Video production in year 2020 is in high demand. Never before in history has the entry level been this low. For aspiring creatives to become a professional videographer, the steps are simple. Purchase a high quality camera, video editing software, watch a ton of youtube videos, create a website on WordPress and finally create a social media account. A couple bank card swipes, paperwork to create a llc and a few youtube tutorials later, a video production company is born.
What’s next is choosing what videography services to start offering as a professional videographer. It could be wedding videography, event videography (birthday parties, bat mitzvah, music videos, etc), corporate videos, drone work, commercial videography & much more. In major cities like New York City, New Jersey, Los Angeles (Hollywood always being in high demand for film production) & Chicago, the video production industries are always thriving.
Videographers then have to find business. Just offering your professional services isn’t usually enough. Just like any business it takes networking, branding risk-taking and gaining some years experience to build trust to be respected as a great videographer.
So, if you’re a local resident looking to find a wedding cinematographer to document your big day, a small to mid-size business looking to higher professional videography or an aspiring artist needing to find the right pro to create an on location video, these questions will help determine what video services are best fit for you.
1. What is my budget?
I’ll start with the most daunting question. Most clients are looking to save money on hiring videographers or a video production team. From a videographers standpoint, before a conversation is started it helps if there is a budget in mind. Videography is a creative service and pricing can be structured in many different ways. Variables like experience level, client list, equipment, and the amount of video production members all play a factor in pricing.
Videographers in more cases than not always want the work. The problem is that pricing can be difficult to talk through. Having a price in mind helps videographers present what options are available based on your price range. It gives us a place to start when explaining what a price means from our business perspective. The last thing we want to do is scare a client away with an out of budget price without context, so it’s great to have an idea of what your budget may be.
2. What experience does this videographer have with this type of video service?
Experience, along with referrals, play a big part in the hiring of a professional videographer. A video production company with experience offering their professional services is looked at as a trusted authority in their industry. For a business looking to hire a fully capable video production company, experience gives you peace of mind throughout the entire production process.
For example: Let’s say you hire a wedding videographer for a 300 person wedding. And that videographer has never been hired to film a wedding that size or has never produced a wedding film. There would be intricate details missed or possible missed moments because of the lack of experience. This could then add stress to the process that we all don’t want on our special day.
Events like weddings are filled with countless of special moments that on that day only happen once. Wedding films require a unique style of cinematography and most couples would agree that they’d want an experienced video production team there to capture the special day.
3. What are your video production capabilities?
Are you a 1 man band? Do you have a video production team? Do you do post production yourself or do you outsource the editing? Yes, these are all additional questions but these all align when it comes to video production. Knowing the capabilities of a videographer or video production team will provide you with clarity on what type of production can and can’t be done. Maybe you have a project you need filmed and edited in 2 days. Or there’s an on location shoot in a different city that requires travel for a week with a small crew. Knowing the capabilities of a video production company will give you a clear idea if this is the right team to hire.
4. Can you provide samples of previous client work?
Seeing a video productions previous work is important. Not only does it verify the production level and skills the business has to offer but it also gives you a feel for the type of videos that you can expect from them. When being pitched videos that cater your projects niche, have the production company explain how that video process went. What problems did they face on this project? How were these problems solved? What did you like the least and the most about this project?
5. Does personality matter when hiring for this video production job?
This isn’t talked about enough in my opinion. The personality of a videographer or production team plays a large part in the experience and outcome of project.. For this specific job, what is the ideal personality type of who we are hiring. For event videography, you may need someone who’s unafraid of interactions, takes initiative & self starts ideas. Or for a set of interviews, you may be the lead interviewer and just need a video production team of videographers who are technically sound and won’t do much interacting with the talent. This is important to recognize in the pre-hiring process to avoid any clashes in working styles or personalities that could negatively affect the quality of the production.
6. What is most import the pre-production, post production or are they equally important?
This question matters because it will determine how much work you intend to have the video production team you hire do. Pre-production can consist of brainstorming, writing, storyboarding, creation of mood boards, contract agreements and more. It’s basically anything that goes into creating and formulating the idea that will be brought to life on video. If you’re approaching them with a rough idea or visual plan of what you exactly want, that would be a different interaction than needing something created from scratch.
On the other end with post-production you may be unsure on things like video length, color grading (warmer or cooler tones) or the music soundtrack. In this instance you would lean on the expertise of the production team to put their creativity to work to finalize this video project.
7. What does a project start to finish look like for video production team?
Maps work. Especially Google. Knowing where you are starting and where you are going makes things easier for everyone. Has the business you potentially will hire given you a roadmap of what conception to completion looks like to them. If your starting point is Missouri you should know if you will end up in Arizona or in Nevada. On this road there is a lot in the middle, so I will write an article about how the start to finish of a video production process looks like.
8. What is the normal delivery for this type of production?
Delivery dates can vary from project to project. It’s important to get a full understanding of what is normal to industry standards and see if that matches to your needs. You are purchasing a product, so coming from a person who runs a video production company, there should be shipping options. Delivery options, for example, could look something like standard, rush or overnight. These options may not always be feasible for some videographers or video production companies based on the project scale but for micro projects (a minute or less) this can work.
9. Do you have insurance?
Here’s the honest truth, most videographers don’t have insurance. Being a freelancer is a tough road. A videographers road from Missouri to California could take them Washington based upon opportunity. In a lot of cases, not all, this isn’t a priority for videographers running a one man ship.
For video production companies it’s in their best interest to possess insurance for a few of reasons. One, if any damages happen to your equipment it’s protected (a deductible has to be paid per usual). Two, most large corporations require your business to have insurance in order to receive payment. And, three camera equipment is expensive, so just having it provides piece of mind (even though drone coverage is a bit trickier. Read more about that HERE.) This simple question will tell you a lot about the business that you’re looking to hire.
10. Will I own the rights to the final product?
Having a contract or agreement is important. Having a document with simple terms like “Your name has the rights to the final product” will help you avoid any potential legal hassles down the road.
10 questions helped give you clarity and perspective, when looking for a videographer near you. Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.