Finding a company to help you with the killer video you need shouldn’t be a headache, but often it is. So many companies, so much difference in costs, so hard to get straight answers. Eeek!
We can help by offering a list of features to look for and questions to ask, some the obvious, some not so much.
1 How much will it cost?
This is always the answer everyone wants, but it takes a smidgen of patience to get it. An accurate, honest estimate requires laying out your unique vision and expectations with the video producers.
A trustworthy company will ask you to describe your ideas, help you develop scenarios and present you with a range of options. Sometimes your vision will spark a brilliant yet simple idea that is inexpensive to produce, and sometimes your requirements will more extensive production. Look for a company willing to hone your idea, offer creative suggestions and develop a plan to realize your vision within your budget.
Beware companies that don’t ask enough questions, promise a low price, make commitments that don’t seem realistic, or who want you to sign up immediately and make a down payment.
We will do a top-to-bottom analysis with you and provide a realistic, reliable time and cost estimate. Typically, the full production process takes 3-5 weeks. We offer a one-week turnaround on individual ‘rush’ projects.
2 Work Quality and Satisfied Customers
Every company has an online portfolio. Take a few minutes and look at these videos. What is the quality of the company’s work? Who are their clients? Do they have a list of references available? Have they established a good reputation over time with their customers?
Be discerning: the caring and commitment a company puts into their productions shine through in the finished video. Ask yourself how the online products feel. Are they mechanical, churn-‘em-out? Or do they show thoughtful, creative work that is tailored to the product?
Obviously, you want a company as committed to making a fantastic video as you are to offering a great product or service!
3 Responsiveness to You and Production Timeline
These go hand-in-hand, so ask about them. You want to be comfortable that:
- The production timeline is responsible, realistic and meets your scheduling needs
- Your producer is a reliable, single point of contact who always knows the current state of production is always driving your project and is always available to you
- Your producer and team are willing and enthusiastic about shooting at any hour or location the creative vision requires
- Communication during development, production, and post-production is as real-time as possible (that’s what texting, Skype, and IMs are all about!)
- You have access to the process, such as the ability to review rough cuts and suggest revisions.
- You are part of a team that includes you as a collaborative partner at every step.
It’s sad to bring this up again, but…some companies have an “anything you say” approach and promise a high-quality, award-winning product incredibly quickly. Unless you can see precisely how they intend to do this, and you are comfortable they will deliver and be accountable, it is almost never a good idea to sign on to such a ‘promise.’
4 Quality of facilities and equipment
Some low-cost companies keep costs down to the point of operating out of a company van and renting their equipment project by project. The instability of such a business means you are less likely to get a high-quality finished product, reliable timelines, and professional-level production.
On the flip side, bigger isn’t always better; high-quality video production companies don’t necessarily need a lot of employees.
The point is to look for a company that is candid and open, and who give you the confidence that comes with working with established professionals.
5 Will they support you with marketing and promotion?
A video production company shouldn’t just wave you out the door when they have completed your project. They should be ready to help you with making your product effective in the marketplace.
We offer guidance on creatively integrating your video with YouTube, Vimeo, your web site and social media accounts to spike remarketing, drive viewership and increase sales.
Though technology means video companies can pull in talent from just about anywhere, local availability still makes a big difference.
We recognize the importance of an on-site, in-person producer who can update you, ask and answer questions, send you video clips or give you a call, all from your time zone. It’s frustrating having a great idea or an urgent question, but your collaborator in another time zone or hemisphere is unavailable or even sleeping!
Shape’s local presence means you review videos and bounce ideas off real people in real time, either at our production suites or through a streamlined online process.
Choosing the right company is the most critical decision you will make in launching your first video. A mistake can cost you time, frustration, money and lost opportunity.
6 Multiple Re-edits
Change is a typical part of the dynamic video production process, and many companies will limit you to just one or two revisions of your first cut before they start charging you for post-production time. The result is clients who are a bit less than entirely pleased with their final product.
We always want our customers to be 100 percent satisfied with our work. That’s why we work with you until your finished project is exactly the way you want it. That is a guarantee!
7 Those Little Extras
Look for companies that offer flexibility in pricing, since each client’s vision is unique. You also want producers that strive to make the project better, offering ideas and suggestions at every step, and a company whose employees seem excited and energized by their work. These are all indicators of a healthy, productive firm where creative professionals are thriving, and that means a great video product for your company!
If you haven’t already, check out why clients choose Shape Digital Media for their video production here.