Business Video Production
What to Ask & Look For When Selecting a Video Production Company
Part 1 – Planning Information:
In this PART 1 of the process of selecting a video company, we are going to explain some of the “INFORMATION YOU SHOULD HAVE“ when making the call to a video company when thinking of doing a Business Video Production. In subsequent parts, we’ll get into what “information you should know when planning a presentation recording”, “a training video”, “a trade show video” and several other types of video for business projects. We’ll also cover what you need to know and “ask about the video production company you are contacting”.
We’ve found that often when a company calls or looks to meet with us looking for “Business Video Production” or as it is often called “Corporate Video Production”, a lot of times they’ve never been involved with the video production process and aren’t quite sure what to ask or how to go about getting the answers they need. More often than not they haven’t really thought out what they want the video to do for them and what should be in it. We try to help people like this by leading them through a series of questions and giving information designed to crystalize their thoughts. We try to make the process as easy to understand and stress free as possible.
Hopefully information we are providing in this blog will help.
With all the videos people see on Youtube some think that the way it works is that you show up, shoot and then magically a video is created. This can happen for some types of video projects but for business video to be successful it requires a lot of planning first and throughout the process.
There are THREE PHASES OF VIDEO PRODUCTION; pre-production, production and post-production and they can and will differ depending on the type project that you want. This link will give more information.
Any legitimate, experienced company you call will want to ask you questions about your project. If they don’t and just say, “OK, we’ll show up and shoot your job”, that should raise a big red flag.
The same warning signal applies if they can give you a price without knowing the details of your needs. Invariably when this happens, they won’t be able to do the job or there will be more charges later.
Doing a business video project is like doing any other business project in that you need to first decide what you want to do and then gather information and plan how to accomplish your goal. We start by asking people who call questions to learn about what is needed:
Questions We Ask
We start by asking a client why do they want a video?
Hopefully this will uncover a reason where the video will satisfy some need. It could be that they need to show viewers why their product or service is better than the competition, publicize what they do or train on something where they want the best practices taught in a correct, repeatable message. More often than not today it is because a company needs to use video to explain something for marketing purposes on their website. They recognize that video gives them tremendous return with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value and can get their message to millions of people.
Sometimes it is to satisfy a requirement that is mandated on them. An example of this is that in certain states when operating equipment is installed in buildings, the equipment manufacturer/installer must provide a training video as part of the bid. Knowing the reason will shape the direction the video will take. So using our state requirement example, whatever is done must conform to the structure and directives that state gives and anything else is a waste of time and money. If we didn’t know the reason it would be easy to go down the wrong path.
Also in this section we’ll ask, how they want the video delivered to viewers. A video made for a TV Commercial which is limited to under 30 seconds and has to deal with broadcast specifications is different than a video which is designed to be on a website where the exact length isn’t as critical.
Who is the audience?
Different demographics require different treatments. If the target is a spanish speaking segment, then a video in english wouldn’t make much sense. If it is a certain category of workers, then the video needs to target what is important and use the jargon familiar to convey to that category. If it is to appeal to a customer base, it usually needs to be structured to give them either an appeal and reason to buy or information they need to use.
What do you want the viewer to do after watching?
This is extremely important because the entire video has to be directed at this goal. If it is a sales video, we need to make the appeal to buy attractive and something they feel will really solve a need they have. If it is for training, we need to be certain it is designed to train and that we insert training theory such as repetition and summary throughout.
What collateral material do you have?
If a company has a particular image with graphics branding that usually needs to be maintained. If they have successful marketing material that they feel can be used, we want to try to use it. If it is for training and they have practices they want us to develop into a script we need that. If they have other videos they want to match in style, we need to know that. If they have an outline or rough script, we can start with that. If they have a PowerPoint presentation, that is often a start. Sometimes there will be specific company people, customer testimonials, company locations or subject matter experts that need to be worked in. Going back to our state requirement example; we might need blueprints of the site and operation and maintenance manuals to develop a script.
Often in this questioning vein, we’ll ask the caller “what makes you different from your competition” or “why do your customers say they like your company/product” hoping to uncover what their competitive advantage really is. If they don’t know the answer, we’ll ask them to ask their customers.
All this material and ideas gives a sense of the direction and what the video can be.
What is your budget range?
After we’ve gotten all this information above we can determine if the budget range the client wants is reasonable and discuss what can and perhaps can’t be done for their budget. We can work with any budget large or small and what we ultimately design will be dictated by the budget.
I can’t tell you the number of calls we’ve gotten where people who really don’t know what is involved want months worth of work by multiple people and the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment for a few hundred dollars. In their defense, they’ve never been involved before and have no familiarity with the process so we try to help them understand. A video project is variable like choosing a car with the many brands and options available. Depending on what goes into it, the cost will vary. A web commercial can require a half day of shooting by a 2 person crew and a portion of a day of editing and only be around $1000 or it could require, a month of scripting, multiple locations, multiple shooting days, a 3 member video crew, a full 3 member lighting crew with a truck of equipment, a teleprompter and operator, a makeup technician, multiple cameras, a green screen studio, etc. Of course with the added resources, the latter project will cost more.
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