The Video Production Company Guide
Trying to choose a video production company? Whether this is for internal-facing communications such as announcements, culture amendment or training; or you’re looking to create marketing material, recruitment collateral or a straight-up advertising video, choosing a video-creation partner is a big step. It can be a little daunting to sift through all the options out there, but fortunately there are ways and means to narrow down your options.
First of all, congratulations on choosing video content! You are setting yourself up for some serious engagement. Recent statistics are showing that video content will account for up to 80% of all consumer-driven internet traffic this year. In another survey, 59% of executives stated that they would rather watch a video than read the equivalent amount of text. Additionally, video is infinitely shareable. On social media networks, video content gets shared 12 times more than text and image content. Those are some serious statistics right there. In short – you are definitely on the right track.
To help you choose a content production partner that will allow you to yield some excellent return on investment, the Holy Cow team has put together a concise guide to industry best practices for 2019 and beyond. Here goes!
10 Tools a good video production company brings to the table:
You may be asking yourself why you should be partnering with a video content creation team. After all, you know your business and you can simply hire a videographer and get the camera rolling. While this is certainly true, there are a few very important tools that every competent corporate video team brings to the table. These include:
1. A knack for choosing good music. If you want your video to be watched, you need to find music that your audience would listen to whether it was in the background of a video or not. This can be a little trickier than you realise. There are plenty of royalty-free websites out there with music to choose from, but navigating these to find your ideal backtrack takes time. This is where the Holy Cow team comes in. Video is our business, so we spend a lot of time on these sites and we are able to find and suggest music that suits the character and culture of your business.
2. The ability to think beyond viral. Yes, there have been plenty of viral videos that generated valuable exposure for a variety of businesses all around the globe. However, the fact is that of the vast majority of corporate videos out there, only a minute fraction goes viral. Don’t go out to create the next Old Spice ad. What you need is an effective overall marketing and video marketing strategy. Start from the basics and build from there.
3. Talented copywriters. Ideally, you should be working with a video production company who has a copywriter on staff. You are 100% within your rights to ask to see examples of their work so you can get a feel for their style and level of adaptability across industries. If the company you choose to assist you in the production of your video don’t have a copywriter in the mix, add one yourself. In South Africa, you can use online platforms like The Resource and Flexy to find freelancers. Or go old-school and use LinkedIn. Good scriptwriting is the difference between a successful video and something that just doesn’t connect with the viewer, so be super critical of the writing that forms the backbone of your content.
4. Excellent cinematographers. The person who holds the actual camera at your shoot has a big impact on the type of footage you will be working with. Examples of their showreels should be on offer so you can get a feel for their style. This will allow you to see if they meet the visual standard of what you are attempting to create. If it doesn’t, you can push back and ask the video production company to add a different shooter or hire a freelancer.
5. The ability to shoot for multiple videos concurrently. When you’re shooting live-action marketing videos you are typically paying per day of shooting. The company you partner with should be thinking along the lines of what other videos you can shoot during that same day of filming. This will allow you to get the most out of your investment and really have more video assets coming out of one project.
6. A non-dependency on green screen. When not done right, green screen can add some seriously jarring elements to a corporate video. The video production company you choose should ideally not hinge the premise of your video on this type of content.
7. Attention to detail. When your video is exported, any company worth its salt should go through the three-point check. First, the video should be exported without audio – just the visuals. Next, it should be exported without video – just the audio. Then, your video should be transcribed. Your video will be consumed in a lot of different places and a lot of different ways, and this process ensures that when you watch the video or read the script, the messaging comes across clearly.
8. An in-depth knowledge of template typography. You don’t want your video to look like a PowerPoint presentation, so the words on screen should be fitting to your brand guidelines, but it should also be dynamic. There are thousands of animated text templates available on countless platforms, and your video production company should know which ones will suit your company’s look and feel.
9. Visual genius. Keeping a viewer interested when they watch a corporate video is something on an art. Due to the vast amount of information we consume every day, the average viewer of your video is likely to have a very short attention span. You have to grab their attention and keep it focussed, and this requires some visual acrobatics. Typically, you want to keep things moving by introducing a new element, or moving from one frame to the next every 3-5 seconds. This makes your video more engaging and easy to watch.
