How to Work Well With a Video Production Company
When using video within your small business, a healthy and positive relationship with the production team is essential
Basics of Video Production – How to Get the Best Out of Your Video Supplier
If you are looking to outsource your video marketing to a video production company, you want to be sure that you are getting value for money and that they are going to put as much love into your project as you would.
The start of this business relationship should involve you providing the production company with two very important items; firstly, you need to have some idea of your budget and secondly you should provide a very clear brief outlining what you want from them.
An understanding of each element of the production process will help you approach these tasks in the right way so that it makes sense to you and to them.
Processes to be Aware of When Budgeting and Writing a Brief
Here is a checklist of the processes involved in video production and associated items to be included in your budget.
Stage 1: Pre-production
- planning, deciding what you want your video to include and what you want it to achieve
- story boarding, visual blueprint of what will be included in your video
- script writing, accurate scripting ensures production runs smoothly
- management, e.g. hiring actors, organizing studio time, director and cameraman etc.
Stage 2: Production
- Shooting visuals, camera crew and camera equipment
- Recording audio, sound crew and sound gear
- Use of studios or other locations, associated travel costs
Stage 3: Post-production
- Editing of footage, hire of editing suite
- Graphics and animation
- Voice over, hire of professional
- Creation of subtitles
- Creating deliverables e.g. DVD’s, data files
- Setting up tracking to measure performance once deployed (optional)
Key point: Use your knowledge of these processes to budget for your project as realistically as possible. If video is a new thing for you, the most challenging thing will be accurately estimating the amount of time various elements of the work will take and therefore the actual costs. In this case, the best thing you can do is have a clear picture about what you want and then communicate this to the video production company so that they can give you an accurate quote early on in the process.
Writing a Brief
Your brief should include information that answers all of the following questions. The more thorough your video production brief, the less likely you are to face unexpected issues.
1. Why are you creating a video?
Your brief should outline what the purpose of your video is and what goals are.
2. Who is your audience and where will they see your video?
Who is your video for and what do they know about you already? What are your intentions for the distribution of the video; will it be online or are you planning to use it as a training resource?
3. What are your aims in terms of content and style?
You should have some idea about what your video will be about and what you want it video to include. What feeling/response are you aiming to realise? You may have ideas about the form of the video e.g. you might want it to be a vox pops style review of an event, a product review, a chat show style set up or even a mini-documentary or feature film. Do you want voice over narration or would you like an on screen presenter?
4. What is budget and your deadline?
The video production company will need practical information in order to be able to move forward with your project. This includes a budget so that they are aware of the financial parameters they need to work within. They also need to know what time they have to work with; when your deadline is and how you want the final product to come e.g. as a DVD or a data file to be used online.
Key Point 1: There are lots of things to think about when writing the brief for your video and lots of decisions to be made. If you don’t/can’t make those decisions for yourself then you need to choose a production company who you feel able to trust to make those decisions for you.
Key Point 2: In your brief you should also include information about what you are bringing to the project e.g. resources, locations, talent. This will enable them to plan effectively and could save you some cash.
Some Final Words of Wisdom
Importance of a good relationship and knowing when to keep your distance
If you have decided to invest in a production company, be aware that they will come to your project armed with skill, expertise and a lot of creativity. If you don’t want them to be creative, tell them. If you know exactly what you want and see yourself as the director of the project then you might want to consider hiring in a camera operator, sound technician and an editor and you can steer the ship yourself.
Combining skills in your team with those of the production company
You may have talent within your existing team that you want to work on some elements of your video production e.g. pre-production and you may therefore only want to pay a production company for the production of the video and the post-production elements. As long as the communication between the pre-production and production team is positive and consistent the join should be seamless.
Be realistic about what your budget can achieve
Do your research and gather a few quotes before deciding which production company to go with. This will give you a better understanding of what you can get for your money. It is important that you are realistic about what can be achieved with the funds you have allocated to the project and it is also important that you get the service you have paid for.