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Outsourcing Production Services For Corporate Television

Posted by Andrea Keating on March 24, 2015

What is your job? The corporation you worked for hired you in a Media Management Capacity, as a Public Relations Expert, an Information Coordinator – any number of titles that essentially come down to making sure that your employer’s message comes across clearly, succinctly and interestingly. Does that mean you have to own and manage all of the technology necessary to create the message?

In this era of very affordable technology many companies or individual media managers with a couple of film making courses under their belt may think they need to own the equipment that is used to create the message. What they tend to overlook is that every piece of equipment requires a person to operate it. So the choice must be made, do you operate the equipment yourself? Hire staff to operate? Suddenly the affordability of the technology gets very expensive.

Unless your company films regularly in one spot or on a daily basis, there is no real need to maintain a large studio infrastructure when there are literally thousands of experienced and qualified people who make their living transferring creative ideas to moving images. Certainly, purchasing a postproduction editing/finishing system like Adobe Creative Suite Cloud, a powerful computer and a full time staff editor who knows what the company wants to say in their programming is a wise choice. Here we are talking an affordable system with minimal hardware and with one or maybe two employees to create the final product from the footage supplied. There are so many different cameras, lenses, filters, etc. out there that not using outsourced production companies may limit your choices for the looks you are trying to achieve.

Do you like how “House of Cards” or “The Hobbit” looks? Hire a production company that shoots with Red Cameras. Need some extreme slow motion demo sequences? Hire a company that specializes in shooting with Phantom High Speed cameras. Like the overall look of features such as the latest James Bond movies or many of your favorite TV shows? Hire a company that shoots with Arri Alexa or Sony F55. The point is that you can have your choice of camera technology without owning the camera. Every production company has a reel so you can judge what they have done, who they have done it for and how they made it look.

The other factor to consider is the cost of traveling equipment and personnel to locations around the globe when highly qualified creative camera people are already at the location where you plan on shooting. Why reinvent the wheel. If it is a one off type shoot, pick someone based on their reel and send a producer to oversee the shoot. If it is a remote location you shoot in often you can develop a relationship with one or two of the local crews you will use repeatedly and, by extension, they become a de facto member of your staff.

Outsourcing your production has obvious financial and budget benefits. Budget money supports the specific project, not equipment that will stand idle for long periods. It gives you the means to concentrate more dollars directly if you want to improve the quality of your project with more animation and bigger production values or allows you to save money per production giving you the means to produce more projects.

Outsourcing in general will save you money and often time as discussed in this article from Curata. While the article deals with hiring either a creative agency or a freelance creative for content development, many of the same points hold true for hiring camera and production people:

  1. The outsourced production company only charges for the time they work for you.
  2. Last minute projects are easily accommodated. With the large number of local companies near you or your location the chances of booking a company even up to the same day are very good.
  3. You hire who, what and how much you need based on the project’s requirements.
  4. Niche requirements are better fulfilled, e.g., the aforementioned high speed photography, crews experienced with shooting surgical procedures, documentary specialists, etc.
  5. The ability to take a project from start to completion in the event that you need to produce more projects in a given period of time than you have staff to handle.
  6. International needs best fulfilled by local crews in those countries who are familiar with the culture and laws regarding shooting.

Further, as discussed in this article from Capstrat.

“Some useful guidelines for outsourcing include:

  • Use the same supplier for similar projects, so they can deliver consistent work. You want to work with companies that know your product and your mission — this helps guarantee a better execution.
  • Using fewer suppliers will cut down on the overall costs and learning curves that arise when new teams work on new projects. This also eliminates the need to provide detailed background work for every project.
  • Fewer vendors equal stronger working relationships.
  • Output should be outsourced, not owned. This will free the internal team from time-consuming materials.
  • Only work with good agencies that push themselves to do good work. They must always be reliable and have a deep understanding of your company’s industry.”

How this applies here is simple. With the immense choice of production companies available for your projects you need to work through an agency that has these companies in their network, understands corporate production and can get you the services you need at a moment’s notice, that would account for the “…same supplier for similar projects, so they can deliver consistent work… companies that know your product and your mission”

In conclusion, as a media manager you need to do what’s best when producing for your company, you need to make sure that you have used the best technologies and creativity to get their message across. Why limit your technologies and imaging creativity when through outsourcing the production you can have your choice of everything available and while still producing on budget.

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