Five things to ask when choosing a video production company

So you’ve reached the decision that you want or need a video. Whether it’s a training demo, product overview, business film or event highlights edit, there’s a good possibility that you’re not too familiar with the process from here on out; writing scripts, planning storyboards, booking talent or even choosing the right production company to help you accomplish your objectives. This article is designed provide some ideas and help you find the right video partner for you.

What does a typical project workflow look like?

Your chosen production company should have an established process for a typical commission. Most projects follow the convention of 1) planning, 2) production and 3) post-production. Your video partner should ideally start the whole process with a discovery meeting to determine your goals and objectives. By properly managing expectations on both sides, they should be able to explain what happens at each stage of the project: when payments will be due; how soon you’ll be able to see a draft edit; how many rounds of amends are included; when the project is expected to be completed; how the video files be supplied and whether they will provide any assistance with getting your content in front of your target audience.

Budget

By discussing budget early on, both sides can determine whether there might be the opportunity to work together. If you’re on a tight budget, broaching the subject of costs can save a lot of wasted time and potential disappointment. Video isn’t an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, so it can be tricky to provide costs on a niche or unique brief. However, most companies should be able to indicate ballpark (preferably, high and low) costs once they have a handle on the number of days filming/editing days required, plus any info on travel, accommodation and royalty-free music pricing.

Do they have experience creating content in the style you’re looking for?

If not, it doesn’t automatically put them out of the running. A production company venturing into a new genre can often mean that new ideas or shooting techniques are brought to the table. Breaking the mould and creating something fresh could make the difference between going viral… and going nowhere. This would have to be your own judgement call — if your brief is especially complicated or a once-in-a-lifetime event, play it safe and work with an outfit who’ve had some kind of experience with similar projects in the past.

Is there a storyboard, script or other written outline of what you’re getting?

If they’re not using contracts to tie everything together, at the very least, ensure you have some sort of storyboard, written outline or script to indicate what your video project might look like. This is massively important for both parties. If the written outline sounds wrong or storyboard doesn’t match your expectations, you have the opportunity to draw attention to the error and correct any mistakes before it’s too late. Likewise, the production company should want to protect against wasted time fixing errors in post-production, or worse, having to organise a re-shoot at their own expense. At the very least, ask to see a shot-list and some example still-frames which demonstrate colour style, lighting and depth of field. Depending on your brief, ask to see headshots for any models/talent and pictures of the filming location. Ideally, these planning assets should be signed off by both sides to ensure everything is delivered as agreed.

Is there a spark?

Does your chosen production company sparkle with excitement when they hear your ideas? Do they get fired up when describing options for bringing your brief to life?

By learning about your business, sector and/or brand values, creative ideas will start to materialise. Media creatives tend to score highly for job satisfaction, so the main thing which should be evident is their enthusiasm — are they excited by your ideas and what you’re hoping to acheive? If not, you might want to shop around until you find a company who connects with your objectives and can’t wait to get started working with you. After all, you deserve to be delighted with your brand new video content – so why settle for anything less?

Looking for award-winning video production with a personal touch? Check out some of our work or contact us now. Flapjack Films: Let’s create something incredible.

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