Archive for the ‘Video Production’ Category



Milwaukee Video Production Buyers Guide

Milwaukee Video Production Buyers GuideTips for Planning a Video Shoot in Wisconsin or Anywhere Else

You’re all set to produce your marketing video. Or… maybe it’s an internal project? Maybe an event video? Regardless of what type of “corporate video” you’re producing, finding a Milwaukee video production company is next on your docket. These are some practical tips for just about any city. 

Shopping for a production company isn’t the typical kind of thing you’re used to researching. You’re about to create a video… something that’s one part functional and another part art, so you’re tasked with finding a credible company with talented marketing artists.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. You could certainly just hire us. We’d love that (we’re pretty awesome), but really the best advice is to do a little research and get bids from a few companies.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Why You Need Look At Multiple Production Houses

Every production company is different from the other. Some are bigger, some are smaller. Some help with creative and marketing ideas, others simply execute your plan. Equipment and personnel can also vary from company to company.

When you take these things into account, it’s good to look at multiple companies to get a sense of which is best for your project.

Are you heading into a big budget production? Multiple cameras, a large production crew, fancy equipment like cranes or drones?

If so, you’re going to need a big production house that can handle that kind of stuff.

On the other hand, are you trying to keep it simple? Are you more interested in quality storytelling than video gadgets? A smaller company or even an independent video pro might be better for your project.

So… how do you begin to separate each company from one another?

Tip #1: watch their work

You’re obviously going to start looking at production company websites. You’ll be able to get some basic information, but really what you want to do is watch examples of their work.

Forget the company “sizzle reel” if they have one. This is simply a highlight video… a compilation. How’s that going to help you?

Instead, watch their client work. If you want to know what to watch for, check out our vlog post on the subject: Tips for Picking a Video Company.

Also, has the production company produced a video about itself… an “About Us” video? Are you kidding me!?! They haven’t? A company that produces marketing videos for other businesses hasn’t produced one about itself? That’s… a little… weird.

Tip #2: vetting

Once you’ve found a few companies with videos you like, you’re going to want to vet them.

Start with their clients… Fortune 500, medium-size companies, micro-businesses… see any companies that seem to be about the same size as your business? Are there any in related industries?

Of course, cost is going to be a factor when vetting production houses as well. The only problem? Many (most) production companies don’t list any prices at their website.

I know why they do this. Every video project is different, so that makes it tough to put together a price list.

However, it isn’t impossible. We know people need a little guidance in this area, so we put together some ballpark prices for our website. We even detail how to figure out video production cost.

It would be great if every other production house did this, but they don’t. That means you’ll have to spend some time on the phone speaking with them. You could try email, but the phone is probably easier.

While they’ll ask you a bunch of questions for your price quote, you should ask some as well, like:

  • Make sure to ask if they’ll give you a fixed price, or will it change depending on how the production goes? We have clients who were burned by production companies in the past. They thought the price was fixed, but things were added during the production process (extra shoot days, special equipment, more post-production time) and next thing they knew the price had skyrocketed. It’s okay if it’s not a fixed price, but make sure the production company will agree to talk with you in advance of any additional expenses.

It also helps to sometimes work backwards when getting a quote. Tell them your budget and then see what they can do for that amount. I know… you don’t want to show your hand, but this is a great way to shop around. You can still find a deal because if they’re offering more than you need, you can walk back your budget and ask what they can do for less.

  • Once you have a price, make sure you know what you’re getting for your money. How big will the crew be? How many hours will they spend on your project?
  • What about content ideas? Will they help generate creative ideas and work with you on storytelling, or will they simply execute the plan you provide to them?
  • Ask them about their video production process. Every production house does things a little differently from the rest. Find out what’s involved and how long the production will take.
  • Are revisions included in the price? Again, every company handles things differently. With some, revisions cost extra. With others, you get a certain amount included in the price.

Tip #3: get it in writing

You’ve looked at some videos, you like a company’s style, and you have a good price estimate. Time to get an official proposal.

The proposal will probably just put into writing what you’ve already discussed with them, but it’s a necessary step. Communication is so important! You don’t want there to be any curve balls.

Once you’ve approved the proposal, get a contract and you’re ready to roll!

You’ve Selected Your Milwaukee Video Production Company

Hopefully, I didn’t scare you away. It sounds like a lot, but it’s all worth while. And now that you have this trusted guide, the process should be much easier.

