There are so many options when it comes to video production, and with equipment costs now so low, should you be producing your video in-house?

Of course I am biased – I have been producing video content for clients all over the world for 15 years.

However as I also teach Econsultancy’s Video Marketing Strategy Course, I am going to present some tips in a subjective manner - if you don’t think I’ve nailed it, I welcome your comments below!

When I started, in-house production was a costly exercise, with cameras costing tens of thousands and edit suites needing an experienced expert to run them.

Things have changed and now you can buy a great camera for a couple of thousand pounds and most edit software is so intuitive it can be self taught to a basic standard in a few days. 

So does that mean you should invest in some kit and start making your own films?

These five tips should help you make a balanced decision, and for more on this topic read:

1. Consider the overall investment in kit and time

The kit may well be a smaller investment now but consider the overall cost of a project.

Time developing strategy and creative, arranging crew/cast/participants and locations all take a significant investment in time, sometimes these internal costs get forgotten.

2. Do your research

A pretty film isn’t necessarily an effective film.

Make sure the production team understand the objectives and the audience, and they have the knowledge and capabilities to produce content that’s effective.

You may save money producing in-house but ultimately it’s the ROI that’s important. 

3. Make sure the quality fits the concept & meets audience expectation

I’ve seen lots of really nicely shot films produced by in-house teams. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the sound hasn’t been considered at all.

In many ways, sound is the most important part of the production and should be given the same consideration as the visuals. 

Sometimes a rough ‘user generated’ feel works for a concept, but make sure you understand your audience’s expectations when producing your content. 

Many friends have commented about corporate videos they had to watch, but spent more time critiquing than paying attention because the quality was so bad.

Many things will influence the effectiveness of your films.

Duration, pace and music all have a huge impact on the engagement, it’s something that many production companies don’t even get right, so make sure your team carefully consider every element. 

4. Do you need to hire Spielberg?

Not all films need a Hollywood director, but a film shoot can present a number of issues that require a director or producer to fix quickly and professionally.

It might be problems on location or making sure that the very important interviewee is relaxed and performing well.

Make sure you send people you know will be able to think on their feet and get on well with the participants.

I recently heard of a CEO of a global brand who refused to work with a production company because the crew they sent were too ‘young and funky’.

5. How will you distribute the content?

So you’ve made something great. Do you know what to do with it next?

Make sure you have a distribution plan (hopefully part of your video strategy). Think about your audience, where they are and how to convince them to watch.

Ideally distribution needs to be considered before you even start producing the content. 

For more on this, read Econsultancy’s best practice report on content distribution and influencer networks.

To summarise...

Yes, producing your content in-house can be very effective. Don’t look at it as the cheap easy option though, not if you want it to be effective.

Consider what success looks like and then decide whether you think that can be achieved with your in-house team.

Some companies have different tiers of production, with those at the lower end being produced in-house and the more significant films being outsourced to a trusted production company.

Simon Crofts

Published 17 November, 2015 by Simon Crofts

Simon Crofts is the creative director of Big Button, a trainer and contributor to Econsultancy. You can connect with Simon on LinkedIn and Twitter. 

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