Knowing how to choose a video production company that will offer you a return on investment is not an easy task, but rest assured – there is one out there for you capable of meeting all your needs. With the right amount of research and knowing what to look for (and to look out for), you will make a decision that you won’t regret and you will also establish a relationship that will provide video content for years of future marketing needs.
The best corporate video production companies are dedicated to being a trusted marketing partner that learns about and embraces your creative goals while enhancing them with their professional services. They earn a reputation as a quality production company by providing a big return on investment. Given how important visuals are to consumers today in all the content they consume, taking a moment to learn how to identify a quality video production company is certainly in your best interests.
Knowing where to start and how to proceed can be difficult, but by following the advice/tips/instructions in this article, you will gain the confidence to make a decision and know it is the right one for you and your organization.
Table of contents
- The importance of choosing a professional video production company
- What makes a good video production company?
- How to find the right corporate video production company?
- Major factors to look for when choosing a video production firm
- Steps to follow when hiring a video production company
- Common questions to ask potential video production agencies
- How to find a professional corporate video production company
- Tips for choosing the best video production agency for your project
- 9 Red flags to watch out for when hiring a video production company
- Make a final decision
- Hire a trusted Chicago video production company
The importance of choosing a professional video production company
Why are so many organizations seeking out a professional video production company to help them with their content? The stats are in and they are convincing.
According to Wistia, roughly 60% of companies surveyed posted monthly or weekly videos last year, and close to 10% posted daily videos. It is clear that using video in their marketing efforts is paying off.
But what’s stopping organizations from producing videos? The time it takes to make a quality video is the #1 reason, which is why outsourcing this unique skill is the preferred method.
The best video production content varies depending on the goals of each individual organization. While most companies upload videos that cover products, creative video production companies can do much more than simply tout goods and services. Organizations also find value in focusing on educational videos that bring a deeper understanding to topics related to their industry, but they can also focus on videos promoting their company culture, which helps to establish a personality that defines the organization.
A quality video production company will help you with your strategy, as the people behind it are also well-versed in video marketing techniques. But their true value is in their approach to imagery: You want your video to stand out from the crowd, and it is a crowded field (Wistia alone had 15 million uploads in 2022), which is why it is so important for you to only partner with a video production professional that will produce stunning content that speaks to your target audience.
What makes a good video production company?
As you seek out a partner to assist you with the development of video for your brand, you will most likely be seeking out one that offers affordable video production services, which matters, but affordability is not as important as creative video production services that can bring your ideas to life.
Rather than taking a chance on a newcomer to the industry (and most likely the one to offer the lowest rates), only partner with a video production company that has proof of their skills, their creativity and that they are quality communicators leaning toward being customer centric in everything they do. These qualities will ensure that your video(s) are made to your satisfaction.
How to find the right corporate video production company?
With the rapid uptick in consumers’ zeal for visual content, video production companies small and large have sprung out of the woodwork, but you won’t find all of them equally skilled or qualified. When you need a corporate video production company, don’t settle for anything less than one that prides itself on quality production and pleasing the customer.
What separates corporate video production from others is the ability to work with high-end hardware, top-notch editing software and have the budget to hire a team of highly skilled videographers. These are teams with years of experience among them, capable of framing shots and using their editing technology in a way that the inexperienced can’t fathom.
Major factors to look for when choosing a video production firm
Before you even consider signing up with a video production firm, run through this checklist and make sure they can offer everything that the top-notch firms are able to provide.
Top factors to consider before hiring a corporate video production company:
Look for high-quality video production services
When choosing the best video production company, the most obvious and definitely non-negotiable aspect of what they have to offer is quality video production. While other video production services are important, nothing outweighs the importance of quality in their finished product.
You’re looking for aesthetic quality related to lighting and other imagery, but you’re also looking for the quality of their storytelling abilities. A picture says a thousand words, but video can do much more, so make sure you only partner with the firm that can provide you with that.
