©2018 by Sylvia Gorajek, San Francisco, CA

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  • Sylvia Gorajek

How To Choose The Best Video Production Crew?



Creating quality video content for your business might seem quite challenging, especially if you haven’t had much experience with video production before. But hey, no worries! There are experts who will help you make it happen. Make sure you follow the below tips and it will not only be easy, but fun!


First, you need to know answers to these basic questions:
  • What's the goal of your video?

  • Who should it target?

  • Where is it going to be distributed?

Every experienced video production team should start with asking you these questions. Why? Because these are the things that your video needs to fit in! It needs to serve your goal, speak to the audience it’s targeting and be created in a format (size, duration, attention span) that corresponds well with the platforms where it'll be distributed.


So: How will you know which video production company will help you the best?

Follow me.


Ways to look for a video production firm


GoogleThis is surely the most popular way of looking for firms so that you'll end up with a few options of who to contact first. Great choice. But remember - that the fact that a company is listed on top of Google, does not guarantee that they are the best. Surely, they have done great job with their SEO. Do not stop there. Look for more companies and compare their offerings, testimonials and portfolio.


Recommendations

We all love recommendations! Hopefully you can get some reliable referrals and insights about the experience of working with a particular production company. After all, it's not only the end product that matters, but also the overall flow of the collaboration, right?

Ask friends or coworkers if they can recommend anyone and if not, check if the companies you’re coming across have some testimonials on their site.


Cool projects

Enjoying a particular Kickstarter Video or another promo video that you just saw online? Great! Look for the production company name in credits or in video descriptions. Even if they are located outside of your city, that’s not necessarily a big deal. It's quite common to work with a production team remotely. And! Video production crews are used to traveling if needed.


What you should know and what to expect?

After you have a few leads to different video production companies, now it's time to take a closer look at each of them.


– How long is their experience?

It's good to ask this simple question at the beginning. A concrete, confident answer is what you should hear. Do not take seriously answers like “We’ve been doing it for ever”. Some freelancers, who say that they graduated from film school and have done several projects, may be on the cheaper side. However, lack of experience and one-man shop may actually hurt your project. You need to be careful in that respect.


– What kind of videos they do?

Against a common sense, a super varied range of videos in company’s portfolio is not the greatest sign. It’s good if a production company focuses only on one or two segments, for example – just videos for the tech industry. The narrower their focus, the better, since it means that they truly specialize in what they’re doing. Most importantly – they need to have done types of videos that you are looking to produce. If they do documentaries, it doesn't mean they will deliver your promo message well in 1-2 minute video.


– How do you like their portfolio?

A portfolio is often the most important clue in choosing the video production company. Look at the quality that they represent: Do the lighting and colors look good? Are the shots nicely framed? Are the crucial elements in focus? Is the editing dynamic and interesting (there is a reason why social media apps let you shoot only 10s clips)? How does the audio sound? Do you immediately catch the story? Are the graphic elements modern and clear?

Also, remember, that sometimes not all projects can be published on the company’s website due to copyrights. You can always ask for more examples in a direct conversation. If you like the overall style of their work, chances are high they will do great job with your video as well.


– Do they offer more than just camera operation and editing?

When you’re hiring a video production company, you want to rely on them and trust them as experts. You’re not only looking for a camera operator with a good camera. A production crew should advise you on what can be done to reach the goal. Usually, the collaboration starts with general ideas and then it goes into more details. It is important to make sure that the company is willing to think creatively.


Tip: You can ask them about their involvement in the production process in their past productions and see if they typically engage in all the production stages or only some.


– Are they responsive and easy to communicate with?

Working on a video usually involves a lot of collaboration on both parts. You want to know that they will quickly respond to your questions and thoughts. So if the initial contact is kind of flaky, chances are it will be like this throughout the process. Skip yourself the headache.


Here is how the communication flow should look like throughout the production:

1. Before the project starts, they should ask a lot.

2. During the production, they should update you with what's going on and ask your opinions about details.

3. Further into the project, you will want to know how close it is to the final effect and maybe suggest a few tweaks in post-production.

It is crucial that the producer responds to you quickly and efficiently and informs you about the progress. Fast responses are a good sign. It’s helpful to pay attention to that right from the beginning.


– How prepared are they for the first meeting?

You will want to feel confident that they keep deadlines and remember your agreements.

Do they already know something about you or your company? Did they show up on time and remember your previous arrangements as well as the information you already shared?


– What is their pricing?

Ha! This is the part where you might think there is a catch. But typically, there isn't. At the very beginning, it is usually hard to determine the exact cost of producing a video, because there might be so many variables. A slight change in the script might make a big change in the budget. I love how in the 'Startup' podcast by Gimlet Media they bring up a case of filming a pelican that was initially mentioned in a script for a podcast. When filming a TV series, it all made a whole different sense. You can listen to it here (starting from around 13:00 min).


At the initial stage, you will most likely be offered just a price range. Try not to make final judgments here, since the range may depend on many factors. If you get many quotes with widely different numbers, you may ask each of the companies for the reasons why they gave you these prices. A very low price may mean that they did not really understand your needs or omitted some crucial aspects. A very high price may mean that they predicted much more advanced production than you actually need.


Tip: If you like the overall style and communication with the company, but their price is too high for your budget, tell them what price you are thinking of. Maybe by optimizing some costs they can get closer to your budget expectations!


Take it all into account


So, when you are looking for a video production crew, it is important to pay attention to a number of factors. I recommend you go through the above list. I hope you'll find it helpful!


Also, do not hesitate to reach out to me! I have a great team of talented experts working with me, so happy to chat about how we can help!