6 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring A Video Production Company

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

Image courtesy of Josh Birt Media Productions

These days, businesses are dedicating more and more of their marketing budgets to videography. And with good reason – video marketing has proven to be very effective at converting customers and a worthwhile return on investment. But, not every business has the resources to handle their video production in-house. When this is the case, a business can make the decision to outsource their video marketing to a professional video production company.

The problem is that often times, the company doing the hiring doesn’t know all that much about video production, or how to hire the right video production company for them. This is understandable, as videography is a specialized field and it is an industry that is constantly evolving.

When making a big investment, such as hiring a video production company to handle your company’s video marketing campaign, it is important to be informed before making a decision. Here are some of the most common (and avoidable) mistakes that businesses make when hiring a commercial video production company:

1. Not knowing the pros and cons of hiring a big studio versus a boutique studio

When it comes to hiring a video production studio, size matters. There are both pros and cons to hiring a big production studio, as there are to working with a small boutique-style videography company.

The advantage of a big studio, of course, is that you’ll have access to more equipment, crew, and other resources. On the other hand, your budget won’t go as far as it could with a smaller boutique. Some big production companies won’t even touch projects with what they consider to be smaller budgets – say, of less than $10,000.

With the smaller, boutique-style video production companies, you tend to get more personalized services from your crew. Also, if your budget is on the smaller end, a boutique production company might better be able to accommodate your needs. With boutique studios, you’ll often find that with smaller production companies, you’ll get more individualized attention for your money.

2. Hiring the lowest bidder

It’s advisable that you get at least 3-4 quotes from different studios before you make your final decision to hire. More often than not, hiring the production company that comes in with the lowest price is a recipe for disaster.

If someone’s price estimate is remarkably lower than that of everyone else, chances are they either do low-quality work, or they don’t know what they are getting themselves into and are going to under-deliver. When this situation arises, find out where they are cutting costs. Then, ask yourself if it is worth it to you to cut these corners.

Often times, simply spending as little as $500-$1,000 more so that the crew can hire an extra set of hands, or upgrade their equipment, will deliver exponential added value to their client. Someone coming in too low is a red flag that should not be ignored. Proceed with caution.

3. Falling too hard for the sizzle reel

A sizzle reel is basically a slickly edited highlight reel of a production company’s best work. It is a great way to give a quick overview as to what can be accomplished by the production house: it can demonstrate the scope of their work, their various skills, and an overview of the clients they’ve worked with.

However, it should not be the only determining factor when deciding on who to hire to shoot your business marketing video. When hiring a studio, you should look for someone who can complete a project that is comparable to the one you are planning.

Some people make the mistake of falling in love with the idea of working with a videographer that has worked with a big brand, or can do some special effects that are not even required for their own project. Keep your project and its needs in focus when hiring. See completed final work that aligns with the goals you have in mind for your own business video. Don’t just rely on the sizzle reel.

4. Not hiring locally 

Don’t assume that just because you don’t live in Hollywood, or some big city, that there are no quality production companies nearby. What you may not realize is that when you hire a video production company from out of town, they often subcontract locals in order to save on costs.

So, in other words, you’d be inadvertently hiring locals anyway, but for more money! Plus, you’ll likely be spending more on travel, accommodation, rentals, and other things that wouldn’t bring your production real value.

5. Overlooking the value of equipment 

High-quality video production calls for high-tech, and often expensive, equipment. It is advisable that you ask a video production company about what sort of cameras and gear they intend to use for your production.

Do not assume that you will be getting the same gear that was used to produce the sizzle reel – always ask!

6. Under-estimating the value of crew

You could put the newest, most expensive camera in the wrong hands and end up with a terrible video. Here are some things to consider when sourcing crew: 

  • Are your crew members experienced and skilled?
  • Do they listen to you and understand the story you want to tell with your video?
  • Are they interested in producing a video that will get you the desired results?
  • Are they communicative and pleasant to work with?
  • Equipment is important, but so are the people you hire.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you should be able to find and hire the right video production company to produce your business marketing video.

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About the Author

Josh Birt
Josh Birt
Josh Birt started his career in video production after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005. After working as a freelance DP/Editor for several well-known production companies in Pittsburgh, Josh started his own production company, Josh Birt Media Productions, in 2009.

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