Look for interest in your objectives
Video production is an artistic endeavor with practicality at the forefront. The best video production company for you will be the one that takes an interest in your vision and the objectives you want to achieve. Quality corporate video production services come from a company where leaders ask about your goals and make sure they completely understand all objectives that are important to you.
Video production professionals are a curious bunch, always investigating, learning and utilizing that knowledge to their clients’ benefit. They are also storytellers capable of relating your objectives in captivating visual form.
Look for professionals and timely communicators
A corporate video production agency doesn’t reach that stature without being professional in everything they do, particularly in its ability to be prompt in its responses to you. They are clear communicators and provide thoughtful answers to your questions. These qualities are abundantly clear prior to the production of the actual video, as there are many steps and plenty of communication and planning leading up to shoot days.
Professional video production services only come at the hands of people who know that their business can’t survive in this industry unless they are anything less than customer centric in everything they do. Whether it’s replying to an email, returning a phone call or being courteous, thoughtful and responsive in actual conversation – professionals will prove their worth to you every step of the way.
Look for creative and passionate folks
You want your marketing content to engage customers and potential customers. Creative corporate video production can provide that to you, but only if the people behind the company are passionate about their craft. Anybody can learn to operate a camera, but being innovative with it is something only a creative video production agency professional can offer.
As you begin your search for a partner, think about your vision for content and some of the aesthetics you wish to convey. Look for a video production company that shares that vision and can improve upon it. That shared passion will lead to quality videos that engage your audience every time.
Look for a proper video production portfolio and reels
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. You can interview video production companies all day, but their true worth will be in what they’ve done for others and it will be in their reels. A video production portfolio doesn’t have to align 100% with your company, but look for a corporate video production agency that has some degree of experience working with companies in your industry and has produced content that fits your narrative style and aesthetic preferences.
It’s possible that you won’t find a company that ticks all your boxes. In the end, all companies will have their pros and cons, which can apply differently to different clients, so make a checklist of what you like and dislike about them and carefully consider which will serve you best. Quality corporate video production companies will gladly provide you with their portfolio and reels, allowing you the chance to judge them and make an informed decision to work with them or keep looking.
Look for effective time management
Time management is important in video production, as it involves many moving parts that need to be handled simultaneously. Quality video production firms will not take a project they know they can’t complete on time because deadlines are important to clients and missing them is not an option.
Furthermore, an unreasonable timeline/deadline can lead to rushed production, which leads to poor outcomes. Be clear about your needs upfront and be sure your agency doesn’t commit to something they can’t deliver.
Look for pros with advanced working equipment
A video production company is nothing without quality equipment. If you want your marketing video to have the best live action, superior motion graphics or animation, and sound quality, your video experts should have high-end digital cinema cameras, expensive lenses, top-rated lighting equipment and the experience necessary to produce the best possible images.
The video production company you choose should also be equipped with advanced computer systems and software. While it takes plenty of skill and experience to capture high-quality video, there is a lot of post-production knowledge that goes into the process that is just as important. Becoming an expert at editing video takes years to master, but it’s something professional video companies pride themselves on.
Look for experts at handling logistics
When you partner with a quality video production company, you’re getting a team of experts that are capable of managing numerous aspects at the same time. Yes, they are storytellers and beyond proficient with cameras, lighting, lenses, drones and other technology, but they are also organized and capable of handling all sorts of logistics, making them excellent project managers.
There is no doubt that video production involves many, many moving pieces, so having that logistics component as part of their expertise is mandatory. From developing a script to scouting locations, bringing the right talent on board to securing permits, managing timelines/deadlines and the budget all at the same time – find a video production company that can handle all of this and you’ve got a worthy partner.
Look for reasonable pricing
Multiple factors are involved in establishing what the budget will be for video production services, including days of production, crew needs, equipment needs and the look/style/duration of the finished deliverable(s). While it is true that a large budget can help to ensure quality production, a high-quality video does not have to completely deplete your budget. You will find though that the cost from one agency to another will vary quite significantly in some cases. At Lane Media & Productions, we work with our clients to create quality content that matches their budget.
