Top Five Things To Look For When Working With A Professional Video Production Company

Author: Victory Studios | | Categories: Video Post Production Services , Video Producer , Video Production Company

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Professional video production companies use a three-stage process: pre-production, production (also known as principal photography), and post-production. Pre-production involves the planning aspects, including tasks like scriptwriting, art design, casting, hiring of freelancers, scheduling, logistics, and other administrative duties. Production is the process that captures the video content, creating the elements that will make up the completed video. Post-production involves selectively combining video clips, adding graphic elements, recording additional sound, mixing the sound track and performing color correction, so the result tells the story the client wants to tell to communicate the desired message.

Video production is rarely a one-person job, but is rather the result of the work of an efficient team. Most video production companies work with specific people with specific roles, who together compliment the entire system and make sure it works well. A well-defined team comprises a Producer, Director, First Assistant Director (1st AD), Director of Photography (DP)/Cinematographer, Digital Imaging Technician (DIT), Camera Operator, First Assistant Camera (1st AC), Lighting Director or Gaffer, Key Grip, Audio Technician, Set Designer, and Production Assistants. A company might not fill all these roles separately. Some may be combined, with some people working dual roles, depending on budget, complexity of the project and time restraints.

To help make your search for the right production company easier, we have compiled a list of the top five things to look for when working with a professional video production company.

1. Examples of past work  
After you determine what kind of production you are going to make, such as an instructional video, promotional video or commercial, check out the work the production company has handled similar to your project, in the past, to know what they are capable of doing. Their previous production work is the best source of information about their capability. Analyze the imagery, soundtrack, writing and editing of the past work that they provide and compare it with what you want to see in your project. If their work matches your needs, you can easily decide on working with that specific company. A production company can rarely produce something beyond what they have done in the past. Even though they say they can do anything, always double-check to see their best work.

2. Check out the in-house capability of the production house
Many production companies hire outside people to handle various aspects of their work or outsource to other companies. Although this is common and can result in a good product, this strategy tends to increase expenses, and you are relying on their ability to hire the right people for what you need. The best source for quality comes from companies that have all the capabilities within their facility. Equipment, technical expertise and support, services from writing, producing, cinematography, sound capture and mixing, graphics from 3D to full animation, editing and color correction, and the ability to deliver the final product, whether as digital files or DVDs is usually better if it’s under one roof. Companies with brick and mortar facilities tend to save time and money because it’s a one-stop source for all your complex production needs. If you meet the company representative at a Starbucks rather than their office, be wary that the company may outsource most of your production needs.

3. Understanding of the budget and its relationship with what you are looking for
If you want to find companies that stand out, it is best to have a budget in mind and share it with the companies you approach for a quote. It’s an illusion to think you’ll save money by being vague about your budget. Video production works at hundreds of levels, and knowing the budget range gives your professional provider an idea of where you are in the long curve of production level and complexity. A company with that information will be better able to tell you what they can do within your budget range. Being upfront also avoids the issue of “bait and switch” which some companies use to get you in the door at a low budget and then “nickel and dime” you to higher numbers. Good companies will give you a detailed budget based on your numbers to show you the costs, showing you how the company allocates the budget to provide the best outcome. It also shows you where the budget might be “padded” and where it might be too small.

4. The team’s experience working on such projects
Even if it’s a simple project, you don’t want to be working with someone who does not have a lot of experience and is just starting in the industry. Ask the companies that you shortlist, who they have in mind to work on your project, and run a basic background check of their work. Whether they are a cinematographer, drone operator, or a sound engineer, ask the company for information about their experience and how they’ve done on projects similar to yours. If it’s a live production, ask for that kind of work sample from the past. Additionally, see if there are recommendations from others and double-check those. Look at the list of reviews of the company online and ask to talk to references that the company provides - especially on higher budgets.

5. You must be comfortable with the people you want to work with
The team that you are working with should be friendly, knowledgeable, willing to give you all the information you need, and have an attitude of professionalism. Working on a video production can be both a technical and emotional experience, and you want to work with people that you trust and enjoy being around. There is no place for arrogance or a feeling that the company is full of elites who know everything better than you. They should be willing to answer all your questions and not demean you in any way. Humility is important, along with kind strength and confidence. Even if a company can provide what you want, if they make it a painful experience, you will regret choosing them.

If you are looking for a team that matches all these requirements, look no further than Victory Studios, a renowned video production studio in Seattle, WA. Formerly known as American Production Services (APS), our company was founded in 1978. Both our founders have graduated in the arts and have prior experience making films across many genres. Since the beginning, we have grown into a significantly larger and more experienced team, and now we serve clients around the world with a focus on the Northwest United States, including Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Kent, and other surrounding areas. If you are interested in getting production work done, get in touch with us now, by clicking here. If you want to get a better understanding of the services that we offer, please click here.