Navigating the industry to select a video production company that’s going to produce a quality video for you can be challenging as a first-time buyer. Especially in Singapore where there are upwards of a thousand video providers, you’ll need some guidelines to keep your search objective if you want to develop a successful video from scratch.
1. Look for specialists that have a unique way of doing things
Understand that there will be the guys that ‘do everything’ at an average, mediocre quality, and the ones that only do a few things exceptionally well. Depending on your needs, try to pick out boutique providers that have experience in your industry to help you achieve your desired output.
Certain companies specialize more in CGI animation or 3D comps. Some companies focus more on cartoon animations whilst others are corporate video experts. Each of these expertises call for a very different type of video vendor, but generally you shouldn’t go after the ‘creatives’, but the ‘strategists’ that actually know what you want to achieve from those videos.
2. Price is not the be-all-end-all
They say you get what you pay for. Stinging on something as important as a video for your company can spell disaster mid-way into the working relationship. This can cost you more time and money than expected.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Understand that video professionals have higher overheads than other service companies because of top-grade software, specialized equipment rentals, man hours to do live videography and editing time spent as well. What you experience as the client though is a seamless experience where you provide the scope and get the output video at the end of the engagement.
How much can you afford for video services?
Should you share the budget with your vendor? Sharing a ballpark range with the vendors you’re looking at does not always put you at a disadvantage.
Being transparent about what you can afford lets you suss out the best providers for your budget and also ensures that you’re not wasting each others time. Most trustworthy video agencies tend to propose what fits into your budget rather than try to profiteer.
Getting a few quotations from different providers can very quickly show you which ones have prices that sit outside the norm. That said, not everything expensive is untruthful – there are video agencies that charge upwards of $5,000 per minute, and some that charge $10,000 for the same thing. It boils down to how much risk you’d like to take with your providers.
That said, it’s safe to say that any agency worth its salt would charge a reasonable premium on top of services to cover numerous overheads of video production.
3. Look at their video portfolio showreel
No video production company that can deliver will not have one. If your provider does not have a sampler of his/her past work – you should be very worried. A showreel gives you a rough idea of editing style and also samples of previous work that could be very similar to the product that you’re after.
Be sure to request a showreel sampler from your next prospective video vendors to make an informed decision. Showreels not only showcase styles of animations or videos but also tend to offer a high-level view of the type of clientele the agency serves.
To ensure that you get the best agency for your needs – try to identify a style that you like and use that as a sample when requesting for more examples from agencies. At times, a curated showreel might not contain their full body of work and they might have capabilities that you never expected.
4. Find out more about the working process and how they meet deadlines
When working with a video vendor, they essentially become your work partner and if their work process is questionable and full of operational gaps, you might be risking your timeline and possibly your job.
Ultimately, you’re the one taking all the flak if the work is not delivered on time or in good quality, not your vendor.
Here are a few questions you can ask:
a) How long does creating a video usually take for your agency?
b) What is the process like?
c) Will I be liaising with numerous individuals or one contact person?
A good video vendor should be able to clearly articulate their work processes and also have either a main liaison or a smooth handover between teammates within the company.
Since you’re already paying, it’s not unfair to expect the agency to do most of the work – that said, you should be ready to invest a little bit of effort to offer them clarity on your company’s brand, objectives and necessary information to complete the project.
They need a process
Good vendors have strict processes and ‘stages’. For example, for animation projects, most firms tend to begin with a script or storyboard, followed by a style-moodboard before even moving to execute the animation.
It can seem a little cumbersome on first glance, but a stage-by-stage process ensures that there won’t be back-tracking during the project which might lead to additional delays when everything needs to be overhauled.
5. Ensure they can develop a strong script and storyboard
In most videos – you’ll need a script and storyboard. Fly-by-night video providers tend to skip many parts of the process and go straight to production. That way, your video messaging is lost, making your video less effective in achieving your video marketing objectives.
If they can’t articulate how they produce scripts and storyboards – or if this bit is absent entirely from their video production process, you need to be asking more questions including: Are these guys even sure of what they’re doing?
At MotionSauce, we follow a few messaging frameworks that we’ve developed in-house for various types of videos ranging from:
b) Product Explainers
c) Testimonial Interviews
d) Advertisements and Promotions
e) Short Social Media Videos
Each of these demands a specific type of story and structure and it’s hardly ever a one-size fits all. Some agencies can develop beautiful videos, but with lackluster messaging, how will you persuade your audiences to take action?
Ensure the agency that you decide on has a good handle of script-writing and story structures in video before you take the next step.
Developing a corporate video or explainer videos for your company doesn’t have to be a nightmarish pursuit – just do a little due diligence to avoid a prolonged heartache of working experiences with your provider.
1. Look for specialists
2. Align on budget, but don’t go for the cheapest
3. Look at their showreel
4. Find out if they have good processes
5. Ensure the agency has storyboarding capabilities
Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment.
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