As you search for affordable video production companies, establish what you are able to spend. Your budget will determine what your production will entail, including the amount of time that is spent on it to the length of the video to various other factors including location, live-action actors and innumerable other aspects that could go into a project.
Steps to follow when hiring a video production company
Hiring a video production company requires plenty of research because there are so many companies out there today but very few will be a good fit for you. The best corporate video production company is the one that meets your requirements and expectations, but also fits your budget. We’ve established a list of key items to look for to assist you in finding the best fit.
Search for video production companies
Try the obvious internet sources for your search, including the top three engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo!, but also check out the Better Business Bureau and Yelp. These resources will not only help you find the video production companies that are close to you, but you’ll also get to see the videos they’ve produced recently, the type of clients they serve and what customers have said about their services.
Customer reviews are some of the most trusted and influential sources you have, so be on the lookout for positive and negative reviews.
Create a list of companies to approach
Keep track of your research by creating a list of video production companies in your area and make notes beside each of them: what you like and dislike based on what you’ve gleaned from information online? Start narrowing down the list by crossing off those with too little experience or those that have too many negative reviews, etc. You should be left with a handful of potential partners, all of which you can go a step further with and begin a conversation.
Ask for recent work samples to review
The next step is to ask for video production samples if you haven’t already seen them on their website. Do they produce videos for companies like yours (similar size, similar industry) and in a style that fits your vision?
Seeing examples of previous work is often the deciding factor for clients. It’s also important that the work you see is recent. Dated projects they want to tout could be a red flag (see the section on red flags) indicating that their recent work is lackluster.
Set up a consultation
You’ve done plenty of research and you have finalists on your list, so now it is time to schedule a consultation. Feel free to send information about your organization, your wants and your needs in advance of the meeting, but also prepare plenty of questions about the agency. During the consultation, make mental notes about their communication skills and if they operate out of professional, organized space.
Request a proposal and/or quote
When your finalists know more about your project, ask them to send you an estimate of what it will cost to produce. Details are important, so be sure you’re giving them everything they need to give you the most accurate quote possible. They might come back with some questions to further clarify what is expected of them. The best video production companies will offer you a fairly detailed estimate, which should give you a better idea of which one will be a good fit for you.
Shortlist and select the company that best fits your needs
Now that you know the quality of their work, how well they communicate, their ability to produce content that will be of unique value to your target audience, what they will charge you for their work and if they can deliver on time, you can make some more eliminations to bring your list down to perhaps just a couple of finalists.
Make your final decision
We mentioned earlier how important it is that your video production firm aligns with your vision, that their work is of quality in terms of aesthetics and storytelling, that their fees for their services are within your budget and that you feel comfortable working with them. By now you should have all the information you need to make the right decision. Take this one last moment to go over your production schedule and the prospective date of delivery.
Sign a video production contract
Quality corporate video production firms will insist that your agreement with them is in writing, as this protects them and you. All the details of the contract should be laid out and you are advised to read it carefully before signing.
Common questions to ask potential video production agencies
Just as there is a price for everything, there is also a budget that needs to be followed, but don’t let your budget dictate the quality of your video. What you’re looking for is value and a return on investment, so when you spend money, you know it is well spent. If you make the budget your first consideration, you risk sacrificing quality, which could result in wasting your money and damaging your brand’s image.
Follow these recommendations about questions to ask before committing to signing with a video production agency.
Top questions for prospective production companies:
What is your level of expertise and experience with video production?
The best results don’t come from amateurs – you only get quality by working with professionals who have amassed years of experience producing content. You can glean a lot from a resume, but this is their chance to open up their portfolio to you so they can prove their value.
As you watch their reels you’ll get a sense of their abilities to work with lighting, framing, location and other important elements like editing and storytelling. This is also your chance to ask about input from previous clients so you can get their take on the company’s quality.
Finally, ask them which video they believe best represents them as a company.
What is your video production niche?
Video production companies have a few things in common, including their ability to work a camera and lighting systems, capture audio and edit material, but ask them what makes them stand out from their competition. It could be their ability to work with clients or their storytelling abilities.
