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Video production: In-house or outsource?

Video is part of the business internet marketing package

To stay relevant in the media-centric times of today, the majority of companies have to consider video as a part of their marketing package, and for most the quality of the video production needs to reflect the quality of their business offering, be it beds, TVs, IT or telecoms services or indeed motor repairs or hypnotherapy! No matter the business sector, today videos are vital in everyday business growth, whether they are promotional or informational. Many questions are raised by this trend towards video; so how does a company approach video production? Will they hire their own internal team? Perhaps they know someone who has done a Media Degree and is looking to learn in the real world; or do they use freelancers sporadically so could look at a DIY production? Choosing what will work better for their company is a tricky task, so here are guidelines to help with the key considerations.

Pros and Cons of in-house and outsourcing video marketing productions

Pros: The quality of an in-house production will only be as good as the equipment and experience of those who make the video. Has the best equipment invested in by the company? Can a camera costing a few hundred pounds do as much as camera costing several thousand pounds? Can their team film and edit at a high level, and how long will it take them to complete the project? If the answer is yes to having the right equipment, skills and time available, then they are capable of creating videos that will look and sound professional.
Cons: If the answer to the previous questions are no, i.e. the company is considering using an iPhone or consumer camera with someone who has an interest in videography as a hobby, or maybe did a Media course at University, then the company should consider outsourcing rather than using an in-house team. Poorly produced content is a waste of time and money which can result poor brand image long term.
Pros: Experienced video production companies have the necessary resources which are able to create good video content and they know how to use them. They will have well-trained crew, have the best equipment and want to continuously improve their portfolio.
Cons: Quality can be expensive and the quality of the video depends on the quality of the freelancer or video production company used. In video production, as in life, you get what you pay for.

Pros: Once a company has hired and trained a team and all of their equipment has been purchased and set up, they have a production studio at their fingertips. The company will now never have to call or pay for an external source to do their work. They can walk into their producer’s office and tell him exactly what they want. They can choose how many videos they make a month, whether it is one or a dozen. In some ways this was partly how we came to have 4 video edits suites and 5 videocamera units – we used to be a basic production company with producers and directors who went to outside professionals for the nitty gritty of editing and shooting kit. However, many moons ago when non linear video editing came along and some of our great facilities were so busy we couldn’t get space with them, or couldn’t justify the cost since end clients seemed to be pushing costs down, we thought we’d invest in some bits of kit… and that as they say, was where it all started!

Anyway, the cons of an in-house team.
Building an in-house team can be hard. Will professionals be hired? Why would they want to join a company when they can freelance? Or will employees from within the company be chosen, and trained? Another time-consuming and expensive part is setting up and familiarising the team with the production equipment.
Pros: Freelancers are ready to go whenever. They already have their team and equipment ready and in place, and can also complete a job before the deadline. Outsourcing is best if there is only one job that needs doing before a certain time or if video is only a once every year or few years event.
Cons: If the company want to produce marketing videos, for instance, monthly, weekly or daily, Outsourcing could become very expensive and silly. Freelancers tend to go from company to company on contracts. The company may end up hiring different freelancers every week! If the company is continuously planning to or is serious about producing content every week or month then hiring an in-house team could be best, or as we’ve suggested to a few clients recently why not get a professional company such as Take One to manage the whole thing on a consultancy basis -we know your style, your brand, you messages so bringing them to life in engaging more regular video programmes is highly feasible.

Pros: The company can choose how much to spend. They can decide on how much they pay their team and how much to spend on each production. The producer will most likely be on a salary, which could in turn save the company a lot of money.
Cons: The cost for studios and editing can get expensive. If the team needs to be trained then is can cost the company time AND money. Plus there is the downtime and continually upgrade costs – studios and video edit suites as very expensive resources to sit there doing nothing.

Pros: When outsourcing, the payment covers every aspect of the production process. The team has already been assembled and trained. They will do everything from setting-up, filming, directing and editing. This will be less stressful and time-consuming for the company. Freelancers can often take a lot of the pressure off of clients, and frequently ask questions of contributors that others couldn’t for fear of causing embarrassment. Plus that element of being able to give an unbiased view on things can make a bit difference to the impact of content.
Cons: Freelancers do tend to charge a lot of money. It is one large lump sum payment, but you get what you pay for. If the company wants and is willing to make the investment, a professional and high quality video will be produced.

Pros: Using and in-house team represents the company’s brand and image. Their jobs are dependent on producing the best video for the company. Consequently, this motivates them to work hard. Freelancers may want to put a watermark on your video of their name or company, although we’ve rarely done that unless it was part of the deal i.e. we did a huge discount for the opportunity to market ourselves with the end programme. I f the company has their own team then the video is entirely theirs and the company gets all of the credit & recognition; though we always assign all rights to the client once they paid us so to all intents and purposes the programme is theirs to do as they wish.
Cons: The in-house team represents the company. One wrong decision or slip-up, the company’s reputation can be ruined. Sometimes an external, independent view can see things in a new and refreshing way.

Pros: Only an internal member can grasp and understand how a company works. The mission of the company’s videos can be identified easily by them and they are driven to carry it out. In-house teams are an integral part of the decision-making process, who can help spark ideas, as opposed to freelancers who must interpret a given task as best they can.
Cons: There is a rare downside to having a professional as an in-house videographer and if the company and the professional have different creative visions. The company, ultimately, has the final decision on which way to take the video, but the videographer will also have some good ideas so let them pitch their ideas and try to meet in the middle and find a way which will benefit your company.
Pros: Freelancers are professionals. They have been trained to learn, understand and interpret what the company is and what it wants to achieve and portray to potential customers. The main and leading production companies will be able to tell the company’s story straightaway. A freelancer wouldn’t be hired unless they had an impressive portfolio. An impressive portfolio means that other companies trust them and they have been able to create results.
Cons: The freelancers must be given sufficient insight by the company so they can execute the best possible plan for the video. If the company’s message can’t be conveyed properly, a good marketing video can’t be produced.

If a company is serious about video and they want to consistently produce videos, hiring an in-house team would be a good option, or arranging a contract with a local video production company to act as content managers and producers on an ongoing programme. If a video is only wanted every so often because of a specific reason or purpose, outsource and use a freelancer. Either option is viable, but high-quality video is important in this day & age so best not to risk reputation for the sake of saving a few pounds on production!




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