Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – what to expect when hiring a video production team

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SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

It takes more than a director’s chair to become a director, which is why many businesses choose to hire a production company for their video production. Here we explain what to expect during this process

It takes more than a director’s chair to become a director, which is why many businesses choose to hire a production company for their video production

Video is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for all manner of marketing but it’s often misunderstood just how much is involved. It’s why working with a video production company that knows their stuff is essential if you want to maximise your return on investment.

But what exactly does that involve and just how involved in your marketing strategy will they get? In this article, managing director of Aspect Film & Video, Evelyn Timson, takes us through the process stage by stage.

Planning

The planning stage refers to the preparatory work that takes place before production. For clarity, it’s best to think of this stage as split into two distinct processes – strategy and creative. Let’s look at each in turn.

  • Strategy: The success of your film is dependent on having a good content strategy in place. Some production companies may not get involved in the strategic side of things, whilst others will want to help or even take a lead on the strategic side of things (including auditing your existing content, audience profiling, buzz monitoring, establishing KPIs, etc).
  • Creative: This is the idea generation part of the process and how you work alongside your video production company will depend greatly on their in-house creative team and whether you have developed a concept or not. During this stage you should be assigned an account manager who will establish a working relationship.

Once a concept has been agreed, a script will be developed along with a storyboard. These may both go through several iterations until you are happy but it’s important not to get carried away here as budget creep is commonplace during this process.

Production

The production stage is very much where the video agency will take over and so it’s important to let them do their job here and translate your vision onto film.

Before any filming can begin, there will be a lot of logistics and project management to take care of, which can include:

  • Sourcing a location or booking a set
  • Sourcing and hiring actors, presenters, make-up artists, additional crew, etc
  • Assembling or hiring additional film crew (if the agency is unable to do it all in-house)
  • Hiring any specialist equipment
  • Making sure licences, health and safety and all other red tape is taken care of
  • Putting together contingency plans in case the shoot has to be postponed

Bear in mind that unless your staff are featuring in your video, there’s little reason for you to get involved during filming. Although you may wish to be present on set, it’s important to let the director do their stuff during the shoot (it’s their job at the end of the day).

Post Production

Post production is the stage where your film comes together into the final product. It will include some, or all, of the following stages:

  • Editing: The editor will take all the footage the director has shot (often several hours’ worth) and stitch it together into one seamless film. There may be some involvement from you at this stage in terms of sign-off (as long as it doesn’t deviate radically from the agreed storyboard).
  • Visual effects and animation: VFX and animation can come in many shapes and sizes, from green environments to illustrative graphs, typography, animated logos and other graphical flourishes.
  • Voiceover, soundtrack and effects: A soundtrack will be agreed in the creative stage but it’s at this point that it will be layered alongside the final edit. All other sound effects will be added now and, if there is one, a voiceover recorded.
  • Colour grading and sound editing: The final post-production stages involve colour grading during which the colour will be set to create the right tone and look. Sound editing will also add that final professional polish, creating a balanced and well produced final product.

Video Activation and Seeding

No matter how great the final product, your marketing film won’t achieve its potential without proper activation and seeding. Depending on their in-house marketing capabilities, your video production company may or may not get involved with this stage.

How you distribute and activate your video content will have been established during the strategic planning phase and will be split between earned, owned and paid media. It will also be dependent on how your video fits in with your overall strategy (ie whether it’s a big brand film launching a new marketing campaign, or a product demo that is primarily aimed at existing customers and YouTube subscribers). Good luck!

About the Author

Evelyn Timson is the managing director of UK based video production company Aspect Film and Video. She has years of experience working with internationally renowned B2B brands including the world’s largest satellite media broadcast platform SES, global IT service organisation Risual, and Enersys, who create batteries for the aerospace and defence industries. You can connect with Aspect on Facebook or Twitter or see a selection of their award winning work on their YouTube channel.

“Bear in mind, that unless your staff are featuring in your video, there’s little reason for you to get involved during filming “

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