They should also have a specific niche in terms of the types of videos they produce. Some might have a reputation for skillful use of drone photography or live action in their sequences while others are adept at tackling specific themes.
A follow-up question you should also ask is if they have experience working with clients in your specific industry.
What kinds of videos do you specialize in?
Most quality video production companies aren’t one trick ponies, as they need to be able to diversify their clientele and cater to more than one specific need. However, it is important to ask, especially if you’re committed to a specific type of video, what videos they specialize in. If you're interested in telling your brand story, you don’t want to align yourself with a video production company that specializes in user tutorials.
From a marketing standpoint, some clients seek out a video professional that is skilled in marketing and capable of creating content that meets client needs as they evolve. This could involve everything from product videos to live broadcasts. Know what you want going in and see if the video professional has that specific kind of experience.
What are your ideas for our video?
Nothing could be worse than a blank stare as a response to this question. Once the production company has been clued into what you consider to be your objectives at this point and you ask them how they would approach building a strategy around it, they should either have a ton of suggestions or a bunch of questions that clarify your intent, followed by a spirited response.
While you shouldn’t expect a detailed shot list from them at this point, you should be met with some detailed discourse that informs your decision making going forward. The only caveat to that statement is that you shouldn’t be put off if they ask for a day or two to come up with some ideas, as some production teams would rather present you with well-rounded ideas than shoot from the hip during an initial meeting.
What is your general workflow and video production process like?
You’re seeking out a highly organized company to assist you with your videos, so this is their chance to prove that they have all the bases covered by describing their workflow. Plus, this gives you insights into potential timelines, the effort that is involved and the amount of dedication the team is going to put toward your project.
Deeper questions to consider about the step-by-step process:
- Can the project begin immediately or will you need time to start?
- How long does a project like this usually take?
- How big is the crew and what are their capabilities/specialties?
- What type of production equipment will you use?
- Describe your editing process; how long does it take?
Establish who the project leader is and if there will be different contacts to communicate with during each phase of the production. Establish who the creative lead is on the team and how much input they’re willing to let you have. While you need to be able to trust creatives, they should also have an ear open to you.
Nobody wants confusion or tension, so a quality production team will consider your inquiries part of following best practices and ensuring that all the details are ironed out in advance. Keep in mind that while your input is valuable, they are the professionals and they also have a reputation to protect, so don’t be offended if you aren’t given carte blanche in terms of creative control or offering continuous input. This is something you have to consider for the shooting phase as well as the editing phase.
Scripts are often revised more than once and the editing process could also involve multiple edits before a finished product is agreed upon. Inquire as to what the length of time is between these revisions, as this will give you a better idea of your ability to stay on track with your timeline and due date. Finally, the more revisions you request, the more work it takes for the production company, which means there could be more fees tacked on.
What kind of equipment are you using and do you own it?
Although you might be unfamiliar with camera equipment, a simple Google search will identify the difference between a high-end digital cinema camera and a prosumer camera – which will be a large discrepancy in the final “look” of the deliverable. Prosumer cameras are also known to bring some potential audio pitfalls to the project. Furthermore, asking if they own the equipment establishes that they should at least know proper operating fundamentals. It will also show if they are using a budget to rent gear they do not own.
Renting equipment is common in video production and it’s not always a bad thing, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting.
How long will my video take to complete?
There is probably a lot riding on your completed video project, which means you need to plan other marketing tasks around its completion. This is why it’s important to know how long it will take to complete. A well-thought-out plan will take less time to complete than a plan that is undeveloped at the beginning of the production schedule. There are obvious considerations regarding the complexity of a project, so no matter how well it is planned, a complex shoot will take longer than an “easy” production.
To get a better idea of how long the project will actually take, inquire about the video production company’s process. For example, do they work solely on one project at a time from start to finish, or do they have multiple projects going at the same time that require frequent breaks?
Don’t rush into hiring a video production company because you’ve got an event you need to promote in the very near future, as this can only create undo stress and expectations. Come in prepared so you’re not starting from scratch, and give the production team ample time to create quality content.
