Can you believe it was just 2005 when YouTube was invented? Since then, millions of companies, nonprofits and government agencies have seen the impact of telling their stories through video. And with so many tools–from iPhone cameras to Videopad Video Editor–you can do it yourself. So why bother hiring a professional video production team? Consider these:
1. Time. Good story-telling and mastering the technical tools to make it possible can be much more time-intensive than most people realize. Typically I spend a minimum of 100 hours on a 5-6 minute video project, but often more. The work starts with developing the concept and script, but also includes selecting the right people to be part of the story and the best technologies to deliver the content. You’ll have more time to do your real job if you are overseeing others doing this work, but not actually doing all the tasks yourself (like logging footage for editing–a real time suck!). You’ll also be in a better position to make the Decisions That Matter–like What are the key values of your organization (your brand story), Who is the target audience you want to reach, What do you hope to achieve with the video and How will you measure your success?
2. Quality. A professional video production team has decades of experience that can maximize impact for budget. Areas of expertise include: creative direction, writing, storyboarding, camera equipment and lens options, sound recording and equipment selection, interviewing techniques, lighting design, set design, casting, makeup, music licensing, voiceover artist selection and direction, editing (absolutely Huge part of good storytelling!), motion or still graphics design, audio mixing, etc. Every one of the decisions of the team will impact the final production, so choosing the right team leader (the Director/Producer) and the right person on your team to manage that person (your Communications Director, or a point person on your team who can help funnel decision-making) is a big and important decision for your team to make.
3. Dependability. Hiring a professional team should give you a dependable workflow and schedule for your project, even if it means shooting in your office and working around other people’s schedules. By hiring people who must show up for shoots and edits on a certain timetable, rather than depending on colleagues who have other work to deliver, you can ensure you hit your upload deadline on time.
4. Flexibility. A quality professional team should ask a lot of questions at the outset so they understand what the final deliverable format(s) are optimal. If you want flexibility–to put something up on the web as H.264 video, but also compress it for mobile web and Also be able to use it on a big screen at your next annual meeting–you’ll need the team to know that and “bake it in” to the acquisition specs and workflow for the project.
The big downside to hiring an outside production team is, of course, cost. A professionally produced 5-6 minute video costs $2,500 per finished minute on the low end, and goes up from there depending on number of shoot days/locations, complexity of editing and graphics, professional talent, etc. But often people don’t consider the hidden “opportunity cost” of do-it-yourself work. Such costs can include: not properly formatting video, so it won’t play on your site or on mobile web; not properly licensing music so that you are at risk of being sued or having your video pulled down; having the production take many more hours to create, because the folks creating it have to learn the craft as they do it; losing sight of the goals of the production, because everyone on your team is too busy to consider the big picture. Not to mention losing sight of your actual job!
The upside to do-it-youself is–well–you get to have the fun of creating a great and compelling story and bringing it to a wider audience.