October 11, 2021
Whether you are looking to partner with a video production company on a long term basis or a one off project, these are 8 tips to help you find the right video producer for you and your needs.
- Don’t just watch a reel. Don’t just do a google search. Take the time to look through as much of the work of multiple production companies as you can. It’s one thing to make a great reel cut to an awesome music track, most projects will have a handful of terrific shots. What you want to look for is consistent quality, that they can capture and hold your attention throughout their work and then decide whether or not their style is a good fit for your brand.
- Go through their website. Get a sense of their work history and if you are looking for a longer term video partner, the array of services that they offer that may be useful down the track. What do they specialise in? If someone says “I specialise in…” and then there’s a never ending list of multiple types of content – then it’s probably not of the highest quality. Companies may be able to offer multiple types of content creation (we do) but in all honesty we all only specialise in one, two or maybe three key types of content. For some it’s events, for others its cinematic branded documentary storytelling others specialise in being fast and cheap, and there’s room and need for all of those.
- See who they’ve worked for before and reach out and chat to previous clients. Video production isn’t just about the final product, you’re going to be working closely with your video producers so you want to make sure you’re a good match personally. Get a sense of what they’re like to work with, to rely on, how is their communication, is everything delivered on time and on budget? The best way to get a sense of what a video producer is like to work with is to chat to their clients about why they work with them.
- Meet in person. Gage, if this is a team of creatives or are they just production focussed – shooting and editing. Can they listen? Are they asking genuine questions? Or do they already think that they have all the answers. Again, you’ll likely spend a lot of time engaging with them either in person on the phone or on emails, and video production can be stressful. Like so many disciplines video production is all about people and how you gel together as a team. So find out what humans you’ll be working with.
- Lay out clear deadlines and project milestones and make sure you can get in writing that they can meet them. This will give you confidence going forward and will mean both you and the production company have a very clear shared understanding of the project.
- Ensure they have the capabilities to meet your production needs. VFX, compositing, security clearances, scriptwriting, motion graphics – whatever it is. Production companies have different organisational structures. For example we have two full time owner / operators here and we scale up and down bringing in regular contractor specialists for different projects. If there’s a chance your availability or shoot dates may change last minute than ensure your chosen company has the capacity to accommodate that change (especially if it’s a likely scenario). Do they have a large enough team? Or a B-team? Another production team they can call in? Most video production companies will have a project lined up after yours, and after that one, and potentially have two or three others in preproduction or post at the same time. It’s good to talk early if you require flexibility around potential date changes with regards to filming or final delivery.
- Gear. Cameras don’t not matter as much as they used to. Many cheaper cameras today are capable of outstanding image quality. However, if you’re shooting commercial work for cinema or Broadcast TV, confirm your team is shooting in at least a 10bit codec (format) with minimum 422 color sampling. This is especially important for green screen or VFX work. But ultimately similar to point 2, watching production company content is the best ways to judge quality.
- If it isn’t given to begin with, and it should be, request an itemised quote so you can see how the charges are broken down. Both crew costs and expenses. Some companies charge a lump sum, and there may be absolutely nothing dodgy going on with that at all. But one of the main reasons you want a clear breakdown is that particularly for larger projects the scope of the production can change. Sometimes this means additional scope and therefore additional expense. But sometimes productions go the other way and certain things that we think may be required, aren’t. This may be time in post, it might be certain travel costs, hire equipment that doesn’t turn out to be needed. It could be anything. If you have a clear itemised quote then you know what you’re paying for and you can be confident that you’re not paying for things that you aren’t using.