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Ready to Hire a Video Production Company? Do These 8 Things First
“We’re making a video. You’re in charge. Call this company and get it done. Make it great!”
OK, so maybe the decision-making process for your company’s corporate video was (as least slightly) more thorough than that. But it’s still natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to proceed once you take the helm for this type of important project.
For sure, your life will definitely get busier once the planning, shooting, and editing of the video commence. But before you sit down with the video production company – or even before you notify them at all – it’s vital that you complete these eight tasks.
1. Establish a liaison with the production crew
One of the biggest problems that video crews run into is dealing with too many “directors.” Avoid this by designating a single point person with whom the crew can communicate and providing multiple avenues of contact for him or her. Think of it as appointing a media relations person to liaise with the video “media.”
In addition, it’s probably wise to outline the company’s hierarchal structure for the video company – at least for the people who will have input on the video. After all, if the crew treats a middle manager with more deference than the CEO, things can become a little awkward.
The mission of this Rackspace video was to show “a day in the life” of the company and how Rackspace is a fun place to work.
2. Determine the video’s mission.
Is this video supposed to help sell a particular product or service provided by the company? Is it an overall “image” video to establish a company brand? Or is the message something else entirely? These questions should be answered long before the pre-production stage.
It’s also essential to identify the target audience of the video. Is it designed to appeal to your customers only? Or will it also be shown to vendors, shareholders, and investors? The audience will determine how you present your message to the viewers.
3. Decide on a (rough) budget.
You don’t have to assemble a line-item budget for the entire project. Just be sure to settle on a ballpark figure that has been approved by upper management. This estimation will help the crew make some decisions in terms of equipment, personnel, and shoot length.
Keep in mind that there are ways to reduce the overall price tag of the video. They may involve assigning scriptwriting duties to a colleague, using employees as actors and/or extras, and minimizing the amount of special effects that you want for the finished product.
You don’t necessarily have to have a billionaire’s budget to make an awesome video. Here’s Exhibit A.
4. Identify deadlines and map out a timeline.
Again, these don’t have to be set in stone. But setting up a timeframe for pre-production, shooting footage, editing, and revisions will allow you to monitor the project to make sure it is progressing on schedule.
It’s also important to nail down the availability of those involved in the video. This will decrease the chances of timeline disruptions like scheduling the CEO interview while he’s out of town on a business trip, assigning a time-sensitive task to an employee who is expecting his or her first child any day, or planning to collect office B-roll footage while an entire department is in off-site training or away on a corporate retreat.
5. Come up with some creative ideas.
But isn’t that the video production crew’s job? Certainly, but it helps to narrow down the possibilities a little bit. A few general ideas about the video’s content can serve as a starting point for pre-production discussions about the format, script, and length of the video.
Do you want the company owner to be interviewed on-camera? Will there be a narrator, and will he or she be supplied by the company or the production crew? You should also put some thought into the tone of the video. Will it be tongue-in-cheek and humorous, or serious and reflective?
The word “creative” doesn’t even begin to describe this video.
6. Point out what can and cannot be done.
Video crews are made up of creative people, so they’re likely to suggest a few possibilities that don’t occur to you. But if there are certain taboos or restrictions being imposed by upper management or others in the company, the crew should be made aware of them.
For instance, a certain vice-president may be extremely camera-shy and refuse to be interviewed. Or a specific aspect of the company’s history may be off limits. Even if it’s something trivial like the founder’s profound distaste for country music (especially in the audio along with the narration), telling the crew about it could save some time and prevent some future headaches.
7. Scout out the places where video footage will be gathered.
The crew will be responsible for setting up specific shots, but they’ll need some guidance on what parts of the company need more attention and which areas should be avoided. For example, you may want to showcase your top-selling product as it comes off the assembly line, but you don’t want the camera anywhere near your proprietary research lab.
If there are offsite shots that you want, the crew will need to know about those as well. If you tell them on the day of the shoot, “Oh, we’ll need some shots of the warehouse fifty miles away,” or “We need interviews of folks in five different offices,” you’re likely to experience delays and cost overruns.
8. Expect things to change – and know what happens when they do.
Like most projects, unforeseen issues are bound to pop up. So it’s important to remain flexible and have backup plans in place for events like employees getting sick on shoot day or rainy weather during your outdoor shoot.
Along those lines, you should also learn about the process involving on-the-fly changes and how they will affect the costs of the project. In other words, if the CEO has a “great new idea” on shoot day or you want to add an element that requires different types of equipment, you have to know how much extra money the crew will charge you.
Corporate video projects are often fast-paced and frenzied, but they don’t have to be nerve-racking and troublesome. Like most other multifaceted undertakings, there is an inverse correlation between planning and unanticipated problems when it comes to making a video – and this preparation can start even before you pick up the phone to hire the production company.
If you want an idea of how much your video was cost, contact Crews Control and get a quote today!
Duke Vukadinovic says
I love the whole idea behind assigning a media relations person to coordinate schedule and tasks with the video crews because I share your opinion that one of the biggest problems they can run into is dealing with too many “bosses”.