You’ve decided you need a video for your website, broadcast TV commercial, promotional message, conference or other business or personal use. You don’t have any contacts who can refer you to a reliable video producer. What do you do?
You have searched the internet and found some local video producers. You have looked at their websites. Still not sure how to choose? Here is some guidance that may help you make a choice.
Shocking advice alert: Don’t hire a videographer to produce a video for you. I don’t often resort to begging in blog posts, but I will this time. PLEASE don’t hire a camera person to create a video for you!
I compare hiring a camera person to produce a video with hiring a carpenter to build a house. Before the people with hammers and saws show up, a lot of work needs to be done. You will need some land, an architect, building plans, someone to order materials and make sure they show up on time and a project manager to make everything come together. Not to mention a budget and financing. After everything is approved, then the people with the hammers and saws will show up to do their work.
Not all videographers want to handle the many details required before and after the shoot. Not all videographers are editors or graphic artists, or marketing people. They may not care what you want the video to accomplish for you or for your business. Often videographers want to show up, unload their awesome gear, assemble it, shoot the video per the producer or director’s instructions, hand over the files and leave.
Here are a few ideas for what to do after you’ve done your initial search.
- Call at least three people to get proposals so you can make a good choice. You will want to make a connection with the person you work with, especially if you take video marketing seriously and may want more than one video. The relationship is very important so choose someone you like.
- Give them a test. Call or email them and ask them to get back to you. If they respond in 24 hours that’s great. Less response time is better, even if they have to let you know they are on a shoot and won’t be able to get back to you right away. Responsiveness is really important.
- Check their references. Find out if anyone else has had a good experience with them. See if there are testimonials on their website of companies you recognize or relate to.
- Ask to see samples of their work. They should be able to send you links to videos similar to what you have in mind. Or refer you to their website that has a lot of videos on it.
- Ask what their process is for producing a video like the one you have in mind. Here’s where you’ll learn about their level of experience. If the answer is, “Just tell us where to be and what time and we’ll shoot it,” you’re in trouble. If the answer is, “Can you please tell me what you’d like the video to accomplish?,” then you’re headed in the right direction. They should ask questions like, “How long would you like the video to be,” “Who will be in it,” and, “What is the main message of the video?”
- Ask for an agreement in writing. If they won’t take the time to create a well written proposal for you, don’t deal with them. This should be standard stuff – you should receive a proposal that looks like it has been used a lot, with your name and your business’ name on it.
- Ask if you will own the rights to the video after it is shot. You don’t want to pay royalties on your own video to someone else who owns your content.
If you hire a videographer to create a video for you, you will get someone who knows how to use video cameras, lights, sound and other equipment, but then what do you do? You have to do all the other work yourself.
If you need someone who can help you through every step of the process to create a video you will be proud of for a long time to come, you need a video producer, not a videographer. And if they are good at what they do they will have a long list of great talent who can help produce a great video for you.
Nancy Summers is a video producer and marketing expert in Tampa, Florida. Her company, Veranos Video and Marketing Services, offers high-quality, low-hassle video production for websites, broadcast TV, communication, training, promotional and many other purposes. Marketing services include media buying, marketing campaign development and implementation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.veranoresources.com for more information.