Choosing a production company is, perhaps, the trickiest consideration when planning your video, particularly if you have had no experience of video in the past. It is also the most important as choosing the wrong production company can have a detrimental effect on your business, product and audience. As video becomes increasingly popular, more video production companies are appearing and they all have something to offer but it is important to choose the one that is right for you. The one you can trust to deliver your business message in the most concise, clear, effective, creative and relevant way possible. But where do you start?
There are many points to consider when choosing a production company, but I would suggest that the following are among the most important:
EXPERIENCE– there is no substitute for experience as this will ensure they have the…
ABILITY TO GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS – don’t sacrifice your message in favour of creativity. Creativity is important, but your message is the priority.
PASSION/ENTHUSIASM– if a production company is passionate about what they do, they are more likely to inject that passion into your video.
ABILITY TO TAKE ON YOUR INFORMATION – can the production company take your information and distil it to make it understandable and interesting to your target audience?
CREATIVE VISION IN RELATION TO YOUR BUSINESS – having warned not to choose creativity over you message, it is still important as the more creative the approach, the more you will stand out from your competition.
KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR CRAFT - this grows with a company’s experience. A good production company will be able to provide every weapon in their arsenal to deliver your film in the most accessible, concise and creative way.
UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR BUSINESS/INDUSTRY – the better a company understands your business and industry the more effective the end product will be. Do they understand your brand and can they work within your guidelines?
NICHE – if the production company has experience of working within your industry, they are more likely to be able to deliver a more effective video.
THEIR TEAM/SUPPORT – do they have the personnel in place to deliver your video by your deadline and support in place if requirements change at short notice?
You have probably noticed that there is one consideration missing from this list and it’s the one question that most businesses ask first, but should it really be the primary consideration..?
If you’re buying a pair of shoes, what is your thought process? I would suggest it would be something like this – What do I need them for? Running, business, hiking, gardening or just casual wear? What size do I need? How often will I wear them? How long do I want them to last? How well made are they? Are they comfortable? Are they stylish and will they convey the correct message to my peers?
Right, now – how much do they cost?
The same process should be used when purchasing video. The most expensive will not always be the best for your needs but then neither will the cheapest. An expensive video may offer you drones, cranes, Hollywood cameras and a fifteen-man production crew, which is fine if you’re making a cinema commercial, but do you really need it for your internal company message? Remember – “Don’t lose sight of the purpose of your video.”
Cost is directly linked to experience, quality and what a company can offer in the way of equipment, support, knowledge, and personnel. You may be able to get a creative video for £100 filmed by your next door neighbour’s son who had a camera for his birthday and is doing a media course at university, but does he have the knowledge and experience of HOW to get your message across in the most effective way that matches your brand and is highly targeted at your client base and intended audience?
At the same time, you could be paying £20,000 to a large Soho-based production company for a 2 minute update video, who may offer creativity, knowledge, experience, support and personnel but much of that cost will go towards their business premises, office staff wages and overheads. However, they will have support in all areas whenever required and therefore be a better match for larger businesses and corporations. Consider which company within the spectrum best suits your business and video requirements.
Below are a few more, in depth suggestions, which will help with your selection process:
MEET WITH THEM
The best way to determine a production company’s level of passion, knowledge, experience and creativity is to meet with them. It provides you with an opportunity to ask them the relevant questions face to face and measure their reactions and responses against the competition. Ask them their opinion and creative ideas to see if they match your vision. An experienced, knowledgable, creative company should be able to provide on-the-spot advice and solutions to your needs, which can be refined as the production evolves.
A good company should also ask you relevant questions in order to gain a better understanding of your business in order to provide the best solutions. If they don’t research your business enough, they probably won’t deliver your message in the most effective way so listen to how they question you about your business and video needs and check how much they have researched your company prior to your meeting.
Finally, it is important that you ‘get on’ with the production company you choose to work with. You will probably be working with them for a couple of weeks at least so you should click on a personal level as well as a business level. Face to face is the best way to assess whether your companies are a good match for each other.
Testimonials are a good indication of how well a company has delivered for previous clients and the number of happy clients they have provided for. These can often be found on their website. If you need verification of their testimonials, question them more about the projects they delivered and their relationship with the client (is it ongoing or a one-off project).
SHOWREEL/EXAMPLES OF THEIR WORK
Ask to see examples of previous videos the company have produced, particularly those relevant to your industry. This is the best way to gauge a company’s creativity and how effective they have been in getting the message across. A company with a track record of working with similar companies in your industry sector may have a greater knowledge of your sector and, therefore, a better understanding of how to produce the most effective video for you. Showreels and examples will often be found on the company’s website but they may have others to show, which they can't share on their website. Ask to see further examples when you meet with them if necessary.
More often than not you will have peers, colleagues and friends who have had videos produced in the past so ask around for recommendations for production companies your peers have enjoyed working with and who produced good results. A word of warning here, however. Even though a company has been recommended to you, make sure you research them yourself to see if you would be equally happy to work with them. Take a look at the videos they produced for your peers to see whether you are happy and impressed with what was produced and whether a similar video will work for you.
Referrals are still one of the best forms of finding what you need, though.
In our next article we will answer the “Where?” question – what to consider when choosing a filming location and where your finished video will be shown.
If you have any questions or suggestions arising from this article, please leave a comment below or get in touch via our CONTACT PAGE and we'll be happy to chat with you about any aspect of video production.