VIDEO PRODUCTION COMPANY VS FREELANCERS
When companies and startups are looking for someone to handle their corporate video production, they will sometimes consider using a freelance producer or another discipline from the industry, rather than a production company to reduce the cost. So, what’s the difference in cost and where’s the risk?
Although cost is an obvious factor – an individual freelancer will be cheaper than a production company. Let’s go through some of the reasons that’s the case and, perhaps, some of the key differences in video production service or product that you might get.
Since cost is usually the first decision that clients take into consideration, let’s start with that. Sure, freelancers generally cost less than a full production company. However, as with most things in life, there’s a relationship between cost and risk. Usually, saving cost increases risk and paying more helps mitigate risk… and that’s also the case with video production. If you choose a freelancer to save money, there are a few areas where you’ll have to take other risks into account.
ONE VIDEO SPECIALIST VS SEVERAL VIDEO SPECIALISTS
One of these risk areas is project management. Usually, freelancers are highly skilled in a specific discipline – for example, camera operation or editing. However, they won’t necessarily be experienced in managing productions. Any project management experience for a technical freelancer is likely to be a secondary skill, after their technical discipline.
Whatever the production, the principles of project management will generally stay the same. Every shoot will need crewing, logistics, shot lists, health and safety, and insurance. Therefore, production companies tend to have a dedicated project manager – someone on hand who has extensive experience at all levels. This person has the experience and time management skills to oversee the whole production. They ensure that everyone works together efficiently, keeping the whole shebang on track.
Then, the production company can bring in specialists for the nitty gritty – the freelancers who are skilled in one particular technical area (unless they’re a freelance producer… but then a good producer will understand all of these arguments for themselves and will likely prefer to work through a production company!). As they’re used to bringing people in, a production company’s little black book is usually packed. This in turn, allows them too choose from a wider pool of technicians for each job.
This way, you can ensure that your video project will not only have all the technical expertise covered, but it will be managed seamlessly, from pre-production to post.
TEAMWORK & RESOURCE ALLOCATION IN VIDEO PRODUCTION
Another potential issue to consider is the allocation of resources. Freelancers will almost always have to attend every shoot they’re engaged on, and won’t be able to apply resources solely to your brief. As an individual they will have limited availability and you’ll always be competing with other clients’ video productions. Wouldn’t you rather know that the team you’re working with can dedicate people and time to each project?
Speaking of teams, there is strength in depth. If things get hairy it’s much easier for a production company to reallocate resources to overcome unexpected challenges. A production company can draw upon the experiences of a whole team, rather than one person. Freelancers, however talented, just won’t have the same in-built support network. Here, our apprentice reflects on a time when company depth was tested by an unexpected challenge.
VIDEO PRODUCTION COMPANIES ARE ADAPTABLE
Production companies are used to working with technically diverse teams and tend to have a more collaborative approach. They also have the ability to incorporate additional skills wherever they’re needed – not to mention the knowledge and experience to understand when that might be necessary. They can build further on the collective expertise of its collaborators. With more people, tasks can be subdivided, leading to better quality technical output – giving more scope to concentrate on content. The result? A more comprehensive and creative end product.
BRAND DEVELOPMENT WITH PRODUCTION COMPANIES
If you anticipate needing video production regularly, or for multiple projects, it’s worth building a relationship with a production company. With a larger talent pool and more diverse team, a production company is likely to offer not only more innovation and creativity, but reliability in the longer term. Perhaps more importantly, though, a production company is more likely to have a strategic approach that takes things like brand identity, audience strategy and marketing objectives into account. Over time, they’ll gain a deeper understanding of your brand and audience needs, creating more impactful content and offering the kind of consistency that is vital for longer term relationships.
PRODUCTION COMPANIES HAVE IT COVERED
Finally, a word about insurance and liability. Because a video production company is experienced in a wide range of productions, it will have specific, expensive insurance for productions of all sizes. The team will fully understand the risks involved in all types of shoot and know who carries liability for which activity. Not all freelancers have the same level of insurance coverage, or the same knowledge of risk, leaving clients potentially exposed.
Want to read more? We went into the costs of video production a little more deeply in a previous blog post: How much does it cost to hire a video production company?
It’s important to weigh up the differences based on your specific project requirements, budget, and overall goals. If you’re currently thinking about hiring someone to produce a corporate video, we hope this has given you a bit more food for thought. We love freelancers, our business and industry wouldn’t survive without them, but always consider whether an individual offer such a comprehensive, rounded skillset and the same peace of mind?