I did a Google search for "corporate video San Diego," and I got 2,110,000 hits. So which production company should I hire to do video for my business?
You can believe the Google analytics and take the companies that are listed first, which means they paid for that right or they're good with metadata and keywords. You can trust Yelp, which will list the companies that have a lot of people writing Yelp reviews for them. Or you can browse websites, read descriptions, watch sample reels, and see if someone fits what you're looking for – if you happen to know that. Understanding what your budget is and why you want to do video production is a really good place to start. Since I certainly don’t know the former, let’s talk about the latter.
So why do I want to do video production for my business? And why can’t I just do it with my cell phone?
Let’s answer the second question simply and easily: The same reason you don’t do your own plumbing, legal representation or cabinetry. If that’s not what you do, you shouldn’t trust your future self to do it right. Sure, fix a leaky faucet, fight a traffic ticket, or build a simple shelf in a backroom closet – you’re up for that. Low risk if you get it wrong. So if you’re going to squeeze off a quick video with your phone to post on social media – an "in-the-moment" post to keep your FaceLinkInstaTwitChat live and relevant – go for it! No editing, no audio concerns, lighting and camera movement are not an issue. It’s just fun and "now." But if you’re motive for creating a video has a bigger picture – like the pipe under your house, you’re facing jail time, or you need a centerpiece for your living room – don’t hesitate; hire a professional.
Any business messaging that needs to be useful for a long time is an investment, and you should treat it as the important asset it will be. A quality sound track is one of the first differentiators between amateur and professional video storytelling. An editing flow that does not detract from the message… appropriate lighting that flatters people and places, and creates a three-dimensional feel… mature, elegant composition and camera movement… these are all elements of professional video production that any reputable company can articulate and present.
The production company will most certainly ask you what you want. You may or may not really know. You may say, “Straightforward… just show what we do.” You may say, “Branding is huge, so a 3D animation of our logo is critical.” You may want “edgy, cinematic storytelling with deep subplots.” Funny, Hard-hitting, Dramatic, Impactful, Ironic, Meaningful, Shocking… I’ve heard clients ask for all these things, some of which I do well, some of which I send them elsewhere for.
When you’re looking for a video production company, watch several of their samples – they may do everything the same (or close to it). If they have a variety of approaches and content, they may be better to work with. Their demo reel can be a good indication of the scope of their styles and genres. But regardless of which production company you consider, remember two things: They will all need to work from a script – which will most likely need to be (at least initially) written by you – and they will all be hesitant to give you a price. And that’s the topic for my next blog. Stay tuned.