3 Tips for Vetting Video Production Companies
If you want the highest quality videos for your business, there’s one decision that will be more important than all the others: choosing your video production company. Your video production company will work closely with you to ensure that you get exactly what you want, both in terms of production values and cost. But how do you find the best company to suit your unique needs? There are three major factors that you should look into before making a final decision.
1. Look at the Video Production Company’s Demo Reel
A company’s demo reel features a broad spectrum of their best work. Every company should have a comprehensive demo reel, which includes a wide variety of different types of video production. Looking at a company’s demo reel will give you a better idea of the type of work that the company does. Not every video production company has the look and feel that is best for your business.
In addition to style, a company’s demo reel will also show you the type of technology that the company is working with. You’ll be able to see whether their videos are high quality and technically well-executed. Though you may not be in the video production industry yourself, you will likely still be able to tell whether the video looks polished and professional.
When watching a company’s demo reel, pay special attention to their scripting and acting. These are two areas in which less experienced companies tend to really struggle. Many smaller companies cannot or do not invest in professional writing or acting. This will become apparent quite quickly.
Aside from acting and scripting, you should also note whether the company’s demo reel includes a variety of types of shot, such as landscape shots, talking head shots, and track shots. Being able to obtain multiple types of shots aid in the sophistication of the final production.
Companies that have very few samples on their demo reel may not have the experience that your project deserves. Similarly, companies that have samples that are extremely similar to each other are likely to be limited in scope. If that’s the type of video you need, it may not be a problem, but if you need to have them broaden their scope, it may become an issue.
2. Ask for Sample Videos
Once you’ve reviewed a company’s demo reels, it’s time to drill down to the type of video that you are expecting to create. At this point, you should ask for samples of work that they have done within your industry in addition to similar types of video. If you’re producing a commercial for an entertainment business, you may want to request samples of their other commercials and their work within the entertainment business space.
This provides a better idea of not only the company’s capabilities but also whether they’re able to produce similar videos to the one that you’re looking for. It may even give you some ideas regarding what you want your final product to look like.
Video production companies also need to be marketing savvy. Different industries occupy different spaces and need to speak to different demographics. A sample video will also show you whether or not the company appears to be skilled in speaking to your audience demographics. This could become just as important as technical skill.
Not every company is adept at making every type of video. There are some companies that specialize in online media, while there are other companies that may specialize in cable and broadcast television. But this also means that you need to be careful about your future goals. If your business needs an all-around partner in video production, you’ll need to find a company that can produce all of the types of videos that you need. If you only need a certain project completed, this may not be as important.
3. Read Their Online Reviews and Testimonials
Online reviews and testimonials are often the truest way to determine whether or not a business is reputable. Begin by reading online reviews for the company – but do keep in mind that there can be negative reviews for any business, product, or service. If you see elements that raise concerns, you can inquire with the company; they may have an explanation.
If there are many negative reviews that seem to have the exact same complaints, it’s more likely that there’s an issue with the business. As an example, many reviews might note that the production company takes a long time or that the production company produces subpar work. When this happens, you’d do well to take the reviews under advisement.
Testimonials are also valuable. Many companies host client testimonials on their site. Though these testimonials are encouraged to be complimentary, they can still give you valuable insight into the company’s services. A testimonial that is vague tells you very little, but if multiple testimonials praise the business for their superior communication or advanced technology, it’s likely that these are the areas in which the company excels.
Finally, when dealing with new companies, you may also want to check to make sure there aren’t any active complaints about them. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any outstanding incidents. As with negative reviews, you can still check with the business to get their side of the story. There are very few companies that have been in business for a long time that have never sustained at least one complaint against them.
There may not be a “best” company, but instead a best company for your unique business needs. In terms of voice and style, some companies may be better suited than others. Not only should your video production company have an excellent reputation, but it should understand your company’s culture, branding, and voice. As you begin work with your production company, you should be able to get a sense of whether or not they truly understand your company’s advertising message. Though finding the right video production company can take some work, it’s the first step on developing an incredibly valuable partnership.
Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer of D-Mak Productions, a professional video production company based in Phoenix, Arizona.