10. Marketing acumen. Video production companies should be able to help you to weave your video content into your sales and marketing funnel by giving you expert advice on where it would be best consumed. For instance – you could be adding it to your email signature or adding it to a Facebook video remarketing ad to target viewers who visited your website.\
How to interview potential video production companies
Now that you know what you should look for in a video production company, it’s time to get the ball rolling and line up your candidates. To start out with, you need to get your contenders in the ring. There are three ways to do so:
• Google. Search the term ‘video production companies’ + your location, sift through the links and find the ones you like.
• Your personal network. Get recommendations from your personal business network regarding companies that they’ve worked with before. Word-of-mouth recommendations may be subjective, but you are likely to get an honest appraisal of workmanship, rates and general company culture.
• Straight to the source. Find a few corporate videos you like and get in touch with the companies or brands who launched it. They should be able to point you in the direction of the video production company they used.
Once you have your candidates all sorted, the interview process is ready to commence. Here are five important factors you should consider while you’re considering your options.
1. Are you a good cultural fit?
The creation of corporate video content may be a business transaction, but you need to know that your team will gel with that of the company you ultimately employ to create your content. Watch your emotional barometer throughout the interview process. Aside from the answers they gave to your questions, how did they make you feel? Did you feel that your project was a priority? Or did you feel rushed and undervalued as a potential client? Make sure that your relationship starts off on the right foot by choosing a company that takes your project seriously.
2. Is their portfolio up to snuff?
You need to be impressed by the work that a video production company has done in the past. It’s as simple as that. Somewhere in their portfolio, there has to be a piece of content that completely and utterly blew your socks off – something that gives you the confidence that they will be able to create something of a similar standard for you. Ideally, you want to partner with someone who has impressive portfolio pieces that pertain to your particular industry, with use-cases to back it up. Take your time to analyse the showreel and see if the content truly engages you and drives home the intended call to action.
3. Do they seem to be on the ball?
We all like things to be done quickly and efficiently. If you want to be sure of timeous delivery of your video collateral, make a point of noting which video production companies are efficient in the handling of the initial contact and admin. If they don’t answer the phone on the first call, drag their feet to respond to an introductory email, can’t seem to get their proposal in order or take their sweet time to follow up after a proposal presentation, you are fairly likely to have a frustrating time of it when production rolls around.
4. Are they willing to accommodate your budget and timeline?
There is a saying that when it comes to creative elements like video, you can choose two of the following: cheap, good, fast. You can get something cheap, quickly, but it’s not likely to be good. Or you can get something good and fast, but it’s not likely to be cheap. Likewise, you can get something cheap and good, but it might take some time to end up in your inbox. When choosing your video production company, be sure that you are aligned on your budget and timeline. It might take a little back-and-forth, but the correct company will be able to find some workable middle ground.
5. Will they add value from a marketing perspective?
Do they understand your company’s marketing strategy and will they be able to add value in this regard?
While it’s perfectly fine to outsource the creation of your videos without the need for strategic integration involvement from the production company, it does add some serious value to the process if the company in question has a solid understanding of what you’re trying to achieve and how to help you do so in the most effective way possible.
Naturally, there are some deal breakers to look out for as well. If you notice any of the following while you’re evaluating a company’s portfolio, or during the interview process itself, it’s best that you cut things short and get on with interviewing the rest of the video production companies on your list:
• Videos that look old or outdated due to the use of older technology such as P2 cameras.
• A penchant for using green screen animation for no good reason.
• Stale graphics and typography treatments that make the video look like a badly-rendered PowerPoint presentation.
• Shaky video shots (this is bad – run for the hills!).
• Unapologetic use of templates.
Following these guidelines when you’re on the lookout for the ideal video production company for your project will lay the groundwork for a smooth and rewarding production process. For more information on how we run things over at Holy Cow, feel free to get in touch. We’ll be happy to discuss your requirements and share our methodology. There is nothing quite like a rewarding partnership and we look forward to being considered for your corporate video project.