How much will my video cost?
This is the all-important question that every fiscally responsible CEO/project leader or marketing manager has to ask: how much will the video production cost? It’s a question you should ask every company you talk to. Keep in mind that you don’t need to choose the one that charges the most to get the best quality, but when you choose the low bidder, you often get what you pay for.
Your budget will ultimately help in your decision about which company you work with. But keep in mind that partnering with a quality team will bring value to the finished product. Always be willing to reevaluate to keep within your budget, but be wary of sacrificing on quality.
Can you share samples of your work with us?
Professionals take pride in their work and will gladly show it to prospective clients. In fact, it’s standard procedure and you should expect as much from the company you consider hiring. Be sure to inquire about seeing reels made for clients similar to your organization or those that are in your industry.
Can you share client reviews with us?
You can do your own research to find reviews, as this will turn up unbiased opinions, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the company for them. Reading reviews is a great way to determine the level of service you will receive should you hire them.
Who will be my point of contact?
The best projects go smoothly because communication is established early on. When you have questions or concerns, you need to know who will be your point of contact, so always ask up front who you should address.
Do you have marketing experience?
Video marketing is exceedingly influential on target audiences, but your video won’t make much of a splash with yours unless your video production company is equipped with video marketing skills.
In fact, some video production firms will say they are marketers first, videographers second. Partnering with a company that is invested in your marketing strategy will pay big dividends now and in future projects, as they will be clued into the trajectory of your campaigns and will provide valuable input.
How to find a professional corporate video production company
It’s easy to settle on the first corporate video production company you find in your area, but don’t risk it – look around at several and get a sense of what each of them offers. The goal is to establish a partnership with a company that offers professional videography services, but can also be a key factor in your marketing strategy moving forward.
The following are methods you should consider in compiling a list of agencies:
Ask your colleagues for video production company recommendations
You likely have a network of folks in your industry that you trust and can ask for advice on any number of topics. Reach out to them about their experiences with professional videography agencies in the area and if they have recommendations. Hold off reaching out to these companies at this stage, as you want to create a more robust list and do research that could eliminate candidates that aren’t a good fit.
Use search engines (Google/Bing/Yahoo!)
Google, Bing and Yahoo! are the “big three” in search engines and will be a great resource for helping you to build a list of prospects. But in order to get the results you want, you need to use the right keywords. Research in this area shows that the keywords that turn up the most relevant results are “video production agency in (enter your city here)” and “video production company near me.” Generally, the first page of the results will be the most useful to you.
If you’re looking for a more visual representation of video companies near you, use Google Maps and click on each of the companies in your area. Helpful search hints in Maps include “corporate video production company” and “creative corporate video production company.”
Look at competitors’ videos you like
If you are like people, you’re keeping a close eye on the competition, which means you’ve probably seen their videos. Did any of them stand out to you as something that could work for your organization?
Find out who made the video and see if they might be a good partner for you. You can also do a search within your industry with the keywords “(your industry) video case study.” This should pull up plenty of information for you to consider, and hopefully some of them will be local.
Browse social media
Social media posts are heavy on video these days, so this should be a fertile hunting ground for you to find compelling content and clues as to which company developed it. Find them on social media and learn as much as you can about them. You can even directly message the company for more information.
Look at relevant awards
One way video production companies get more eyes on their work is by entering competitions. Scour the results of the competitions in your area over the last few years and see which local companies look the most appealing to you.
Tips for choosing the best video production agency for your project
The best video production agency will be made clear to you after adequate research, asking the right questions and having a well-rounded definition of what it is you’re looking for. While it’s not recommended to choose the company with the lowest bid (or the highest, for that matter), price is secondary to quality. After you’ve ascertained which companies are capable of meeting your aesthetic needs, begin looking for the ones capable of telling a story.
Here are useful tips to help you select the perfect video production company for your next project:
Define your goals and work out your requirements
You know video works for other companies, but do you know how a video will work for you? You need to be able to define your goals before you can begin searching for a professional video production agency.
