Tony Gnau

Video Production: The Benefits of Going Pro

By: Tony Gnau | September 18, 2014 | 
28

Video ProductionBy Tony Gnau

Reputation management is an important part of public relations.

We often think of it in terms of managing a crisis or responding to bad reviews.

But in today’s visual web, there’s another aspect to consider: Video production.

As a video producer, I talk about the ins and outs of video production with clients… a lot.

And every time you produce a video, it says something about your business.

Not in the literal sense, I’m talking about in the almost subconscious way we judge people and companies. When you see an awesome company video, it reflects well on that business.

At the very least it upholds the company’s reputation. In many cases it will even enhance it. On the other hand, when you see a video that… well… sucks?

It hurts the company’s image.

Avoiding that scenario is one good reason to hire a professional to produce your corporate videos.

DIY vs. Pro Video Production

I know, I know… when it comes to DIY vs. Pro video production, of course I’m going to advocate for hiring a pro.

After all, I’m a professional video producer.

But there are times when I’ll encourage businesses to produce DIY videos.

That said, if you own, work for, or represent a company or organization that’s well known, well-respected, and projects a good image, you need professional video help.

Clients often have tons of questions when it comes to going pro.

  • How much will it cost, and how much should I spend?
  • What do I get for that money?
  • What is the process?
  • Will a ‘big production’ eat into my already busy work days?

Let me answer those questions for you.

The Big Question: How Much Does it Cost?

The answer is $20,000… minimum.

Just kidding! Don’t panic. That’s just what everyone thinks video is going to cost.

Sure, there are times when video can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

There are all sort of factors for how to figure out video production cost.

The main factors in costing out a video production are:

  • How much time will the video take to produce?
  • What equipment is needed?
  • How many personnel will be required?

Can you have something produced for $500? Yes… but manage your expectations.

Chances are you won’t find many production companies willing to take on that project, but you can probably find someone on Craigslist who will do it, or maybe a student at your local college or community college.

There’s talent out there, but you may need to invest additional time and effort into finding it.

And while there are companies willing to produce a video for $1,000 – $3,000, if you can manage a budget between $4,000 – $8,000 you’re going to be much better off.

That kind of budget means they’ll be able to create a video that lives up to both your standards and theirs.

And if you can afford a budget of more than $10,000, you’ll have companies jumping to take on your project!

What’s in it For You?

How about well-trained professionals and all the benefits that come with them?

That’s the short answer.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the finer points:

  • Professional Equipment: While you probably have a nice HD video camera in your pocket (have you seen the specs on the iPhone 6!?), a video professional is going to bring an assortment of toys you likely don’t have on hand. A better camera, tripods, lights, and pro audio gear.
  • Professional Ability: Again, you have an HD camera in your smartphone, but do you know how to use it? I don’t mean being able to focus and hit record. I’m talking about whether you know how to light someone properly, compose a shot, and think about shooting with editing in mind. A professional is going to be doing all of these things and more.
  • Seasoned Storyteller: Video is one of the best storytelling mediums out there, and in many ways it’s different from “writing” a story. There are similar components, but being able to marry message with images is unique. The best video pros will know what to shoot, how to shoot it, how to get the most out of the people on-camera, and how to translate it all into a finished video.
  • Video Editing: This can be the trickiest thing for DIY video producers. Shooting seems easy compared to knowing how to edit. It’s not only the technical ability to use the software, it’s having a feel for and experience with timing… knowing where and when to make an edit.
  • Manager: Doing all of these things takes coordination. A good video production company will guide you through their production process and make it effortless for you.

What Is The Process?

Well, the process is going to vary.

Some companies will expect you to handle all of the logistics of setting-up interviews or a shoot schedule. Others will be willing to assist.

Some will want you to create a shot list or provide interview questions. Others will want to work on those things with you in some sort of pre-production meeting.

Some will give you complete creative control and allow multiple rounds of changes. Others will rein in creative control a little, and some will give you no creative control at all – you get what they give you.

Going into the project, you should know where along the spectrum your prospective production company stands on each of these topics. Make sure to ask about them as you’re vetting video producers.

You might also look for additional tips on how to pick a video company.

Bottom Line

Having said all of that, here’s what I hope your professional will give you: Time.

If you hire a good production company, they’re going to take over the project, which allows you to work on other things.

Having talked with our customers, I know one of the parts they loved most about our production process was that we pretty much take care of everything.

We ask our clients to help us coordinate shoot dates and to approve scripts and videos, but besides that they don’t have to do much. This leaves them free to be productive doing whatever it is they do best.

Not to mention, at the end of the process, they have a video that looks and sounds better than anything they could have done on their own.

And in many cases, it tells a more compelling story.

Is hiring a video production company “worth it?” I think you’ll find from both a quality and productivity stand-point it is.

Good luck!

About Tony Gnau


Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions, a video production company specializing in PR and marketing videos.

  • I’ve worked with professional videographers in the past – specifically, turning sort of long and rambling interviews into succinct and on-message videos – and man is it worth it for the right projects. In general, I just like working with people who make me look good.

