When it comes to producing a video, the first rule of thumb is: if you’re not an expert in video production – hire one. You’ll end up saving a lot of money over the course of production, because experienced production personnel know how to manage costs. Remember our home renovation analogy? You would hire a general contractor to manage the people and locate and purchase all the materials, right? Well, it’s the same with video production.
A good production company has all the assets you’ll need for almost any type of production, so it’s a good use of your money to hire one. They’re the “general contractor” for your video production. Of course, you need to hire the right one – one that knows its way around corporate videos, commercial productions, training videos – in fact, they should have in-depth experience in whatever type of video that you’re planning to produce.
The production company will determine who to use as a director or cameraperson on your shoot based on your budget. They can also recommend ways to shoot a concept that will reduce your costs. The fact is they have the knowledge and expertise to do it – and do it right. The last thing you want is to find a hobbyist or inexperienced company producing your video. Remember, this video is going to be a representation of your company. Do you really want a novice getting on the job training on your project!
Everything starts with a script and a concept. It’s not simply a matter of taking copy from a brochure and converting it to a video. It has to be conversational and keep viewers’ attention, while flowing from one scene to the next. Your concept could be as simple as “I want a video that shows why we’re better than the competition.” But even with something so basic, you need to produce a video that does a great job of executing that concept. You need to create a video that people will want to watch.
Another key tool is a storyboard. This is where you actually map out the action that will happen on camera; determining camera angles, how sets will look, where the talent will stand, etc. This is one place you can change things around to help lower production costs – before you begin shooting!
Once the script and storyboard are approved, you begin the pre-production planning. You’ll determine talent, where to shoot it, whether or not you need to build a set, if a makeup artist or hairstylist is required, how many support people are needed, what type of music you’ll use, whether or not you need special graphics – and on and on. This is where the production company comes into play – they’ve “been there, done that.” So they’ll help guide you through this maze.
All of those elements are called “production values” – and each one plays a role in the overall quality of your production. Each one also plays a key role in your overall budget as well, so you have to decide which elements are critical to the video and which ones you can do without.
OK, you’ve done your homework. You’ve gone through script rewrites, picked the talent, approved the storyboards and hired the right production company. You’ve balanced all the time, tools and talent variables into a workable budget.