It is no small task to search out and decide on a video production company to help you create your next great piece of content. The first thing you'll likely think about is your budget and timeframe, and then find some vendors that can match those needs.
Once you've found some options that work for you logistically, how you can you make sure that a particular company is the right fit for you and will deliver a video you're happy with? In this post we'll list out some of the most important things to pay attention to in your search. These are all indicators of quality and professionalism, and should give you a pretty good idea of what experience and product you can expect when working with a video production company. Let's start with the portfolio.
A video company's portfolio is one of the easiest ways to determine quality and style (as long as the company in question has a portfolio on display!). Does a company's archive of videos meet your expectations in terms of quality? Has the company created videos similar to the one you have in mind? It's important to think about your particular project, and based on the portfolio, whether or not the company is likely to be able to deliver on your vision.
Another thing to consider besides quality is the overall style of a portfolio. It may look great to one client and completely of the wrong style to another. Cinematic videos with Hollywood quality effects may fit one project, while barebones and 'simple' will be much more fitting for another.
Additionally, young companies or freelancers may have only a small amount of past work to show. This can be okay as long as you can get some evidence that they have the tools and expertise required to produce the video you want. It can also help to find video samples elsewhere and have a discussion on whether or not a similar video could be produced.
A video company's process is another important area to consider when looking for the right match. "Process" refers to a clearly defined chronological set of tasks that a production company goes through when creating your video, from the initial meetings to the final delivery.
Discovering a company's process becomes important for two reasons. First, it shows you what your level of involvement is, and second, it shows that the video company has a solid understanding of everything that needs to be done.
When looking at a particular video company's process, you should get a clear idea of what to expect throughout the production. You'll want to know how involved they expect you to be and whether or not you're okay with that amount of effort. You'll also want to look for check-in points where your opinion and voice is heard. If you don't have much say along the way, you might end up with a video you're not happy with.
This kind of communication throughout the process can't be understated. There are many opportunities along the way to communicate well and ensure that the video is headed in the right direction. You should always be having conversations with your video vendor. Pre-Production meetings are needed to discuss the vision for the video. Reviews along the way should be held so you can approve things like storyboards, scripts, music selection and more. Even towards the end of the project, there should be an appropriate amount of back-and-forth to discuss revisions and changes based on the first cut. This is all in the name of delivering a video that you're happy with and excited to promote.
A company with a defined process that is written out clearly also indicates a certain level of professionalism. It is standard in video production to have a process laid out clearly before taking on a project and is sometimes referred to as the 'playbook'. Besides its intended purpose, the Playbook shows that a company knows what's involved, and will be organized and efficient in carrying out all the steps in a video's creation.
We've made our playbook available for download here if you're interested.
Chemistry refers to how well you and the production company can share ideas and make headway creatively. After your first meeting with a production company, you should have some idea of how well you'll work together in the future. You should be looking for a sense of openness on the side of the video vendor. Video production is a highly collaborative and creative space, and having both parties listening as they voice their thoughts keeps everyone on the same page and moving along in the right direction.
You should also feel that you can trust the vendor to deliver on everything that is agreed upon. While chemistry is important in creating amazing and original videos that suit your needs, it's important that the video company keeps everyone aware of what the options are based on budget and timeframe.
While the big three of Portfolio, Process, and Chemistry are some of the most important things to have in a video production company, we're pointing out a couple other areas that you can look for.
As you may know from your own experience, references are great for building comfort and trust in your clients. A strong reference from a trusted colleague goes a long way, and can really help to narrow your search on who to choose for video production.
If a video company specializes in either your industry or in the style/type of video you're looking for (eg. animated explainers), that's always a good thing. Many video companies are flexible in what they can offer as well, so while niche is a nice bonus, it shouldn't be looked at as a necessity. As we mentioned on the topic of portfolios, as long as the quality and style are there, the production company should be able to transfer those skills to a variety of video concepts.
We hope the points made here will help in your journey to find the right video vendor. They aren't meant to be "must-haves"; surely there are great video companies out there without much displayed in their portfolio, or with a process that involves little communication with the client. In the end you should go based on what you feel comfortable with and choose a company that best suits your working style and video needs. Sometimes it can help to know more about video production in general before diving in on a particular project or vendor. Feel free to skim through our other posts for lots of other information on video production!