If your organization is looking to produce video, it’s likely time to look for a professional video production company. Though it may be tempting to try to figure it all out yourself, there are quite a few barriers ahead of you… some of which may be surmountable, but many of which are not. Ultimately, a professional video company will save you significant time, effort and money, while also producing a quality product that you can be proud of.
1. Training: Sure, It Looks Easy, But…
Experienced professionals make everything look simple. Even going to the doctor might leave you thinking, “I could have just Google searched my symptoms.” But, obviously, training has value that you can’t always immediately quantify. Professional video companies are staffed by individuals who have studied both film processes and theory extensively and know how to achieve the results that you want.
Film quality and audio quality depends highly on the environment and the equipment involved. A single mistake with your lighting, and you could find yourself having to re-shoot everything that you just did. A background noise, like a fan, may ruin all of your audio, requiring multiple takes or an investment in better equipment. These are small things to fix early on that an amateur wouldn’t even notice but that a professional would immediately know to look for.
As with any skilled profession, there is a sharp learning curve. The question is whether you want to go through all of the training necessary to produce high quality video yourself, or you want to pay the professionals who have already done so.
2. Equipment: You’re Only as Good as Your Tools
A woodworker may be able to create something beautiful with just a saw and some sandpaper, but video doesn’t work that way. Video quality is highly dependent on the equipment used. No amount of post-production work can improve the quality of bad raw video; if you’re recording on an inexpensive device, the video will look amateurish.
Professional video production companies have thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars of equipment specifically for this reason. A consumer-focused product is never going to achieve the quality that this equipment can. And, even more importantly, the professional production company knows how to use this equipment to the best effect. Though you could rent professional-grade equipment for the project, it’s unlikely that you would be able to fully utilize its features without significant training.
3. Experience: Doing It Right the First Time
It isn’t always just about the raw video; it’s also about the process of the project itself. An experienced professional video production company has a system in place and knows how to take a project from the beginning to the end. They know which steps have to be done and in what order, and they know what they need to progress to the next stage. Producing a video involves project management and time management skills, which are learned over many years within the industry.
As an amateur, you would likely find yourself often going back to prior steps or realizing things hadn’t gone quite right in the beginning. There are many things that you might have to do over as you learn, which will again eat up time and resources. It isn’t about skill or talent; a lack of experience simply means that you don’t have the knowledge to identify issues as they pop up (or before they occur), and thus will need to put more of your time into the work. And, for that matter…
4. Time: Sticking to the Deadline
“Do it yourself” projects always take longer than projects completed by a professional — and usually can’t achieve the same results within that time. Though you may feel as though you’re saving money by doing it yourself, you probably aren’t when you consider the amount of time you spend on the project. After all, how much time could you be spending working on your business, rather than trying to create a professional video from scratch?
If you need a project done quickly, a professional is really the only answer. There are too many things that could go “wrong” about a project in the hands of an inexperienced lead. In fact, the project might never actually get done at all — and that could be a lot of money and time wasted. Professionals know how to schedule everything just right so that they have enough of a buffer in case something unexpected occurs, and they will be guaranteed to get the job done.
5. Cost: Coming In Under Budget
Professional video production companies know exactly how much a video will cost. Give them a specification sheet, and they can usually narrow down an estimate with lightning precision — or even guarantee a specific rate for the completed product. But when you try to finish a video production on your own, you may be astonished at all of the incidentals that you rack up. And this isn’t even considering the above mentioned opportunity cost.
Consider the cost of paying your employees to work on the video production, in addition to renting professional-grade equipment and learning to use it. Further, consider the cost of any mistakes made: each mistake will exponentially increase cost, because all of the equipment (and employees) need to be brought in again, sometimes after you thought the project was complete. In short, everything ends up costing slightly more than you thought, until you’ve exceeded your budget.
Finally, there’s one last compelling reason to use a professional production company: the finished product. A professionally produced video simply has polish, through the equipment and experience involved, that a do-it-yourself video can’t achieve. There are many small aspects of a production, such as getting the color balance right, that will tip a viewer off as to whether the video feels professional or “cheap” — even subconsciously. The last thing you want to do is spend time and money developing a video that doesn’t feel polished or complete.
Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions, one of the top production companies in Phoenix.