Austin, TX is a booming American city. Companies are moving in, startups are rising, competition is growing and the city’s need for video marketing content is ever expanding. Austin is also, and always has been, a creative city. It’s a place for musicians, artists and filmmakers. Such that there are a lot of options when it comes to video production companies in Austin. Maybe too many. So we’re here to help. When choosing a video production company for your corporate video marketing ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. Is this a quality company?
For most companies, you aren’t necessarily looking for the fanciest video marketing company in town but you at least want to know you’re in a real professional’s hands, which isn't always the case in Austin. A quick session of internet searches can answer a lot of questions about whether a video production company is right for your corporate video project. Here’s a quick guide:
-If you are looking for a video production company via a Google search like “Austin TX video production company” then any company you see on the first 2-3 pages are probably a pretty high quality video marketing company. SEO isn’t everything and some great production companies don’t bother with it but it’s definitely a good sign and when doing blind Google searches we’re trying to minimize risk as much as possible. The reason good SEO could be significant is that is in order to come up reasonably high on searches some or all of the following have to be true; the production company has been around for a while (and it's probably still around), their site is being linked to from other legitimate sites and they are a video marketing company that understands how digital marketing works. Again, none of these traits are absolutely necessary for them to make your company a high quality corporate video but they’re a positive sign.
-If you are looking at a specific production company do a quick search by the company name and see what comes up. If there are any reviews or mentions of the video company in any articles that could be really helpful. Remember, bad reviews aren’t necessarily a deal breaker. Often times clients aren’t always fair so try to be objective when reading a bad review.
-Do some social media searches. A corporate video marketing company isn’t always going to be active on social media but if they are it's a good indicator if legitimacy and you can glean some things about their company culture.
-Check out their site. There aren’t storefronts in the video production business. A website is what represents a video production company. A company that doesn’t put a lot of thought and care into their site might not put a lot of thought and care into their video production.
2. What does their work look like?
Once on a video marketing company’s site what does their body of work look like? Do they have examples similar to what you’re looking to do? Do their videos have a certain look? Do their videos have a fun Austin vibe, if that’s what you’re looking for? How is the storytelling in their videos? Do they know how to shoot an interview well? Is any of the work on their site recent? Keep in mind that the videos you see on their site are probably as good as their video production gets so take the videos they choose for their site pretty seriously.
3. Are they too small? Or too *big*?
Check out the staffing information on their site. Do they have a big staff? Most video production companies in Austin range from 1-4 full time employees and that’s really it. Why is that? Because in the very competitive video production marketplace in order to keep prices down it’s hard to have a big staff on the payroll and make videos at a reasonable price. Also look at their location. Does it seem to be in an office or a studio? Again, office space means overhead and a lot of overhead could mean an overpriced video project. Consider that most Austin video production companies don’t have a full time office or studio. Working with a production company with an expansive studio may be okay for some people who don’t mind spending top dollar on their video marketing but most businesses want to save money where ever they can. What you don’t want is a production company that is too big. You don’t want to pay $10000 for a video that could have cost $5000 from a high quality video production company because you’re paying for their overhead, which probably doesn't include anything that really impacts your project one way or another. And what you also certainly don’t want is a “videographer”, particularly a freelance videographer. When you hear videographer -- think wedding videos. Austin, TX specifically has a great deal of these freelancer types with the local University of Texas at Austin’s film program in town. You want someone who knows storytelling, understands a corporate video project’s needs; who isn’t just going to show up on shoot day and simply point and shoot. And you want them to focus on your project full time. So here’s my word of advice. For most corporate videos you want a team of 1-2 full staffed professionals who don’t work out of an office to make your video. That’s the sweet spot.
4. Do they have interest in my project?
When you contact the video production company gauge their interest in your project. Are they asking a lot of questions about your project? Are they suggesting any ideas for it? Are they asking about budget without really understanding what your video marketing is hoping to achieve? Are they more concerned with selling themselves than learning about the project? You’re not really going to get inspired work if you don’t have a video production company that has some kind of passion for your project. And if they’re not really showing that they care about your project upfront don’t expect passion later. Austin, TX is full of passionate creative video production companies that would love to do your project.
5. Do I get a good feeling from them?
At the end of the day we want to work with people we like. When you talk with a video production company do you get the sense they are people you’d enjoy working with? Things like price and experience are important but I think you’re going to find you get the most out of relationships that click. And if you work with a video production company you like you'll find that you won't regret it.
Michael Mason is the owner of Perfect Chaos Films, an Austin TX video production company specializing in corporate videos and corporate documentaries.