B2 Productions: Ready to Hire A Professional Video Company?

July 10, 2017
Tracy Phillips

Let’s go back a few weeks…

In the beginning of February, one of my script clients who lives in Santa Monica hired me to be on-set with her for the filming of her launch videos. There were 5 in total and we had been scripting them together for over two months. She had a “guy” that she had worked with a lot to shoot/edit the videos but she wanted me there to make sure she was delivering the material the way we intended it to be delivered.

This is something I do. I’ve flown all over the U.S. to be “on-set” with script clients and sometimes it’s magical and fun…and other times…

This was one of those other times.

From the get go the camera guy was short with me and questioned my every direction. He had been filming with my client for years and I was clearly being perceived as a threat. From the running of the teleprompter, the length of her videos to the moving of a dead tree behind her –working with him was a struggle. It was a VERY long shoot day, made longer by the very palpable tension between us.

Here’s the thing. Her videos turned out beautifully. Her launch was a huge success and there’s only one person to blame for the bad shoot day mojo…ME.

In the end it all boils down to expectation. I had not coached my client on how to talk to her “guy” and let him know what we were trying to accomplish.

So, let’s talk about you.

So far, in your video making journey you may have been skating by as a video crew of one. Maybe you’ve started with Livestream videos then progressed from your iPhone to a DSLR and a few lights and now you’re thinking…I’m ready. I’m ready for it to be someone else’s job.

ARE YOU?

Ready that is.

Today’s blog might seem like it’s about handing the reigns to someone else to make, edit and deliver your video but it’s actually about expectation. You need to create a relationship with the person who is going to shoot and edit your videos and make sure you are both on the same page.

 

So I want you to ask yourself three questions.

 

AM I READY?         CAN I AFFORD IT?          WHAT ARE MY EXPECTATIONS?

AM I READY?
You’re ready if you find that making videos is taking too much of your time and you want to outsource this marketing task. Hiring a crew is not an ‘easy button’ solution that will make all of your videos perfect. You still need to write the scripts, practice your booty off and manage the project… so keep that in mind.

 

CAN I AFFORD IT?
When people find out I own a local production company they always want to know “how much” and I always say “that depends”. It depends on how many, how long and how detailed the videos are. It depends on graphics, B-roll and locations. It depends on their timeline and mine. There is no cookie cutter answer. And I don’t have a college kid in my back pocket who will do it really cheap.

Side note: If you can find an eager and capable college kid  – do it! It’s a great way for you both to learn the process.

WHAT ARE MY EXPECTATIONS?

So, I had this script client who kept insisting he wanted a one (wo)man, inexpensive video solution to shoot and edit his launch videos. The problem was, he also insisted that he had to have two camera angles and change locations 4 times (which would make it a two-day shoot). He wanted tons of b-roll edited in and each of his videos was about 25 minutes long.

This is an expectation problem. I like the phrase “He had champagne taste on a beer budget”. He wanted to pay about 3k for what was easily over a 15k job.

So, I want you to think about what your expectation for your videos looks like. You get what you pay for and you need to be willing to pay for high production value if that is what you want.

If you’re still with me I want to go over your options for outsourcing your videos. I feel like there are three levels of production you can look for and I’ll explain the difference.

VIDEO OPTIONS
First you have a college kid. Someone who is interested in video and editing but may not have all of the equipment that a production company would have. They will be fairly inexpensive but will need a lot of managing.

Next is the videographer. This is someone who has some skill and some equipment. They may be hobbyist or specialize in niche production like weddings. They are generally a “one man/one woman” show where they do all of the shooting and editing themselves. The videographer should be mid-range for cost.

Then you have a production company. This is a full service, multi-person crew. This is a high-quality, high cost option. A production company should also talk to you about your goals and help you figure out the best way to execute them.

I lied. There are four options. The last option is your friend…DON’T ASK YOUR FRIEND. They will not be your friend for long.

What type is right for you? Only you can decide. You have to research and compare. You may be able to find a college kid whose production quality and work ethic is amazing…choose them!

You may find a production company who seems too busy and doesn’t understand your video goals. Move on!

Regardless of who you decide to work with, here are some questions you need to ask…and more importantly what YOU need to tell them so they understand your video goals.

WHAT TO ASK

  1. What types of videos do you make –skater vs. corporate vs. documentary?
  2. Can you send me some samples (links to YouTube, Vimeo etc. are fine)? Then look and see if you like them.
  3. What does your process look like?
  4. What equipment is included…will they provide a teleprompter/ operator?
  5. What is your timeline (from shoot to final edit –how long will that be?)
  6. How will they deliver the final files?
  7. How many edit revisions do I get ?(2 or 3 is standard)
  8. Is music included? (if you want music)
  9. If you’re using Voice Over –will they record this on the day of the shoot or separately?
  10. How much do you charge? (does your budget match your expectation?)
  11. >How many people will be on-set?
  12. Where will we shoot? Will you come to my house?
  13. Do you have your own make-up person?

WHAT YOU NEED TO TELL THEM – It’s on you

  1. You need to tell them how many and how long each video is estimated to be.
  2. You need to request a teleprompter –not everyone assumes it’s part of the production. And tell them if you do not have experience using one -it will add to your production time.
  3. Tell them you are looking for direction and you don’t simply want your videos done, but you want them to help you look capable and come off as a genuine person.
  4. B-roll (this is HUGE) because this takes time AND sometimes a new location or more.
  5. How many graphics/ slides/ titles etc. you expect to have?

Above all, you want to build a good, working relationship so go with your gut. If you think a videographer who has never shot launch videos is willing to learn the process with you –that is who I would pick because they are willing to learn and grow with you.

Finding a good fit is gold. Take your time to find the right person or company.

P.S. Please feed your crew. A well-fed crew is a happy crew…so go get some snacks and sandwiches to keep them happy.

This is Amy Flaherty, owner of Southern Sandtray Suite and a client of mine who moved onto the “hire a crew” phase. Her business and personal growth on camera is nothing short of astounding!