacks your secretary on the head with a crane jib guess who pays for her ambulance ride and her hospital stay? You do. Don’t waste your time planning, meeting to discuss the project, and getting a quote just to find out the day of the shoot they have no insurance. Ask in the beginning.
Meet the video professional. You are going to be working with this person on the project. If you’ve called references you already know this person is a professional. But personalities matter. Meet and make sure it is someone that you feel comfortable working with. This is also where you begin budget discussions. Unless the project is incredibly simple such a blue screen bio video I always have a creative meeting with a client. It is the only way to figure out what they are looking to create and what their budget will be.
Get a written proposal. The biggest complaint we hear about other experiences is that a project cost much more than was quoted. While projects do grow sometimes beyond what was originally planned, this should never be a “surprise” to you. So get a written proposal that spells out what you want and what the video production company will do to produce what you want and how much it will cost.
Do you get a second bid? I am often asked that question. While I always invite clients to get a second bid, I also warn that that they are rarely going to be comparing apples to apples. Only get second bids from companies that are doing comparative quality of work. You get what you pay for in this business. You wouldn’t visit the Mercedes or BMW dealer and then walk over to the “Buy Here-Pay Here!” auction lot and exclaim “Oh my, these are so much cheaper and I bet they are just as good!” now would you? Yes the guy who shoots weddings is going to beat my price. However do you really want your professional video project filmed by a wedding videographer? NO YOU DON’T!
Get started! Stop waiting. Adding a video to your marketing arsenal will pay for itself. So just jump in and do it! Video is what is driving the Internet now. The longer you wait, the more you are losing market share to competitors.
That’s a wrap for this issue. As always, any questions feel free to call me at 770-938-7077.