If you want your message to get attention, and have an impact, a well-produced video is a must for most strategic communications and marketing models.
Producing a video is an investment, and choosing the right video production company to do the job can be tricky, there’s plenty to think about. Here are five steps you might consider when deciding which company will produce the project.
It starts before you even begin looking for a video producer. Answer these key questions:
- What is the video for?
- Who is the target audience?
- How do you plan to reach them?
- What is your budget for the project?
Too often clients initially say they want to make a video, but they haven’t thought through the reason, they just know they need a video. Not knowing why can make the process painful as they discover the big picture of video production, the related costs, and the basics of production. Once you have a better understanding of the process, you can then outline your key messages, or themes. You are now able to focus on the steps it will take to tell your story in a video.
Knowing why will also help you understand who your target audience is, and it will also help you shape your messages geared for a specific audience.
Knowing who the audience is will give you a better understanding of how to reach them, either by the web, traditional broadcast, in person presentation, or even DVD distribution. Knowing how you plan to reach the audience will also impact the level of the production. Each distribution venue can have a different approach or thought process on how the whole thing goes together.
Budget. The most important decision you will make in the production process is how much will you invest in the final product. Budget impacts every part of a video production. From the size of the on location crew, to the depth of the editing process. If you have thought through the questions in section one, you can get a pretty good idea of the level of your production needs.
Today, it’s not uncommon for a company or communications firm to have some sort of in-house video production already. This can be a good approach, especially on projects where a quick web message, Facebook video, or tweet can spread the word or brand with a very little investment. But if you are looking for a high quality produced product, it is best to bring in an outside specialist or production company. As with any consultant the level of the budget will have an impact on the level of the final product. If you are working in video for the first time you may be surprised as you to learn about the many steps in the production process, and how a well thought out budget is organized. Every step of the way has its own piece of the ultimate production puzzle. From initial message planning, to scripting, location scouting and shooting, to post production editing which includes special graphics work, animation effects, narration, music either original or licensed, sound mixing, color correction, on-line finishing, to format for final delivery.
Work closely with a potential video producer or company to determine your specific needs at each part of the process, this will help you form the budget and to determine which company will be able to produce the project within your budget projections. Give the company your initial vision and scope of the project and then ask for a budget proposal. Compare a couple of bids; this will also help you determine if your initial budgeting is on target. If more than one company is coming in higher or lower than you expected, it may be time to go back and make some adjustments.
Take a look at style and personality. David Letterman is famous for saying “Comedy isn’t easy, don’t try this at home.” Every video project has its own style or personality; many video production companies have their own style and personality. Does the company you are considering match up with the style of the video you want to produce? Does the subject matter of your video match up with the type of messaging you feel the production company can create to help you tell the story? It is often a critically overlooked part of the selection process.
Is it a one size fits all? Take a look at the company work samples. Sometimes the best singers can produce a hit, then when the next song comes out you find yourself saying, “That sounds just like their last song.” It’s one thing to showcase your best work, but just like a hit song that best work can be repeated over and over again. If they don’t have work samples on their web site ask for a demo reel. Not just fast paced overview, but full-length pieces so you can get a real concept of their story telling ability. Look for variety in the types of productions which can demonstrate their ability to approach each project with a unique creative style. Flash and dash is easy, but subtle creative moments make the project, and can demonstrate an ability to be a good storyteller.
Experience. Check out the companies client list. Variety, types of clients, how long have they been in business, and what type of awards have they received. Ask questions: what’s their work process like? Try to determine what they bring to the creative process. Will they contribute concept ideas? Scripting ideas? Did their last few projects come in on budget? Finally, ask for references. At West Street, we’ve been around for more than a decade; word of mouth is our best marketing tool.
These five steps can help get you started. It’s important to have a full understanding of not only what type of video you want to produce and why you are producing it, how much you want to invest in the production, then matching the right personality, style and experience with the type of video you are making.
How can West Street help you tell your story? Visit our contact page.