You need to have an idea of what kind of video you want to make and the purpose behind it. For example, is your goal to educate your target audience, promote a product or service or put your company culture on display? Coming in unprepared means you’re starting from scratch with a company that might not be a good fit in the end.
Prepare a video production brief
The more details you share with your prospective video professional, the more information you can get from them about their ability to meet your needs. Furthermore, your video production brief will give them the details required to come back to you with a more accurate cost projection.
Items to include in your content brief:
- The purpose of the video
- Your target audience
- Key messaging
- Video type
- Length of video
- Examples similar videos
You don’t have to know exactly what you want at this point, but this brief is a great way to get the conversation started. Furthermore, this brief will be the catalyst for your prospective video production company in developing questions.
To help you get started, we’ve established some vital points that should be addressed in your brief, so come up with some thoughtful answers to the information below.
Set your project budget
What might be a “big budget” for some companies will be small for others, but it’s all relative to what you’re able to spend. Establishing a budget sets parameters for what will be possible. Simply put, when you approach an agency with a brief and your budget, they will be able to tell you what they can do for you, and if that falls short of your vision for the project, they should be able to tell you how much more it will cost to reach your goal.
You need to see a return on your investment if the project is going to be of value, so keep that in mind as you set your project budget. For example, setting a budget too low will provide lackluster returns, whereas going overboard will leave you with sticker shock and equal disappointment.
Don’t compromise your vision for your budget
There will be times when the vision for a shot will require additional expenses, so if you can be flexible with your budget, that will give you more flexibility on shoot days.
Also, keep in mind that scheduling multiple shoot days can get expensive, as each day requires a specific amount of travel and setup time, so try to get the most out of your budget and schedule by shooting as much material that you can on each shoot day. And remember – make sure the rights to the material are yours so you can use it in any of your future marketing campaigns.
Give preference to a company that specializes in your industry
If you’ve made an extensive list of potential video production agency partners and need to narrow it down, cross out the ones that don’t have experience in your industry. Unless they have expressed a passion for helping you with your video and you have a shared vision for the project, they probably won’t be able to help you like an agency that has already produced multiple videos for a company like yours.
Also, take note of the type of video you want to produce, whether it’s a television commercial, product tutorial, corporate video, etc., and match it to the agencies that have experience in those styles. This information should be ascertained easily by looking over their portfolio and reels. If your project appears that it might be too much of a stretch for the agency, cross them off your list.
Explore if they have clients of a similar scale as your company
One way to determine if the agency you’re considering is a good fit for your video production quality goals and your budget is to find out if they’ve worked with companies that are similar in scale to yours.
For example, you’re not likely to see a Fortune 500 company partner up with an agency that consists of one person using mid-level quality video production technology. Rather, a company that size will seek out a production agency that has worked with other Fortune 500 companies. The same is true at the opposite end of the spectrum.
And it’s about more than budget – the agency that has worked with companies like yours will have a more efficient approach to your project and will be a better communicator with you because they’ve amassed a lot of experience with companies just like yours.
Know what you want to ask prospective companies
All good conversations are full of insightful questions. The more you know about what you want out of your project, the better able you will be to come up with a list of questions for the agency you’re considering. But this is also your chance to be direct regarding questions about who they are as a company. Ask about their values, their passions and how they are best able to assist companies like yours.
Clarify their working strategy
A project that goes smoothly is one where there are no surprises. If you inquire about their working strategy, this will give you an idea of how they work and what you can expect during production. This also offers insight into their creative process, which can be a tricky situation depending on how much control of the artistic vision you want and how much control the production company is willing to cede.
Clarifying the working strategy provides you with windows of opportunity where you will know when it is appropriate to offer input and make requests. All good video production companies value input, so be sure to know when to offer yours. On that note, some video professionals are rather guarded in their approach to creating content, which means your input might not be well received during production. If you want to take a more hands-on approach, this isn’t the production company for you; choose one that is more receptive to collaboration.
