Tips for first-time video buyers

Whether you’re a business owner, artist, executive, or buyer, spending your resources on a video for the first time can be a daunting process. There are many creative components and opinions to consider. On the technical side, it’s just like any other project, so even the most basic project management skills can apply here.

Determine your goals

Before you begin to think about the video itself, consider why you’re shopping for a video at all. Videos are increasing in popularity each year. They come highly recommended and are incredibly useful. In order to maximize your effectiveness, you need to put your goals first. A video isn’t a magic wand, so it can’t solve every problem. However, it can solve a great many of them and can be designed to help you if you are clear about goals.

Do you want to raise brand awareness? Increase leads? Onboard new clients? Educate staff or contractors? Reduce incidents and accidents at your facility? A good video can accomplish all of these needs.

Determine your constraints and resources

Time. How long do you have to present or distribute a final video? Weeks? Months? Determine this constraint first. If you are outsourcing, some services will charge a rush fee or may not be available at all. Oftentimes, creative professional services can be booked weeks to months in advance. A professionally produced commercial with animation, professional narration, and custom music could take 4-8 weeks.

If there is no definitive answer, decide on a realistic or optimal time frame and set that as your deadline. You can use this to your advantage later if you need to move the deadline to adjust for a different project constraint.

Economics. Do you have a budget already set? Great. Consider presenting this information to your production service of choice so they can organize their own constraints and resources accordingly and present options. Having a budget upfront will also help you determine if a company partner or vendor is the best fit, sometimes right away. It may also tell you if you have reserved too much or too little. If you have more budget than you realized you would need, consider hearing out the production partner or vendor on how they would use it. This may lead to a major camera upgrade or additional videos. If you have less budget than you realized you needed, it’s ok to take a step back and consider other paths to your goal until you’re ready to buy. In the long run with business or commercial services, it’s better to do it right.

Logistics. Are all people, locations, equipment, clothing, and props going to be in the right place at the right time?

Decide how to produce

You can spend the budget on a variety of options. Let’s narrow it down to the three core categories:

  • Professional, turn-key video service
  • Insourcing: Hiring an employee or volunteering a current one
  • DIY

Professional Turn-Key Video Service

If you chose a great company who is the right fit, you’ll end up with a low-hassle project that leads to profits for many years. For tips on how to choose a great video production company, check out this article. It may come as a surprise, but outsourcing your video or photo production needs is sometimes the least expensive option. Read on to learn why.

Insourcing: Hiring an employee or volunteering a current one

One of the top reasons a company starts their own media production department is to produce a high volume of media at a lower cost. If you are a first-time buyer, it is strongly recommended you start with one video and forego considering adding a media production department.

If you are still wanting to pursue this option, you can check out our article on insourcing here. We’ll cover all of the pitfalls you might hit while pursuing this.

Warning – if you aren’t a seasoned media production professional – prepare for difficulty in judging and coaching this person’s work. And especially in determining their work load.

DIY

Is learning how to make videos going to be the best use of my time?

Will it save you money? Maybe. Maybe not. Beware, too much DIY can lead to you becoming your own video production department. The first question you should ask yourself is “Is this going to be the best use of my time?” If you are doing this to save money, consider the following –

You start with an inexpensive DSLR video camera, but after filming a short segment of someone speaking on camera, realize it doesn’t sound very good and it’s hard to understand what the person is saying. You realize you’ll need to purchase additional audio equipment and all of the accessories. Now you need better lighting. Next you’ll need a better computer to process all of this data you created. Finally, you’ll need more experience and knowledge in the video production process. This will lead you to understand why your equipment isn’t giving you the results you expected. And it’s probably because you need more expensive equipment to get the look and sound you loved so much in that one video you saw online.

If learning how to make videos is going to be the best use of your time, you should check out our favorite resources:

If you have additional questions before purchasing a video, don’t be shy! Reach out, we’re here to help –