And the good news? At the end… you’ll have a terrific marketing tool, so have fun!

Chicago Video Production Buyer’s Guide

Chicago Video Production Buyers GuidePicking a Chicago video production company can be a tricky proposition. First, there are a ton of them to choose from. Second, it can be difficult telling them apart. Finally, many don’t list even ballpark prices at their website. That drives me nuts, but more on that later.

I’d like to make it simple on you and say, “Hire Us! Your mission is accomplished.” But that’s just lousy advice. Not because we aren’t good at what we do… we’re actually pretty awesome. No, the reason why is it’s important to shop around and pick the right production company for the right project.

Difference In Production Companies?

Not all production houses are created the same, or equal for that matter, which is why it’s important to find the right fit.

For example, if you need a big production… think lots of lights, multiple videographers and sound technicians, maybe a drone or a crane to get some cool shots… yeah… a crane. Not every production company can pull that off.

On the other hand, let’s say you want a small production crew… or a single videographer… for something that would be less disruptive to daily operations? Maybe you need a company with a strong emphasis on storytelling? That same company that handled the big shoot might not be right for those videos.

If only there was a handy-dandy guide that could help you make sense of all of this. Well, that’s what we aim to do.

First Step: Watch and Listen

Start Googling… every company you look at should have sample work at its website. Check out its previous work.

Insiders Tip:  if they have a single “sample reel” of their work… don’t bother watching. It’s a highlight reel. How’s that going to help you? Instead, watch the client work they’ve posted. We have more guidelines in a previous vlog post if you need more help (Tips For Picking A Video Company).

Also, have they produced a video about themselves telling their own story? What? They haven’t? So a company that produces videos for other organizations doesn’t see the value in producing one on itself? Seems… weird… doesn’t it?

Second Step: Vetting

The next step is vetting them. Who are their clients? The Fortune 500 or mom-and-pop shops? Are their businesses or brands that appear to be the same size as yours? Any that are in related industries?

One of the main things you’ll to want to know is cost. This is going to take some leg work… or at least some time on the phone.

I’m with you… this drive me crazy. Why don’t production companies list their prices!? As someone who started his own production company, let me fill you in. Every project is different, so it’s tough to publish a price list.

However, just because it’s tough, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We manage to post our ballpark prices… even how to figure out video production costI wish more companies would do this for you, but many (most) don’t. That means picking up the phone and asking questions.

Here are some good ones:

  • What will it cost? Tell them what you have in mind for your video and ask how much it will cost. They’ll ask you some questions and should be able to give you some sort of an idea on pricing.

Insider’s Tip: ask them if it’s a fixed cost, or is it possible things will change during production. We’ve had lots of clients burned by other companies in the past because they thought the price in the contract was fixed, but during the production process things were added (more shooting days, special equipment, additional personnel, etc.) all driving up cost without them knowing. Make sure it’s a fixed cost, or the production crew will notify you of any additional costs before they happen.

Another option is to work backwards. Give them your budget and ask what they can do for that amount. I know, a lot of people don’t like to do this because they don’t want to pay more than they have to. I get it, but this method will often get you a more accurate picture of what you get for your money. Also, if you’re shopping around, you’ll be able to compare between companies.

  • Once you have a price, ask them what that gets you. How big of a crew? How many hours will they spend on it?
  • Will they help with content ideas? What about help with storytelling? Some production houses are just that… they’re all about the production and only the production. If you’re providing all the direction on content, this might be fine with you. But if you need a little help, it’s good to know upfront if they can provide some creative ideas.
  • What is their video production process? How long will it take? Every company has a different way of doing things. Find out how each of them works.
  • Are revisions included? Once the video has been edited, it’s important to know if you can make changes. Sometimes making changes costs more. 

Last Step: Get a Written Proposal

Okay… you’ve looked at a bunch of videos and like a particular company’s style. You’re okay with their price estimate and their production process. Now you need a formal proposal.

What you’ll receive will likely put into writing what they’ve told you over the phone. Hopefully, it will also include more details on things like how much time is devoted to each aspect of the production.

Once you sign-off on that, get a contract, sign, and you’re off and running!

You’ve Selected Your Chicago Video Production Company

I hope all of this didn’t sound too daunting. It really shouldn’t be now that you have this trusted guide.

The best part… once you’ve picked the right Chicago video production company for you, it’s time to actually produce the video. And producing videos is fun.