9 Tips to Finding the Perfect Videographer or Video Production Company
VIDEO IS UBIQUITOUS
Across all industries, video is used as an effective tool in communicating important messages. It is a time-tested format for engaging audiences, and nearly every brand on the internet has some sort of motion picture product. In this day and age, not utilizing the power of video is as rare (and foolish) as refusing to use email or only paying for a landline.
Want to increase sales? Boost your brand’s awareness? Inform your employees? Recruit better talent? Raise money for your non-profit? Send a holiday video card to your clients? No other format is as immediate and engaging to human beings as video. Moving images—especially when combined with carefully chosen music, voice, and graphics—are pretty much irresistible to the human brain.
The problem with a powerful tool is that in the wrong hands it can do a lot of damage. If we’re completely honest, most business owners or organizational leaders are not artists. They don’t think about problems from an aesthetic point of view. If they’re left in charge, the videos they create can often be pretty utilitarian, merely relaying information or making a sales pitch.
There’s a lot riding on who you hire to represent your organization through video. How do you make it less of a gamble? Well, you could hire Flow! But whether it’s with us or one of our competitors, here are nine tips we think will serve you well on your quest to create powerful, engaging video.
Look For a Solid Relationship
If we had to give you one piece of advice, it would be to look for a video company that feels comfortable and compatible with your values and culture. Look for someone with whom you can establish a strong relationship. Find someone or a group you feel comfortable being around. Whether it’s one person or a large production company, make sure you like being in a room with them. Fancy images, large cameras, and drones are all well and good, but if you aren’t getting what you need from your creative team, those dreamy looking shots won’t mean anything.
Make Sure They Stay Focused On the Message
Make sure your videographer stays solutions-based. They should ask questions to understand whom your video is targeted toward, what elements of your message are most important, and what action you hope the audience will take. If they don’t bring those things up, or they continually seem to talk about getting cool cinematic shots but their eyes glaze over when you mention wanting to increase conversions, their priorities might be elsewhere.
The clearer you all can be about how success is measured, the better results you’ll get. That “success fulcrum” might mean getting twenty clicks to your webpage, selling fifteen extra widgets per week, or persuading someone to sign up to your e-newsletter. Whatever it is, let your videographer know what the video ultimately needs to accomplish. Just make sure it’s realistic. This will help them stay focused on putting your problems (and the solutions) at the top of their minds.
We had a great client recently who very clearly told us the video needed to help them secure 501 donations to their organization in one day of giving. That kind of clarity enabled better focus and inspired us to go above and beyond. Also, we knew they were doing their part in working toward the end goal. And together, we did it! They surpassed their goal more than 50 donors.
Good video production companies LOVE challenges and want to be the reason your company succeeds.
LISTEN To Their Past Work
This is a technical note, and a bit of a secret in the industry. Obviously you need to see their portfolio, but what most people don’t “look” for is something much more subtle. Audio. It is vitally important to have clean, crisp interview and voiceover audio in a video. Most inexperienced videographers do not prioritize audio, so hearing bad audio can be a sign that they might not yet have the technical skill to get the job done. Usually, someone who prioritizes good audio will also produce good images, but it does not always work the other way around. Even the flashiest video will be negated by poor audio. We would go so far as to say having clean audio is better than perfect video.
Determine If They Think Out-of-the-box
There are many ways to accomplish any given objective. Have an open mind, and look for ideas beyond the “safe” ones. Be open to new and unique paths toward the end goal. Working at the greatest comedy institution in the world (The Second City), Flow’s Creative Director Adam Orton had the chance to witness and learn how some of the best minds in improvisation work. It’s about saying YES to every idea. That doesn’t mean greenlighting Karen-from-accounting’s idea of dancing kittens, but it means that you shouldn’t immediately discount something just because it’s unexpected. Create a space for new ideas to be duly considered. (Also, Karen’s dancing kitten’s might be something “out-of-the-box” enough to actually work!)
Do They Bring the “Feels”?
Human beings (your audience) are emotional creatures. Emotion trumps logic almost every time in people’s decision-making. Connecting on an emotional level has been scientifically proven to boost viewer engagement (more shares, more likes, more comments, or showing up on Good Morning America).
Inspiration, humor, and even sadness. (Or fear, but we like to avoid that one.) Your video should aim for at least one of these big emotional categories. Committing to emotional outcomes can feel risky, but if you trust your videographer because you have seen what they can do, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.
Look At Their Past Work and Judge it by Length and Appropriateness to the Platform
The old film school adage is, “The smaller the screen, the shorter the content should be.” Where are most viewers going to see your video? What platforms has your videographer produced past work for? Does it feel suitable? This is always something that should be on your mind.
Don’t Let Cost Become a Factor.
Obviously we know money talks, and there is always a limit on how much we can spend on any given product or service. But buyer beware… These days, video equipment is cheap! That means now the industry is SATURATED with film students, hobbyists, and photographers who recently discovered the video button on their camera, many of whom are all willing to work for dirt cheap.
The same thing is happening in most creative fields. You no longer need to impress a publisher to write, print and sell books. Musicians can bypass record labels. Painters don’t need to show their work in galleries. The power of gatekeepers is greatly diminished. Which is great! It’s allowed creativity to flourish.
But it’s also created so many choices it can be daunting to shop.
We love a deal as much as anyone. But not all deals are good deals! There’s a huge turnover rate among media professionals. If a video production company has been in business long enough to command higher prices, they’ve probably earned those rates by consistently, reliably producing good work.
With greater experience comes a greater price. If you believe the company you are hiring to make your video can give you what you want, then your investment will pay off and the price should not be a major factor. Remember: you need to know there are things you don’t know. Be willing to pay more to get more.
Do They Have a Plan for Distribution?
Okay, this isn’t so much a tip for choosing a videographer as it is an essential question to ask yourself. We see this happen way too much: great video goes nowhere, which is incredibly disappointing to everyone involved.
Many clients have big dreams for a high quality video. After all, they’ve invested a lot of money in producing it. What they sometimes fail to plan for, however, is the means by which that video will get in front of viewers.
You need to have a thorough strategy in place before you make the video. (Will it be released on your Facebook page? Will it be cross-posted? Do you plan to email this to your audiences? Will you buy ad space online or on television?)
Don’t ever rely on the hope that the video will somehow go “viral” and take care of distribution on its own. Going viral is a blessing when it happens, but it is never something to plan on. There is absolutely no way to scientifically engineer a video to go viral, and anyone who promises this is either inexperienced, overconfident, or simply trying to take advantage of you.
Don’t Hesitate to Contact Us!
We hope this information helps you, but if you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us and see what Flow can do for you and your business.
Our motto is “Share something important. Trust Flow to help.” We hope you’ll choose us, but more importantly, we hope that whatever route your project takes you’ll have fun doing it. Making a video is an exciting, rewarding experience. There is no reason you can’t enjoy it!
Have Other Suggestions?
What else have you found helpful in your search for great video?