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How Great Marketers Find Great Production Companies ...



If producing video is a central part of your marketing strategy this quarter, one of the most challenging decisions you may have to make is choosing which production company to work alongside.

Your instinct may lead you to watch a few sample videos and make an impulsive decision. Instead you should map out what an ideal partner might look like. It's not just production quality, but creativity, communication, scalability and facilities are also important. As a marketer, the last thing you want to do is make a large investment (both in time and resource) only to find out that the final version doesn't accurately align with your brand or tell your story.

While we can't find the perfect fit for you, we can help guide you in the right direction. Here we take you through six key considerations before making your decision:

1. Ask to see their portfolio Check whether the production company has worked with any similar organizations within your industry. It's essential that they understand your business, brand and message as this really shows in the final version.

If they're only used to working with smaller companies and with one point of contact, this may throw up complications if your collaboration process involves review and approval being given from a group of globally dispersed executives at once.

2. How is the production quality? Do the videos in the portfolio look and sound professional? If it's a testimonial, does it look like it was shot in an unlit board room with a CEO hollering how good they are? How about the sound quality, does the sound feel like it's been recorded on an iPhone? If it's animated, does it use custom illustration or it is limited to stock assets?

Avoid prospective production houses that don't produce the kind of work you're looking for. For example, if you want a fun and quirky video, go with a company that has a pedigree in comedic production and have directors who specialize in that genre. Otherwise, even the best ideas will fall flat.

3. Do they care about my company? If you decide to conduct a tendering process, how closely did they stick to the brief? Do they ask relevant, specific questions about your company and how it works, or does it seem like you're just another sales lead? Do they have fresh and innovative ideas that are unique and have the potential to support your marketing programmes?

Chemistry can be the determining factor regarding whether the project goes smoothly or falls apart. Before making your selection, make sure the production company is passionate about your project and are invested in making your video a success. Test each potential partner with these set of qualification questions.

4. Scalability and flexibility Can they scale up to meet the demands of your production? If it's a reversioning project with lots of footage that needs to be edited quickly, can they provide you with the extra facilities or time in the editing suite that you need?

Also consider the formats they'll be shooting in - can you handle their preferred file format or will you need additional transcoding tools?

5. What facilities does the production company have? From a purely technical point of view, it makes little aesthetic difference whether you use Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere for the edit. However, each has its strengths and weaknesses and it will come down to personal preference and experience as much as anything. If an editor is used to one system, that's what they will want to use so it's always worth sitting down with prospective production houses to discuss your options.

Then you need to consider what you'll need when you reach the edit. For some projects, you'll need to think about things like color correction, grading and even special effects to create a particular visual style. Can the production company provide these services or is it outsourced to a post production facility?

Finally, think about sound. Will you need to add a voice over? Are you going to be shooting in settings that make it likely a sound-dub will be needed? If your production company doesn't have recording facilities onsite, consider whether trips back and forth to a voiceover booth will add substantial cost and time delays.

6. Know your budget Ask for a ballpark figure but don't assume the lowest price means good value.

Marketers working with video for the first time are often very surprised by the range of crew, equipment, editing and video distribution options made available to them.

If you're looking for a breakdown of what's involved in the whole production process and what you might expect to pay, check out this post detailing live action videos or animated explainer videos.

Conclusion: Taking into account these considerations before selecting a production company could save your department money, resources and precious time. The company you select may end up being a long term partner, so be prepared to ask the right questions in advance. Good luck!

Do you have any production companies you recommend? Do you have any tips you'd like to share?

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