If you’re dreaming up a smaller or more DIY-style video project, you can likely handle all of the details and logistics yourself, or with your existing in-house team. But when your goal is to create a professional video project or a large-scale livestream, you need a team with talent and experience. So where do you start?
What’s Your Budget?
Before you do anything else, A-Wing Visuals suggests deciding your budget limit. While you may have a specific vision in mind for your video project, it won’t do you any good if it’s beyond what your company can feasibly afford. By setting an initial budget before starting the search for the right production team, you’ll save time and money by sticking within your means and meeting with production teams that you know are viable options for your budget.
Feel free to share your budget when you source production companies. This saves them from quoting a low number for their most basic work and saves your company the time you may waste talking to a production team that you can’t actually afford to work with. A budget tells them the quality you’re looking for, and some might realize you’re looking for more than they can offer. Others will tell you they just can’t afford to work for you, saving you time when aiming for the best film you can make. Great work does require paying a little more for the crew.
Starting The Search
Umault recommends finding at least 10 companies, and only later reducing that down. You can start with referrals from friends and coworkers – You might even be surprised by a great choice in your own network, although remember to truly survey the available options.
Don’t just search online for “video production team” because there’ll be no end to the results. Narrow the search by your area or filming location. Crews Control likes hiring locals so they’ll understand the area and have ideas for great spots. Bringing in someone from far away would require paying for their lodging or putting them up yourself.
Think carefully before looking at sponsored results. They paid to be there, which might mean they’re serious about the work or that they needed the attention because they weren’t getting enough from previous projects.
Check out websites, but remember you’re just compiling a list at the moment. They should have portfolio videos, and some recognition of the years they’ve spent in this business. Is the website professional and easy to navigate? If they care about presentation online, they’ll care when filming.
Researching Your Top 10
When you have your 10, you’re ready for deeper research. Go back to the websites and see if their portfolio videos are good. Would you be happy to get even their sub-optimal work? Is their overall tone or vibe right for your intent? Does their sample reel electrify you even compared to others? Focus on the quality of their recent work.
What has the video team filmed previously? If they’ve only ever filmed dry interviews, they probably know a lot about that but almost nothing about creating a wild music video. The experience gained from a large variety of different types of jobs can be useful if they did what you need and learned interesting tricks from the others.
Is the team big enough? Larger events or productions require larger teams, starting with enough people to operate the necessary number of cameras and film every area.
Many awards that teams mention on their websites can be bought, so “award-winning teams” are actually pretty common. If you care about awards, look for “Cannes Lions” “Clio” “Vimeo Staff Pick” “Webby” or one you personally respect.
Interviewing the Top 3
Time to talk with the teams and see if they’re available. Most professional video teams need about 6 weeks to finish a project. If you can give them more time for a big project, even better. Tell them if you have a tight deadline!
Ask what the team thinks of your script or storyboard, core message and intended audience, the use or what you hope to achieve, or anything that will give them great comments for you or a reason to want to work for you. Other good questions include: How does their company operate on the job? What is their process for mid-project budget changes? When do they consider a project done? Will you have exclusive ownership of the footage?
Make sure to define whether you are paying for the entire project or per day and if they are including post-production in their work, just to ensure there’s no confusion on your part about the total price. A simple contract helps you and them by defining details like shooting times and dates.
Finally, after you’ve interviewed multiple teams and decided on just one, tell those you won’t be hiring first and if possible why. Video teams are needed for many jobs beyond traditional films. Advertising and commercial work, influencer videos and social media channels, large events and small parties – soon almost everyone will have enough experience in creating video with phones to do their own filming, the same as how many adults can drive now. Until that time, we need to hire dedicated experts.
Your Local Video Crew for Hire
Are you an organization local to Greater Philadelphia looking to create an incredible video project? Or maybe you’re based elsewhere, but looking for a local crew for a Philadelphia production? We may be just the team you’re looking for!
If you’re still deciding what you need for your project, or just want to price out some options, try out our new Quote Builder tool to see if our team is a good fit for your production. We’d love to create something amazing with you!