There are advantages to hiring a videographer or employing a solo video production professional to create your video project. There are also advantages to hiring a video production company to complete the same job. Like a lot of vendor research and financial decisions, finding the perfect fit is a combination of cost, chemistry and choice. Individuals or larger businesses collect a variety of quotes, pitches, demo reels and stories when looking for either a solo professional or a video production team to produce video content. Ultimately, the decision to partner with a videographer or a video production company comes down to preference.
Some believe they can cut cost with a leaner production process if one person shoots and edits all video content needed. Others believe having a video production crew promotes a group effort that may move a video shoot along faster. Of course in both of these scenarios the pre-planning and the energy of the individual who is coordinating and/or directing the shoot heavily influences the momentum and success of a video shoot. For the sake of this example we will assume that the client has an existing script or idea and is looking to hire a videographer or video production company that will fill the role of shooting and editing while being directed by the client.
One crucial step in choosing who to hire for a video project is to speak to the videographer or the lead individual at the video production company. This discussion can happen face-to-face, over the phone or on a video call. The purpose of interviewing potential video partners is to decide who takes direction well or who might be easiest to work with. Ask lots of questions to feel out which individual videographer or video production team would be most open to client requests. For example, would the videographer or video production company agree to shooting video and releasing the footage to the client for them to edit on their own? Is the videographer or video production team open to traveling? Does the videographer or video production company understand the needs of video for business? Do they have experience producing the specific type of video content needed?
Video production companies often offer discounts when they are hungry for work while some videographers raise their rates because they have limited capacity. Quotes and estimates can vary broadly when you take important factors into consideration including experience, camera gear, capabilities, insurance and licenses, offices and studio space and most important, talent and personality. Some clients may not be bothered by liability insurance or what kind of equipment the videographer uses. Others shopping for video production services might not have a need to visit a production company’s office or studio. Cost and capabilities are important factors in many situations, but talent and personality shine brightly when comparing videographers or video production companies. There are videographers with plenty of personality and talent who function without a lot of extra gear or studio space. There are video production companies with lots of impressive cameras, fancy lights, production trucks and more than enough studio space, but they fall short on personality and talent.
If quick communication and a long-lasting relationship are important in choosing who to hire, then it is worth thinking about other comparisons between an individual videographer and a video production company. Solo or freelance videographers have a capacity problem where they can only take on so many jobs or requests at a time. This could cause them to be slow to respond or complete your project at a slower pace. Also, it is possible that a videographer may join a company or make a career change, giving up the freelance business. Thinking long-term, a video production company is more likely to stay in business as an entity even as their crew members come and go. This may be a comfort if a client expects to have access to video footage or projects over a longer period of time. A video production company may also be able to complete your project faster as they will likely have a crew shooting video while another team is editing projects at the office.
Is it better to hire a freelance videographer or a video production company? There are certainly pros and cons in both scenarios, and it is important to know there is no defined answer to this question. The key is that anyone researching video production services is ready and equipped with the information given here and is excited to participate collaboratively with and manage the video production professional. Be willing to work to compare several relationships. The ideal fit will be the one that checks the most boxes possible in areas such as price, capability, timeliness, work quality, and most important, talent and personality. Find out who gets high scores in the areas most important to you. Make a plan, and create great video!