Have you ever bought something without having seen it?
I'm not talking about an online product on Amazon or eBay. I'm talking about something that you purchased and you didn’t see what you were buying. You don't think you have? I'm sure you have.
When was the last time you went to the cinema to see a film? I read somewhere that the founders of Hollywood loved the idea that in the movie business customers buy tickets before they've seen the product – the film. Great concept, right? There is absolutely no logic in paying before you see it! But it's true. You pay for a film before you know whether you like it or not! And if it's a bad film and you didn't like it... err tough, there's nothing you can do about it... no refund!
In the world of business you can't get away with it, thankfully. But with video production you do purchase a product you don't see until the very end and that could be weeks or months on some productions!
With MotionFish Media Project, I send out quotes all the time to people I have never met. We produce Event videos, corporate videos and online video courses – you name it.
As a rule of thumb, I always have a lengthy chat with clients or meet them before they make the decision to go with us. The reason is that production is like a short term, intense relationship – and it has to work to enable both parties to be happy. It's a bit like dating! (I've always wanted to use that analogy) Fortunately for us, we're good at relationships.
The question is what do you look for when choosing a video production company?
1. Rapport - whether it's a phone call, emails, text messages or a face to face meeting you should aim to get a clear understanding of the person, or company, that you want to work with. You will be corresponding a lot, you'll be discussing edited drafts, consulting with them. You want to make sure you like them and they understand you!
And most importantly do they understand your creative vision/brief?
2. Quality of work - Do they have a good portfolio of work and have produced videos similar to what you are looking for? This is key. There is a difference between a video production companies showreel and their portfolio of work. Always look at the portfolio. If they have an amazing showreel clip with loads of special effects... that's great. But if you want an online video course, they may not be the one for you unless they've experience creating online video courses. You won't know that based on the flashy showreel clip. Check their previous work and make a call - can this person or company create the film I want?
3. Deadlines. How long will it take to create the videos you want. Ask for a production schedule and make sure the delivery dates are clear. There are so many key dates when creating videos. For example - filming dates, editing dates, first drafts, second drafts, delivery and so on.
4. Budget. This one is the toughest. How much does a video cost? I hate to tell you but it really does depend. The prices vary hugely. Typically I like to divide video production companies into three price categories:
- The freelance videographer (cheapest, no overheads, no staff). You'll most likely be working
with a one man/woman band. This can be a great solution is you have a tight budget and this outfit works for you. There are some very talented videographers around. The challenge as always is finding, talented and reliable people to work with as the market is saturated with lots of people claiming to be 'videographers'. My best advice is do a thorough search and choose wisely!
- The video production company (mid range pricing). You'll be working with a team of 3 - 6 people. This structure can offer more than the videographer as they will have a team of people working on the video. Everyone will have a role on the production. For example they'll be a producer, camera operator, editor. In my opinion this setup works best. Each person is an expert in their field. In addition you'll have someone to speak to during the process who isn't directly involved in the video creation process. That's an advantage. The video production company will typically charge more than the videographer.
- The high end video production company. These company typical will charge a lot. You should expect big crews, mega professional workflow e.g. accounts manager, high quality cameras and tech and so on. There are advantages to the high end company especially if you want to create a video at an advert-tv-production quality level. However the issues we've had when collaborating with these companies is everything seem to take a long time (as they need to justify the costs and they are typically busy running lots of projects). Also working with a number of account managers, producers, production managers means that you do loose that 'rapport' you have with a smaller setup working with one or two people.
5. Testimonials, case study videos, social proof - before taking that leap of faith always see if the company has any reviews online. Check Google reviews, Facebook or see if they have any credible video case studies. Unfortunately written testimonials are just not enough now a days. I personally like video case studies (we have a few we created with a number clients) but Facebook or Google reviews are also a good indication. You'll be looking to see they have a social footprint and positive experiences from their previous customers.
So to sum-up, there are hundreds of London video production companies but like many businesses, is about people and building trusting relationships so that you can choose the right one. It's not about finding the cheapest deal or the biggest camera. We don't sell tickets to an unknown Hollywood action movie you probably won't like. For us making a video is first and foremost about understanding you and your business needs and how we can deliver the best videos on time within your budget.
Check out the short video we made on how to choose a production company.