In-house video production VS Freelancer VS Video Agency

When companies start thinking about creating videos, one of the decisions they will need to make is – who will create these videos? There are three main ways to do this. You can create the videos in-house, use a freelancer or hire a video production agency. Each option has its challenges and benefits. Since 2003, I have had the opportunity to observe companies that have tried all three, and I wish I could share examples of the videos they have produced because that would speak louder than any words I can write. It is this idea of bough vs owned services.

Internal Video Team
In-house production (depending on the size of your company, this also might be called do-it-yourself) might be the most cost-effective on paper. However, in order for your video to succeed, your video-maker must be a true jack of all trades and that person doesn’t exist.  Video production is typically done best as a team effort because it requires several people with different areas of expertise – from script writing and casting to editing, voiceover and special effects. It is rare for a single person to masterfully execute all of these roles, so if you are using only one person, your video may be weak in certain areas, particularly writing, project management, and video marketing. In addition, hiring an in-house video-maker isn’t a cheap as you might think. In addition to that person’s salary, you also have payroll taxes, benefits, paid time off, etc. You will also need to purchase equipment and replace the expensive machines, such as cameras and computers, every 3-5 years. I see a lot of companies posting jobs for in-house video production positions, and the job descriptions are so unrealistic that I am surprised they ever get filled. Even the most talented cinematographers I know could never measure up to the demand to do absolutely everything.

Freelance Video Production
The second option is hiring a freelancer for your job. This person is usually also a one-man band. Using a freelancer can help save on all of the extras you pay in addition to a salary, and a freelancer also brings his or her own equipment. One challenge is that a good freelancer is in high demand. Also, as I mentioned before, any single person will have his/her personal strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest complaints I commonly hear is that freelancers don’t deliver projects on time. If you are lucky, your freelancer will understand his weaknesses and let you know where gaps need to be filled. But most of the time, if he told you this, you would think he was unqualified and probably never hire him. For all of these reasons, an in-house hire and a freelancer are usually only capable of creating one, maybe two, styles of video, with more limitations than it is worth.  You will also have to be the creative director and do the marketing of the videos.  Because video editors and videographers are not project managers, marketers or creative directors.

Video Production Agency
Lastly we have a video production agency, i.e. a company dedicated to creating videos. In addition to general video production companies, there are agencies that specialize in niches such as web design to tradeshow booths. A video production agency has a dedicated team of specialists working together so that each area is of your project is attended to. This versatility means that a video production agency can deliver many different styles of videos. An agency’s teams also bring new ideas to the table, giving the hiring company the advantage of working with many people without having to add them to the payroll.    There are also financial benefits. An agency is going to cost more per project than a single video-maker, but not nearly as much as if you were to hire each team member individually. An agency will also know what to look for when hiring a team member, so you can avoid the costly mistakes of hiring the wrong person. In addition, if you are dissatisfied, it is much easier to fire an agency or freelancer than an in-house employee. An agency will also carry more robust insurance that will protect your investment during the production process. With an agency, your project doesn’t stop when someone is out sick or on vacation. This is because, in addition to an account manager, there are multiple people looking out for your project, so even if one person is out, the project keeps going. Ultimately, hiring a video production company to make your corporate video offers the biggest bang for your buck. Though this option may be a bit more expensive than hiring a single freelancer or in-house video-maker, this is offset by the benefits of having a team of experts who bring diverse skill sets to the table. A video production company is generally the most experienced, reliable and efficient option for creating the best video to boost your company’s success.  They are also constantly testing what works so they can help you succeed faster.

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