There are benefits to hiring a videographer or commissioning a solo video production professional to produce your video project. Likewise, there are benefits to hiring a video production company for the same task. Like many vendor searches and purchasing decisions, finding the right fit is a mix of cost, chemistry and choice. Individuals or organizations looking for either a solo professional or a video production team to create video content take in a variety of quotes, pitches, demo reels and stories. The most important aspect of the choice is simply being educated on the pros and cons. The decision to partner with a videographer or a video production company ultimately comes down to preference.
Some believe there may be cost savings and a leaner production process if one person is shooting and editing the video content needed. Others believe that having a video production crew allows for collaboration and may move a video shoot along faster. In both cases the speed and success of a video shoot heavily relies on the pre-planning and the efforts of the person who is coordinating and/or directing the shoot. For the sake of this discussion, we will assume that the client has written a script or come up with a concept, and must choose between a freelance videographer or a video production company to shoot and edit the project.
One important step in making a hiring decision for a video project is to speak to the videographer or the lead producer at the video production company. This conversation can take place over the phone, video call or in-person. The purpose of interviewing prospective video partners is to determine who takes direction well or who might be affable. Ask questions to get a feel for which individual videographer or video production team would be flexible with client requests. For example, would the videographer or video production crew be comfortable shooting video and then handing the footage to the client for them to edit in-house? Is the videographer or video production team comfortable traveling? Does the videographer or video production company have an understanding of video for business or experience creating the kind of video content needed?
Quotes and estimates can vary widely over a range of factors including experience, equipment, capabilities, proper insurance, overhead like offices and studios and most important, personality and talent. There are video production companies who offer discounts because they are hungry for work and there are videographers who have limited capacity so they raise their rates. Some clients may not be concerned with liability insurance or what kind of camera the videographer uses. Others shopping for video production services may not care if the video production team has offices or a studio. In many cases, cost and capabilities are important factors but personality and talent are integral factors to comparing videographers and video production companies. There are videographers with lots of character and talent who operate without a lot of extra gear or overhead. Adversely, there are video production companies with tons of impressive cameras, lights, production trucks, offices and studios but then fall short in the area of personality and talent.
Responsiveness and the prospect of a long-term working relationship are also major factors to consider when making a hiring decision. Solo or freelance videographers have a capacity issue where they can only handle so many jobs or requests at any given time so responsiveness or project turnaround time could be an issue. Also, it is possible that a videographer may give up the freelance life and join a company or even make a career change. Thinking long-term, a video production company would be more likely to be in business as an entity even if there is turnover within the crew. This may be an advantage if a client expects to be able to revisit video footage or projects over a longer time period. A video production company may also be able to deliver faster turnaround as there is some benefit to having a crew that shoots video while another team is back at the studio editing.
Is it better to hire a freelance videographer or a video production company? While there are advantages and drawbacks to both scenarios it is important to understand that there is no clear answer to this question. What is important is that anyone shopping for video production services is armed with the information presented here, is ready to actively collaborate with and manage the video production professional and is willing to take the time to compare several working relationships. The best fit is the one that checks as many boxes as possible in areas such as cost, capability, turn-around time, quality of work, and most important, personality and talent. Find out who scores the highest in the areas that are most important, work out the plan and create great video!