by Basil Yeo (@basilyeo)
One of the things we have noticed of late is that public perception of the value of a video production seems to be slowly diminishing in this day and age, with just about anyone and everyone able to afford a DSLR which can shoot decent quality video. Most people also have a friend, and a relative or two who once dabbled in video.
However, when it comes to creating content that represents a company, a brand or a message, the stakes are raised and it becomes truly much more than just putting a camera down on sticks and hitting the record button.
We may be just one of the many smaller production houses that have sprouted up in the last few years, due to the lower barrier of entry as compared to a decade or two ago, but despite being relatively new (we celebrated our third birthday in March this year), we have spared no expense in building up our profile, reputation and expertise.
With so many options available to you, the Client, how do you make an informed decision on which production company to hire to produce your work?
Perhaps these four items below may help you:
1. Portfolio & Experience
It is my personal belief that ALL legitimate production companies should have a demo reel or some form of work that is available to view without enquiry. This means a prospective client will be able to make their decisions on whether to shortlist us even without needing to contact us.
Experience does count as well, as a superior portfolio does help get work. The larger a portfolio of work, the more credible a company looks and the more confident you, as the Client, may feel about the chances of getting the work done, and done right. Sometimes, a single standout product works too, when you see something you really, really like in a collection of work which you cannot find anywhere else.
The only exception to this case is when the company is new (and I mean like really new), then it is understandable that there isn't much work, flashy gear or clientele to gawk at. However, the onus is on the company then, to be upfront and honest about their status. Everyone was new once. No harm giving a new company a shot, if they are sincere about the work.
One of the major factors affecting a decision is usually the budget. It's usually a tricky affair where budget is concerned. Different companies quote differently, and you might realise the pricing sometimes varies by huge margins.
A good gauge of an average price for your production would be to contact several similar-type companies for a quotation. More often than not the quote would be similar in pricing and delivery. Do not be afraid to ask what's included in the package if it's not clear enough. A company which is open and transparent about their practices is one you can trust.
It's even better for us if we know what kind of budget is available to work with, and we'll try our best to fit in your requirements to the budget. If it's impossible, we'll tell you.
However, do beware of companies charging extremely low prices and making promises that sound too good to be true (e.g. we can do anything and everything!) Most of the time, it isn't, which is why it is good to do some research before arriving at a decision.
Again, dodgy companies who charge high prices do exist too!
3. Personality & Commitment
This is one of the things I personally hold in very high regard, and consider absolutely necessary, especially in an industry which is very much dependent on creativity and technology.
For smaller businesses still building an industry reputation, an active social media presence breathes life into the company's public image, and is also an extension of its personality. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc are just few of the many platforms you can use. In this day and age when social media connects everyone, it does pay off to be well-versed in the practice.
Also, a good way to tell if a company cares for your work is to look at their commitment to the craft. Look at the company's earlier and more recent work, then make a comparison. Is there an improvement in the quality of the work? Also, check out the company's goals and vision on their website (they should have one, it's 2015!). Why are they in this industry, and who do they want to be?
That should give you an idea of the kind of people they are, and roughly what to expect by working with them. As the Client, do you want to pay for those who only want their hands in your wallet, or do you want to pay for someone whom, by virtue of being invested in the craft, has an interest in your work because it will reflect upon him as an artist/service provider?
4. Proper Equipment
Any legitimate production company must be able to provide a basic shooting kit when you hire them to do your work. That's usually a camera, a sturdy, solid video tripod (not bargain bin ones), lenses, lights and audio recording equipment. (We might explore this in a future blog post). Some companies are able to function with a solo operator, but most companies will be able to send a small crew of 2-3 pax to work on the different aspects of the shoot.
We carry our entire kit around with us 90% of the time when on shoots (the 10% goes to event coverage), and when budget allows, we will rent backups for lights and audio recording devices. We also constantly test, check, maintain and repair the gear that we own, to reduce chances of it failing on set.
That's four! The next time you are looking to create a video that represents your brand, company or message, we hope that you will take these tips into consideration and have a much easier time coming to a decision.
Or you could just give us a call!
Video production updates and thoughts