Organizations of every shape and size require video content at some point – and when they do, video production companies are there to make their dreams come true. However, you shouldn’t simply choose the first company you find, for a number of reasons. You might need a company that operates within a specific niche, or you might prefer a company like Chicago’s Charter & Co that incorporates marketing into their video production process. There are also a few other considerations, which will be discussed in more detail below. The overarching theme, though, is that it’s possible to find the perfect video production company for your needs – you just have to know which questions to ask.
Why hire a video production company?
Video production companies vary in their scope and areas of specialization, but they all have one thing in common: they help other organizations create video content that’s beyond what they can accomplish in-house. Some of them work with clients who already have a creative vision for their content, and just need help with the technical side of things. Others take on the creative process as well, guiding the client from start to finish with their expertise and knowledge. For anyone who prioritizes production value in their video content, hiring a video production company is highly recommended (especially if they don’t have a creative/internal production team).
Video production companies are also hired when a specific project is beyond the capabilities of an in-house creative team. For example, a team that normally creates video content for social media platforms could be out of their depth on a project that involves a lot of animation. A production company with a specialty in animation, on the other hand, could take care of the project without a hitch.
Question #1: How does payment work?
Video production companies can vary widely in how much they’ll do for a set budget; it may also be difficult to determine just how well your budget could cover your content goals. This is why these details should be discussed near the beginning of the process, so nobody runs into unpleasant surprises later on.
For instance, you could ask for an example of a video that cost $10,000, just to see what you’d be working with. They may not have a straightforward answer for you, but this is still a good way to get the conversation going.
Another budget-related factor is whether or not the company charges a production fee; some of them do, which could add to the total price. These discussions may not be very straightforward depending on the complexity of your project, but you should still spend as much time as is necessary to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.
Question #2: What type of gear do you use?
Some production companies are constantly on the hunt for bigger and better technologies and gear, while others choose to rent any specialized gear they need for certain projects. By asking about the gear they typically use, you’ll have a better idea of which category they fall into.
The answer to this question will also have an impact on the budget. If they’re spending a portion of it on renting gear, that’s less money they’ll have to spend on other aspects of production. This isn’t to say that production companies that occasionally rent specialized gear are sub-par; far from it! That could also indicate that, even if they don’t have a certain piece of equipment, they know exactly what your video needs in order to pop.
Question #3: What’s your overall process like?
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to find video production companies that are more collaborative in their approach, as well as companies that work better by taking on most of the responsibility themselves. What you need to determine is which approach would work best for your organization.
Do you already have a creative team that’s put in a lot of work into designing the project’s concept? How much creative control do you want to exercise during the project? How many rounds of edits will be included in the contract? (Video production companies typically limit how many rounds of edits they provide, because otherwise picky clients could waste their time by requesting infinite editing.)
Question #4: Can you share some samples of recent work?
It’s all well and good if a company produced an award-winning video five years ago, but what were they doing five weeks ago? Recent work will be a great indicator of the quality you can expect on your own project.
Question #5: Can you provide some references?
In addition to recent work, references from satisfied clients can provide a peek into how well they live up to their promises. From video quality to client relationships, a top-notch video production company will excel in every aspect – and their former clients will be able to confirm this.
Question #6: Have you worked with other companies like ours?
This is an important one. For example, it could reveal that you’re talking with a company that specializes in wedding videography when you really need someone specializing in podcast production.
Question #7: How big is your company?
Bigger companies will have more resources to devote to your project, but smaller ones usually offer more personalized services. Which one is superior? That depends on what your organization prioritizes.
Question #8: Which types of videos do you specialize in?
Most video production companies can handle most types of videos, but you’d be best served by finding one that specializes in the kind of content you’re after. For example, a company specializing in TV ads probably wouldn’t be the best candidate for filming documentary-style content.
There are countless types of video production companies out there, so for the best results, it’s up to you to find which one would be the right fit for your production needs. The good news is, this process can be streamlined by simply using some common sense and asking the right questions.