Check their customer reviews
“The customer is always right.” It might sound cliche, but customer reviews are extremely insightful in helping you find the agency that’s right for you. What is the ratio of positive to negative reviews? Do the negative reviews come off as legitimate or are they petty? Do the positive reviews seem trustworthy? Some reviews have more value than others, but spend some time on these to gain more clarity
Clarify the timeline
Have you ever heard the phrase, “do you want it done right or do you want it done today?” While quality agencies work hard and keep to a tight schedule, the truth is that video production is a rather slow process, so be sure not to push a company into a deadline where they have to scramble to finish it. This can force them to present you with a final product that could be much better if they’d had sufficient time to complete it.
Some video production companies are busy serving multiple customers simultaneously, allotting time for each of them throughout the week. This can cause a timeline headache for you if you’re on a deadline, so always clarify what you need and when you need it, and if they can’t meet these needs because they’re tackling multiple projects at the same time, move on.
Plan for the long-term
If you’re like most people researching video production agencies, you have a project in mind and you need to find someone for that specific project. But as you search, keep in mind that the agency you find for this project could potentially be the one for your next one, too.
When you bring one on board, you get to know how they work, get familiar with the crew and the project leaders and develop a relationship with them. In turn, they get to know your preferences. This makes taking on the next project so much easier. You’ll also have more consistency in terms of the style of the production from one video to the next.
9 Red flags to watch out for when hiring a video production company
In some ways, red flags are a good thing; they cause you to pause and question whether or not something an agency does is good or bad for you. For example, an agency might sound too good to be true, which is a red flag. A red flag might pop up for you when you see their fees or their equipment or their ability to meet a deadline. Trust your intuition, but also follow these tips about red flags.
Top red flags to be aware of when hiring a corporate video production agency:
Red Flag #1: They offer the lowest price in the market
You’ve looked around and you’ve finally stumbled onto a video production agency offering a rate that nobody can beat. Do you snatch them up now before someone else does? Nope – this is a major red flag.
A video production company is a contractor, so think about them like a contractor that specializes in interior painting: The painting contractor that offers the lowest bid is probably cutting corners by using inferior quality paints and equipment, which results in poor-quality finishes. The same is almost always true of video production agencies – the least expensive one uses the lowest quality equipment and has the least amount of experience. The results are predictable – you get what you pay for.
It’s responsible to be fiscally minded, but remember that you need to see a return on your investment, so don’t be afraid to spend more money on the agency that is working with a bigger crew, that has more experience and is using better equipment. Customer-centric agencies are also trustworthy, which means they know their worth and will offer competitive prices rather than try to “low ball” the competition.
The best choice is an agency with a high level of creativity, uses superior equipment, employs a team that is easy to communicate with and instills you with confidence that they will get the job done right.
Red Flag #2: They do a little bit of everything
Your video production agency should be able to provide script writing services, be talented in storyboarding, as well as be expert videographers and editors. These are skills that fall under the auspices of video production.
The red flag goes up when they also try to sell themselves as graphic design or website development experts. Something has to give when they spread themselves too thin, so don’t expect quality video out of them if they're also “social media strategists.” Yes, quality agencies know a ton about marketing, but only in regard to their role as video production professionals.
Red Flag #3: They not taking the time to understand your needs
Quality video production agencies are extremely customer centric, which means they devote all the time necessary to listen to client input. The only way a project can be a success is if the video reflects the wants/needs of the client, which only happens when the partnership involves quality communication.
If the agency you’re considering doesn’t have questions for you or lacks interest in knowing the facts that can help them personalize your content, you shouldn’t consider them a worthy prospect.
Red Flag #4: They prioritize creativity over business practicality
Creativity is extremely important, as visuals need to be created in a way that tells a story. However, a clever video that doesn’t serve your objectives but rather serves an artistic aesthetic is not of value to you.
If your goal is to promote your company culture, boost sales, engage or educate your target audience, but the video production adheres to an artistic vision over practicality, you’ve got a major red flag. The best videos are those that combine cleverness with practicality.
