The industry has changed. Here’s what to look for in a video production studio today.
In the past, getting started in video production meant buying expensive equipment. To stand out, production studios needed the newest, highest-quality cameras and lenses. The barrier to entry in this industry was high, costing even up-and-coming videographers tens of thousands of dollars in hardware.
Advancing technology has made cameras smaller, lighter, and more affordable—consequently making it more accessible to shoot videos. Today, most people have an HD camera in their pockets at all times. Smartphone cameras are so powerful, they’ve even been used to shoot feature-length films.
Now that nearly everyone has access to quality video equipment, the focus has shifted to craftsmanship and strategy.
While it’s important to ensure your equipment meets the standards required for your project, quality equipment does not always guarantee quality videos. The most expensive gear in the world can’t make up for a lack of experience, knowledge, and skills. Those attributes result in videos that are not only high quality visually, but also meaningful—pairing carefully crafted camerawork with a compelling story, giving the piece purpose and helping achieve organizational goals.
As you look for a video production partner, you can no longer objectively quantify their professionalism by the price tag on their gear. There are many factors to consider when reviewing a team for your projects. Here are some of them:
While expensive equipment isn’t the quintessential factor, having quality equipment and knowing how to use it is pivotal for the success of a video production team. In your first chats with a prospective team, consider if they have full-frame cameras, a selection of high-quality, fast lenses, sufficient equipment to properly light any scene, and a selection of microphones, recorders, and audio monitoring gear to ensure captured sound is crisp and within range. It may also be worth it to have a technical discussion about their portfolio pieces to see how their equipment and techniques could be used for your projects.
Aesthetics and types of videos
Looking through a company’s portfolio should quickly show you a few things: the type of videos they produce (scripted, interview, animation, etc.), their visual style (moody, cinematic, bright), and their range of work. Consider the projects you have lined up and compare your ideas to the team’s portfolio. Just because their portfolio doesn’t have exactly what you are looking for doesn’t mean they don’t have experience with that style—you can always reach out and ask for specific examples.
Inevitably, every project has a set dollar amount it cannot exceed. If you have a tight budget, this might be the deciding factor for your project. The good news is, because of the accessibility of quality film equipment, the cost of video production ranges widely. However, keep this in mind: It’s important to not only focus on the bottom line, but to consider what you get for your money.
For example, producing a handful of videos with one partner could cost roughly the same amount as producing one video with a different studio. If you’re only looking at numbers, of course, more videos seem like the better deal. But if those videos don’t have carefully crafted messaging and crisp visuals, they might make little impact on your marketing goals. This could be a difficult metric to measure, but your ROI should not be overlooked.
Expertise and artistry
Nowadays, clients are looking for multifaceted video production companies. For example, you may need a company that not only knows how to develop great video but can also help you write scripts, generate behind-the-scenes photography for social content, and build deployment strategies. These extra areas of expertise tend to come with an increase in cost, however. That’s why you have to look at the value in addition to the dollar amount and see what best meets your needs.
A highly experienced team is also more likely to have a smooth, tried-and-true process. If you don’t have the bandwidth to monitor the production from beginning to end, it’s imperative that you can trust your video partner to get the job done efficiently and effectively without any supervision. This saves you time and money in the long run.
There are many factors at play when choosing your video production partner, but those are the basics. Other considerations could include their turnaround time, the location and/or their ability to travel, and your overall cultural compatibility. The best way to figure out if a production company is the right fit for you is to simply have a conversation about your needs and goals with the team.
So, get talking! What are you hoping to achieve with your next video production project?