Hiring a Video Production Company: What You Need To Know

Finding the right video production company to create your web video can be easy once you’ve taken some things into consideration.  There are two main categories of video production companies that a small to medium sized business or organization will likely consider.  The first is an owner/operator producer which typically means a single person will overlook all the elements of a production from concept development to principal photography to final edits and invoicing.  The second is a production company that is resourced with appropriate talent for each of the components and stages of a production.  Please note that it does not necessarily follow that a production company will deliver better quality then an owner/operator or that an owner/operator will be less expensive then a production company.  Both types of service provider should be considered and your decision should be based on more important factors as described below.

Good Web Video is Made In Pre-Production:

There are a few things you will want to know before approaching a video production company for a quote.

Know Your Target Audience:

Video production companies are not marketing firms.  They generally don’t conduct market research on your behalf but they can help you develop a concept that will be compelling to a well-defined group of viewers.  Empowering a video producer with a clear definition of your target market will drastically increase the effectiveness of your video and will make the development process easier for you and your production company.

Know Your Purpose:

Web videos can help you communicate many things to your clients.  You can educate your clients and viewers about your company or a product or service.  You can inform them about events or share relevant news.  You can also focus on communicating your brand and your unique selling proposition.  The most important thing you can do is define what you want to achieve with your video.

Know What You Want To Say – Not Necessarily How

How you will communicate what you want to say is part of the concept development process, but you will want to have a clear understanding of what you want to tell your viewers.  If you are interested in a video that promotes your brand, you’re producer will need to know how your brand is defined and what is unique about it.  The risk that needs to be avoided is creating a video that doesn’t say anything specific; there will be nothing memorable for viewers to walk away with and they will not be engaged by the piece.

Concept Development:

The development of the concept, and more specifically, the ‘how will your message be communicated,’ is a combination of creativity, production expertise and marketing considerations.   Unless you have an internal marketing department or a marketing agency that you are working with, it is highly recommended that you work with a video production company that can demonstrate marketing knowhow.  It’s okay to ask a lot of questions.  I promise a good producer will be grateful for a client that is interested in building trust and mutual respect.

Hiring a Company That Can Execute the Concept:

Your video will say a lot about your company both in terms of the message and in terms of the quality, care, clarity and professionalism.

Resources (Equipment / Personnel):

If you need your video to be visually stunning, hire a company with a good cinematographer.  Judging which company offers a good cinematographer is subjective but fortunately, it’s completely up to you.  Take the time to look at work that was previously produced and pick the company that you like.   If you know what you need to achieve, you can ask production companies what it would take to execute the concept and to demonstrate their ability to meet those needs.  A company that takes the time to give you a comprehensive plan will work hard for you to realize your vision.

Caution About Demo Reels:

Demo reels are not marketing material.  They are a collage of images that look great together and while they may be effective at demonstrating the shooting skills of a production company, they don’t necessarily show that a company can execute a marketing video effectively.  Make sure you take the time to review a broader scope of work produced by potential service providers.  The 20-30 minutes necessary to do that will empower you with a good sense of what you can expect from each potential producer.

Repeat Customers:

One of the most difficult things to evaluate in your search will be the production companies ability to maintain good working relationships, resolve problems or issues, come in on budget and meet deadlines.  Fortunately, there is an effective way of doing this.  A company that is successful in this respect has repeat business from the same clients.  Make a note of some key clients that the production company has and browse through their work to see if the clients come back for follow-up work.  If they don’t, that may be a red flag.

Company Culture:

Culture and brand are important.  Your video production service provider needs to work within your brand and culture guidelines.  If they haven’t developed a strong brand of their own, you will need to consider if they have the ability to communicate your brand effectively.  To put it in simpler terms, if you feel that a production company has it’s act together, they are worthy of further consideration for the work.  If you don’t, proceed with caution.

Reviews & Approvals

Video production is a process.  A good production company will have the processes in place that will inspire confidence, keep you involved and give you the opportunity to monitor the progress of the video.  Make sure your service provider will give you the opportunity to review and approve the following stages of a video production.

  1. Concept Approval
  2. Rough Cut
  3. Fine Cut
  4. Final Cut


Milosz Skowronski
Imaginarium Studio Inc.

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