Red Flag #5: They don’t showcase recent work
A quality showreel can be the clencher for clients in search of a video production company, but if the showreel isn’t something the agency has produced recently, that’s a red flag. Are their best days behind them? Did something happen in the company that doesn’t allow them to produce valuable content anymore? An old showreel brings up too many doubts about them. Look for an agency that can prove they aren’t stagnant by checking out their reels and ensuring that the ones they are most proud of are recent productions.
Red Flag #6: They do not have publicly accessible reviews
The lack of reviews available for public consumption is a problem because it points to too many negative possibilities, such as the potential that they haven’t been in business long enough to garner reviews, pointing to a serious lack of experience. Or, do they have something to hide and have omitted a review page from their website?
Given the volume of reviews on just about everything today, a company with no publicly accessible reviews is just too suspicious to trust.
Red Flag #7: They’ve been using the same equipment for a long time
Video production technology changes all the time, which means quality agencies constantly reinvest in their equipment to stay current. Investing in expensive cameras, lenses and lighting equipment is necessary if an agency is going to stay competitive, which means if the one you’re researching has a bunch of dated equipment, you can probably count on outdated production methods. How old is too old? Digital cameras, which are the norm for many years now, can be upgraded at least every five years.
Red Flag #8: They are not offering anything in writing
Documentation is important in any business dealing, and outsourcing videography work is no exception to the documentation rule. Before any work can begin you must get all the details down in writing and signed by the appropriate folks. Furthermore, getting a lawyer involved is not out of the ordinary, as a legal professional should look over documents before you sign them. A rather significant red flag is that an agency wants to proceed with verbal agreements. This points to an inexperienced agency that is also unprofessional in their approach, which could be an issue later.
Quality video productions do not happen spontaneously – it only begins after you’ve arrived at an agreement that has been inked. Documentation helps to lay out how the project will flow, including timelines (tracking sheets) and costs involved. The documentation that follows is written proof of their work, which holds them accountable.
Red Flag #9: They try to hide additional fees
The video production contract should have everything about costs/fees spelled out, but look at the small print for ways in which the agency might try to squeeze you for more money. This is common in companies that offer a low rate up front, then charge you for things you would assume were included, to begin with. Never assume anything – carefully review the contract for red flags and avoid getting nickeled and dimed.
Make a final decision
By now you know the risk of settling on the first or least expensive video production company you happen upon. To see a return on your investment, your video needs to be impactful, which means it is personalized to reach your target audience. This can only happen after careful research, asking the right questions, checking the red flags and using the facts you’ve ascertained to make an informed decision.
Set your budget and be as flexible with it as you can, as the quality of the video is what matters most. And while the best corporate video production company for you will be able to provide quality services within your budget, they will also be skilled communicators who listen as well as they ask questions. They will be equally committed to quality equipment, having invested in the latest cameras, lenses and lighting gear to produce the best possible video quality.
Your preferred company will be nearby, will have served companies similar in scope to yours and will prioritize your project rather than tackling too many at a time. Look for an agency that will commit to timelines, provide documentation and provide all the details in a contract that does not include a host of incidental fees that drive up costs.
After considering all of these caveats and considerations, you’re ready to proceed with making your final decision and you can make it with confidence.
Looking to hire a trusted Chicago video production company? Choose LANE Media & Productions
Based in the Chicago area, LANE Media & Productions counts itself as the best video production firm in the region. We are an agency boasting a team of experienced video professionals with talents that are sought out by individuals who won’t settle for anything but a creative, quality-focused, customer-centric video production company that is passionate about creating content that will engage the target audience.
We have successfully led many video production projects, consistently delivering what our clients want. From filming and editing to assisting clients on the entire production, including developing the script and scouting locations to hiring actors and developing sets – we’ve got your video production needs covered.
At LANE Media & Productions, we’re a corporate video production company that values client input and shares their passion for creating content that matters to their target audience. We can assist you with every aspect of video production and we hold ourselves accountable at every step. If you’re looking to hire a video production company, count on us to bring your vision to life.
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