I am a corporate video producer and a couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about promoting your corporate video once completed. The comments said 'great' but a bit cart before the horse. The request was 'how do you get started and how do you choose a professional'. So I have written two articles about some of the pros and cons of internal as against external and a second one about things to consider when choosing a professional.
Firstly let me start by stating now is great time to get a video completed. Not only will it raise your visibility with prospects from Google searches to differentiating you from your competition but it has never been cheaper technically to produce. We all have access to fantastic cameras. You can get just awesome results. Cameras have never been cheaper for their bang for buck - even smartphones will do. You can and it has been done complete a whole Hollywood film on a DSLR camera.
So having decided to make a video, say to promote your business, do you do it internally or hire a professional? Let us look at some pros and cons of internal versus external.
1) Time is valuable - Self-sufficiency is admirable but what are you in business for? Do you complete your own tax returns or do you go to a professional accountant? Completing a video by yourself can be great fun but how much time do you have? I have seen some great videos completed internally so if you are confident and have the time - go for it! Many of my clients start by completing their own video programs and then better appreciate the skills and experience a professional brings.
2) Legal, safety and privacy issues. There are legal and privacy issues filming people and with filming in particular locations. Even filming your own employees requires consent. A professional will understand these issues and avoid the worries of legal and privacy issues. Client testimonials are simple and straightforward but fraught with sensitivities. They have a great impact in my experience. I would recommend using a professional who understands the issues. Don't forget safety! I have seen two video recently where in the excitement of showing the product basic safety procedures and standards have been missed - what will your prospective client think?
3) Complexity - If you are completing video blogs - pickup some tips from the many websites on video production, a good camera, editing software and away you go. I have seen really good blogs done with $200 cameras against a whiteboard - content is king here. Simple and effective. The problems arise once once you start completing more complex interactions - people, products and service promotions. You may need that third party expert to tell what is going to work or not.
4) A poor quality video will reflect badly on you - The expectation today from customers is that any video promotion today will be of the same basic standards as the images they see when they switch on their TV after they go home at night. Poor sound, lighting, a dull voiceover, poor creative input and direction can be avoided with experience and training. It is your business - a good quality video will enable you to compete on a more level playing field with even the biggest of enterprises. Better not to produce a poor quality production as a prospective client will get a perception of you from that production.
5) Editing. Our clients tell us time after time that the editing process is critical to a successful outcome. Timing, continuity, music, animations and a flow that engages the viewer should be the attributes of a professional production. Editing can be very time consuming, as a general minimum of twice the filming time.
6) Creativity. A professional will have the smarts to add that sparkle and zing to your message. No one has time to sit through a boring promotion.
7) Voiceover. It really is a skill to get the tone, timing and words right. A poor voiceover or incorrect wording can undermine the quality of the program.
8) Different needs require different standards. A short company overview on your web site will require different formatting to a DVD version. A good corporate video producer will understand how to format and configure your video to suit the media and need.
9) Cost and value. From time to time we are asked to rescue work that has been completed internally or that has been driven on a cost basis with a part time video maker. The time and cost taken on this work before the client sees us is typically in excess of what we would have charged. Sometimes it is better to go and engage a professional at the start - explain your budget and need. A quality video production from a professional will start at around the same cost, in my experience, as a quality website.
10) You are the client. A good video producer should be able to take your concept or need and turn it into a successful outcome. Invest some time with a professional and they will turn out a video that will fully match your expectations. Relieved of the detail and the technical worries you should be able to concentrate on the outcome.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but hopefully gives you some pointers as to the pros and cons of internal versus external. I stated above there is no reason why you shouldn't get started on any budget. If you have the time start with a video blog - if you have something interesting to say you will find viewers. More on choosing how to choose a good video professional in the next article. It would be great to hear your personal experiences and stories.