5 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Video Production Company
You will have heard it a million times before but I’m going to say it again. The key to any healthy relationship is clear and open communication. Know what you need from your video project and don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you receive the product you truly want. I’m pulling out all the cliches here, but honestly there are no stupid questions. So don’t be afraid to ask a video production company absolutely anything. Apart from maybe whether or not cream or jam goes on a scone first. I have found that question can have explosive consequences.
In saying that, it’s good to have a few questions up your sleeve for when hiring a video production company. And five seems like a good quantity to keep your attention (it worked for Friends for 10 seasons). Drawing on some inside information from production company Bold Video Content, let’s look at 5 key questions you should definitely be asking to ensure you end up with your Monica and not your Janice.
So here are our 5 questions you should be asking your video production company:
1. THE TIME/QUALITY CONTINUUM
It’s important to address whether or not the video production company you’re about to hire can deliver high-quality content within your time frame (and budget).
Hitting time targets is absolutely essential however the quality of your video must never suffer as a result of time constraints. A good video production company will have a structure in place to ensure you receive a quality product within the time frame required. To paint a picture regarding how this works within Bold Content Video, they start with a Scope of Work agreement which details the deadline and the milestones. This document is transferred to their internal project management software and is laid out on a password protected gantt chart. The link to the gantt chart is shared with the client so everyone involved can see what impact changes to the schedule will have. Its usual for milestones to change within a project but for the deadline to stay the same so the remaining milestones must be flexible and any changes communicated to all parties. Sharing a gantt chart helps to focus all stakeholders on sticking as closely as possible to the milestones, in order for deadlines to be met.
Every video production agency is different, so it’s important that they share with you their production process, so you have a clear idea of how they will produce your video and how it can fit within your workflow.
2. THE RIGHT FIT
Within the world of video content creation, one size does not fit all. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise be prepared to receive a shoe that is either too big and constantly flips off your feet making you look clumsy, or – even worse – stock up on plasters because these guys are about to cause some serious blister damage to your feet, your brand and your emotional wellbeing.
Rather than having a one-size fits all approach, it is fundamental that you find a production team who can tailor their service to meet your marketing needs and goals. Ask them how they will work with you to deliver a video that meets your brief, and ask them if they have any creative ideas for how to elevate your project. It’s great to know which companies you like working with and who you’d like to partner with.
So ask yourself: did they take time preparing a quote? Does it fit within your budget? Have they included different line items in your budget such as camera equipment hire so you understand how all your budget is being used? Have you read any client testimonials or reviews of the business?
Don’t be afraid to play detective here and learn about the culture of the company you are about to hand your video project over to. If you want something simple and cinematic, don’t outsource your video production to a team who are trying to make it into an Independence Day shoot ‘em up. Make sure you look at their previous work to make sure you like it and that it fits with your brand.
Video production companies such as Bold Video Content have the capacity to tailor fit a specialised team to precisely meet your needs. Ensure you go with a company that can do just this. Ensure you have a SPOC (single point of contact) who will manage your account and oversee all elements and ensure that the production meets your brief. Ask to schedule regular meetings and ensure all communications are backed up through emails. All these things just help to keep everything tidy and on schedule.
3. GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
You’re probably looking at a video production agency because you’re looking to outsource expertise to create a video for your website and online marketing.
Once you’ve been assigned a video producer to discuss your brief, ask questions about their services and don’t be shy to ask for previous examples of their work. Seeing what videos they’ve produced in the past will give you an idea of what you might expect.
Be clear about the type of video you’re after. Think about what you want to final video to look like, what tone it should have, and how it can work hard for you.
Do you have a script, or do you want them to help you write it?
Do you want social media cut downs? This is something that you should decide early in the video production process to make sure that it’s built into the budget and timeline.
Understanding all available formats for the platform(s) on which your content is to be distributed is a must. These questions are short and concise and will form the foundation on which your project is rolled out.
It’s ok to ask questions about your video production company’s feedback workflow too. For instance, we use online review and approval tools which allow clients to leave frame specific comments for feedback. Bold Content tends to offer three rounds of amends, so make sure you find out how many you’ll get too.
Asking questions and gaining clear answers from your video content provider about platform, format and feedback will help keep you sane, on the ball, and with that in-control feeling.
4. START AT THE END
At the beginning of a project, it’s important for your prospective video production company understands what deliverables you require. Ask your company to describe how the delivery will be packaged i.e. main deliverables, source files etc. Including how you get the files and assets for the maximisation of the life-time of your product.
Also discuss some time allocation at the end of a video project to ensure files are packaged neatly for another editor to open in the future. Request project files are neatly organised in a clearly labelled folder structure allowing you to find necessary elements.
As an example, with Bold Content Video, master files are usually delivered in Prores and untitled versions with split audio tracks can also be supplied if necessary. They will supply high quality MP4 files in the master aspect ratio with lower resolution versions available to download from the same link. If multiple aspect ratios have been used e.g. HD & 1x1, they will deliver master MP4s for each file. It is key to follow a clearly labelled file structure so everything is neatly organised throughout. Rushes are then delivered either via hard drive or Google Drive, depending on the client’s requirements.
If you don’t know what you need, ask your video production team to give you a steer on what assets you might require.
5. EYES ON THE PRIZE
Asking “how can I make this video a success” is important, but the answer to this question will be different to every marketing campaign and final product. Maybe ask your video production company for a case study example, that analyses how they met a previous client brief and what their results were. This might help give you an idea of how they approach producing videos for a client.
Before you ask “how can I make this video a success”, it’s helpful to have an idea on how you’ll measure your campaign success – whether that’s with sales, analytics, the level of engagement, or another metric. Having an idea of how you’ll measure your success will help you to create a more accurate calculation of your ROI and the impact your video campaign has had.
However, whilst it’s great to be results-focused, also try to think about what your human-level factors of success are. For instance, it might be creating a clear, easily understood video that imparts information to your clients in an authentic manner. Perhaps you have told them an emotional story which moves your audience to see things from a different perspective. Maybe you want to become thought leaders in your industry, or use video to help move your business to the next level.
Talk to your video producer about your target audience. Think about what stage you’re at in your sales cycle and try to tailor your video content so it answers your customer’s questions. If you think it answers the relevant question, then you’ll have a successful video.
If you’re looking to work with a new video agency, we hope this guide ‘5 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Video Production Company’ was helpful. Remember: t’s not just your video production company who should be asking the questions. Take advantage of working with a group of specialists and don’t be afraid to ask anything you need. It is in the comfort and freedom to ask questions and to communicate clearly that many errors can be eliminated and creative ideas are found. So be bold, be brave and ask away.
By Kath Haling
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