As video experts, one of our goals as a company is to share the value of video production with brands across the globe. We won’t rest until every small business, large corporation, and everyone in between understands how video content can benefit their brands.
But what if you’re already convinced of the value and you’re ready to get started? Your options fall into two main categories: tackle production yourself or outsource to a third-party production partner.
If you’re like most brands, the idea of taking on a full production may be somewhat daunting. Filming quick, small-scale videos for your social content is one thing, but managing a larger video project is a different kind of challenge.
Partnering with a production company or marketing agency may be your best bet. But, as you may have noticed, there are tons of options on the market. First, there are different types of production companies and agencies to filter through. Then, within each type, there are probably dozens of options that, at first glance, seem to offer exactly what you’re looking for.
Today, we’ll walk you through the points you should consider when choosing a production partner. We’ll show you what your options are, what questions to ask, and what factors may set one company apart from another.
Let’s dive in!
1. Frame your search.
First, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for. On one extreme, you might be looking for a full-service partner that will tackle everything from initial brainstorming all the way through distribution. On the other extreme, you may be able to handle most of the process yourself and just need support with one step, like cleaning up the script or editing together the final footage. Now is the time to talk to your team and decide what your needs entail so that you know how to frame the discussion with prospective partners.
This is also a great time to prepare a loose figure for your production budget. As you allocate funds for production, you should consider the fact that your final product will likely reflect what you’re willing to pay. While there are production options for every price point, shelling out a little more to work with highly experienced teams will almost always lead to a noticeable increase in video quality. If you’re trying to cut corners on your project to save money, be aware that you’ll be sacrificing a bit on the final product.
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for and roughly how much you have to spend, it’s time to begin your search.
2. Locate your options.
Next, you’ll want to consult Google, LinkedIn, or your search method of choice to find production companies that you could potentially partner with. If part of the project’s scope will involve this company being involved on set during your shoot day(s), make sure to only look for options that have operations wherever you plan to film.
Note that some larger production companies will have expert production crews located in many cities across the country (at Lemonlight, we operate in 63 cities worldwide), so you can include those options in addition to any companies based in your area.
3. Review each company’s portfolio.
Once you’ve narrowed the field to reflect the options that would be practical partners, you’ll want to look at each company’s portfolio. This should be easy to find on any company’s website—look for sections labeled something like “Portfolio” or “Our Work.” Then, watch a few of the videos that you find there.
You have two goals at this stage: assess the overall quality and look and feel of the videos, and determine whether there are examples of videos that look similar to your potential project. If there’s an option to sort the videos by industry, video type, budget, or business size, that’s also a great feature to refine your search. If you can find a video you like that matches the look and feel that you want to accomplish for your content, that’s a good sign that the company in question is qualified to take on your project.
Be careful not to skip the part where you look for a video that matches the project you have in mind. Just because you think a company’s videos look professional and are interesting to watch does not necessarily mean that they can handle your project. They may specialize in a certain type or style of video, and if your project falls outside of that niche, your end result may not live up to what you see in the portfolio.
At this point, you’ll probably end up with a few companies that may work for you. With those companies in the running, move onto the next step.
4. Contact the company
This is where the selection process gets more serious. To get a more accurate perspective on whether a company is right for you or not, you’ll have to contact each one. Depending on the company, this might involve requesting a quote on their website, calling their sales number, or scheduling a meeting with their production team.
There are two things you’ll want to get out of this phone call. Number one is a quote for how much your project is likely to cost. You’ll likely be asked about the project you have in mind and then given a range (or a specific number, but that’s less common at this early stage) that reflects your video’s potential cost breakdown.
Number two is an understanding of the company’s approach to the production process. Most companies will explain this to you, but if they don’t, here are some questions that you might want to ask.
- What does the process look like from start to finish?
- When can I expect to have the finished video?
- Is our team responsible for the video’s distribution, or do you handle that part too?
- How involved is my team expected to be throughout the process?
- What variables could cause us to go over budget or delay the timeline?
Once all of your questions have been answered, it’s time to make a final decision.
5. Pick your partner
If you’re still torn between two or more companies after gathering all of your information, it’s time to turn to your instinct. You may have noticed that one team seemed to care more about the success of your project than others. Or, one team may have asked more questions to make sure they understood your goals.
When you’re taking on a partner for a production project, it’s important that you feel good about the team you’re hiring to bring your vision to life. Whichever option makes you feel most confident in the success of your project is likely the best choice.
And, lastly, if you’re still undecided, consider working with us! With over 10,000 videos under our belt, we know what we’re doing.