  • Definitely agree w/you on the $4k-8k as ideal range for a good 60sec+ video. Video / film more than almost any other medium is where poor editing/production gets exposed and to be honest, I tell people they’re better off not doing it rather than doing it badly.

  • Fantastic points — it’s amazing how much raw video is needed for a finished product — and then there is everything else you mentioned (the editing expertise etc etc.)!

  • I think this trend of “the video doesn’t have to be professional or polished” isn’t always a good one. I mean, there are some unpolished videos that are effective, but there are also some that I’ve run across that are a real turn off.

    The investment, to me, in professional video in the right circumstances is money well spent.

  • Eleanor Pierce Making people look and sound good is a big part of the job! 🙂 I often find it’s easier for us to make edits too because we’re not as close to the material.
    –Tony Gnau

  • JoeCardillo Yeah… I tend to agree. There is a place for DIY, but a bad video can can have the complete opposite effect than originally intended one.
    –Tony Gnau

  • biggreenpen I’d say we typically shoot an hour’s worth of video for every 1-minute of a finished video. The cutting room floor does tend to get messy. 🙂
    –Tony Gnau

  • ClayMorgan I love hearing that! 🙂 You’re right though. An unpolished video for a polished company just doesn’t look right.
    –Tony Gnau

  • T60Productions

    Wow ginidietrich… “no better?” I’ll take that compliment any day of the week! 🙂 Thanks.

  • I miss video so much. I mean, I would never want to work in TV land again, but man, I really miss video. That’s why it’s so hard for me to watch most of it (because MOST of it’s bad, or filled with mistakes). There’s just so much that goes into a good edit – inflection, tone, continuity, making sure your cutaway *actually* works (nothing worse than bad lip flap) – and that’s *before* you get to editorial and context and story arc and… Sigh. I really miss video. 🙂

  • Doing video on the cheap often costs you more, in time and aggravation. If you hire someone who’s merely a “videographer” he might not have the judgment to save you from your worst instincts — including the storytelling savvy Tony speaks of. He also may not have good business sense — meeting deadlines, showing up on time, getting things right without a ton of hand holding.
    I’ve done it both ways, and if you can spring for professional work, it’s worth it. And I’m not just Tony’s friend … I’m a client!

  • T60Productions

    Thanks RobBiesenbach for the retweet!

  • T60Productions

    Thanks neicolec for the retweet!

  • T60Productions

    Thanks ROWebTalk for the tweet!

  • RobBiesenbach Thanks Rob!
    –Tony Gnau

  • belllindsay It just makes a good video stand out that much more! 🙂
    –Tony Gnau

  • ginidietrich

    T60Productions LOL

  • what a great post T60Productions dude I agree with your views on pro vs DIY. I also feel businesses have to be careful in the reverse. If something should be DIY but they choose Pro and come off as too slick it can have the same effect as a DIY clip that should be Pro. 

    I think of the Wedding Table Photos vs the photos of people dancing . You don’t want dancing photos looking staged and you don’t want the table photos looking DIY.

    I can’t not believe ginidietrich spent $20k on each of her Facebook Question of the week videos. Now I know why she owns an America’s Cup Yacht!

  • Howie Goldfarb T60Productions ginidietrich Hi Howie… sorry for my tardy reply here but I’ve been out of town.
    Anyway… I totally agree. If the point of a specific campaign is to be less polished, you don’t want a pro to give you something too slick.
    One thing I have suggested to clients in the past is to have non-pros shoot the video, but then have a pro edit. This provides the non-polished look, but the pro editing presents it in a more viewer-friendly way.
    Finally… when do I get to go sailing on the yacht!?
    –Tony Gnau

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  • CaseyJones1

    Thanks for the information on video production!  I agree that the professionals have a lot more equipment than us amateurs.  My company hired a business to make our video and they also told us to try some DIY videos for our youtube channel.  We are thinking about renting some audio visual equipment ourselves and seeing what we can do with some better gear.
    http://www.vidtechav.com

  • garybirtles14

    I like how this article brought up the idea of reputation. In my opinion nothing harms a reputation faster than low quality video production. If you are going to release any video to the public, it becomes a touch point for a customer to your business. That is a very important aspect to remember. If the video is low quality and unprofessional, your reputation could be harmed as a result. That is why a professional should handle the job. <a href=’http://www.troyboyjr.com/services.html’ >http://www.troyboyjr.com/services.html</a&gt;

  • JenniferStevens

    I liked the comparisons of diy versus professional services when it comes to video production.  I suppose that it might come down to cost as well as the needs of the client.   The last thing a business would probably want is to not have a video that sufficiently describes their company or services.   Luckily, there seem to be places out there that can help with things like that should help be needed.  http://Freshlevelpro.com

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  • EmilySmith3

    Tony, the company I work for has been thinking of sending making a company video. The last I heard we were going to do the video ourselves. After reading this I think it might be better if we hired a professional to do it. I will have to suggest that. 
    http://www.prxdigital.com/#!video/ciug

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