Choosing the right video production company for the job is never an easy task. You might have come up with the greatest idea that’s ever been conceived in the history of the world but if you choose the wrong company for the production process, your video won’t end-up how you wanted it.
The problem is that there’s hundreds of video production companies to choose from (it’s a very competitive industry) and often, it’s hard to tell which is the best.
Obviously, we’re a video production company ourselves but we admit, we’re not always the right people for the job; which is why we’ve created our totally non-biased guide to choosing the right video production company. We hope it helps.
Step #1 – Deciding What You Want
Before you even start looking for a video production company, you need to know exactly what you want. Are you looking for a corporate, web or viral video? Perhaps you’re looking to get something produced for TV or specifically for internal use (such as a training video).
The better your understanding of exactly what you want, the easier your search is going to be. Obviously, you might wish to get some creative input from a production company (as this is usually a good idea anyway) but generally, you should have a good outline of the style you’re looking for prior to beginning your search.
If you haven’t done this yet, take a moment to think about exactly what it is that you want and what the aim of your video is going to be. Is it going to be used predominantly on the web? Or perhaps on TV? You don’t need to know every detail but you should at least know the basics as without this, you’re certainly not going to find the search process too easy.
Step #2 – Beginning Your Search
If you were just about to reach for the phonebook, don’t. This is no way to begin your search and to be brutally honest, neither are those generic business directories (Thomson Local, Yell.com etc) as they simply don’t offer much insight into the companies they’re listing.
The only way to start your search is using the internet, or more specifically, a search engine (such as Google, Bing etc). Being as you already know what style of video you’re looking for, you should know what to search for. If you’re looking to have a video produced for the web, try searching for something along the lines of “web video production company” or simply “web video production”. Similarly, if you’re looking for a corporate video, try searching for “corporate video production”. If you’re looking for a local company, just add your location to your search.
Once you’ve got your search results, you can start looking through the companies. Don’t just stick to the first result or even the first page of results, have a good sift through the first two or three pages and look through each company’s website.
Look through their portfolio and see if you like their work. If possible, try and decipher whether they’re a trustworthy company or not by taking a look at their previous clients and viewing any available testimonials. If you find a company that could be a contender, make a note of them and move on to the next step.
Step #3 – Refining Your Search
Now you have a decent list of contenders, you need to separate the good companies from the not-so-good. The best way to do this is by looking at online reviews (on trustworthy websites).
A couple of the best places to look include Google Places and FreeIndex. Usually, any well-established business will have at least a few reviews on each of these websites and this will allow you to decipher the trustworthiness of each business.
If any of the companies on your list don’t have any reviews, don’t rule them out altogether as they may still be a great company. It’s the bad reviews that you’re looking for.
Step #4 – Getting A Quote
Hopefully, you’ll have a list of a few companies at this point but obviously, this eventually needs to be refined to just one company (i.e. the company you choose for the job). The best way to do this is by contacting each of the ones on your list with a brief of your project and ask them for a quote.
One thing to remember at this stage is that a video production company is going to find it very difficult to provide a detailed quote if you don’t give them enough details, so make sure you submit a decent brief to them.
Basically, a video production brief can include anything you want but as a bare minimum you should let them know what the video is for, where it will be showcased (online, internally for training purposes etc), how long you want it to be and where you’re based (as they’ll need to take into account travel costs). You can also include any other details you want such as examples of videos you’ve seen and liked, the deadline or even your desired budget. All of this will help a video production company create a bespoke quote for you.
Step #5 – Getting A Proposal
When you receive your quotes, you’ll probably notice that they vary quite significantly. At this point, you can ‘weed out’ any of the companies that you simply cannot afford so that you don’t waste any more of your time (or their time).
From the remaining companies, you should ask for a production proposal from each of them. This is simply a written document that will give a brief outline of your project including an initial production schedule, detailed cost breakdown, video concept overview and the value it will bring to your business.
Production proposals are usually no longer than a couple of pages and will allow you to see which video production company has the best understanding of your needs. Some video production companies may request a face-to-face meeting or phone conversion in order to better understand your needs and create an effective bespoke proposal (this is usually done by the best companies).
#6 – Commissioning Your Production
At this point, you should have found the perfect production company for your project so all that’s left now is to actually commission the production. Before you do, there are a few last questions you should make sure to ask.
Firstly, you should enquire about the cost; is the proposed cost a fixed cost or could it possibly escalate throughout the production process? You should also enquire about re-edits; is the company including re-edits in the proposed price or will any additional editing be charged at an hourly rate? Most video production companies will be happy to make any necessary changes until you are entirely happy with the video but at the same time, you need to be clear about whether or not this is the case beforehand.
You also need to set a guaranteed completion deadline for the video and ensure that you will have full Copyright ownership of the finished product too. All of this should be documented in the contract between you/your company and the video production company you are commissioning.
And That’s It… (phew!)
We know it seems like a bit of a lengthy process but when you’re spending thousands on a video, you need to know the company you hire is going to deliver. The good news is that once you’ve found a company that produces great work, you won’t have to go through this lengthy process again.