Get the best out of your video production company
Everyone is saying that video is the future.
You convince the boss that you should spend some money making a great video to show your customers who you are and what you do.
And the video you get is rubbish.
We constantly hear how clients have been frustrated working with their video production company. That they haven’t got the video they wanted, they had great plans and hopes and what they ended up with was damp squib that looked like everyone else’s video and didn’t do anything new or hit the key points required in an interesting way.
Here are a five tricks to help make sure this doesn’t happen to your next video.
1. A nice tight brief
David Ogilvy, advertising legend, said “Give me the freedom of a tight brief.” (Creative brief not small underwear.)
Giving your production company a really clear outline of what you want, what you don’t want, tone of voice and so on means that they then know what your key points are. They aren’t going to go down the wrong creative rabbit hole if they know what they should be aiming for in the first place.
But writing a great tight brief is a skill. The internet is full of tutorials, maybe practice writing a few too. A good agency should be able to help you with this.
2. Ask the chef
I am terrible at choosing what to eat in a restaurant. I want it all and have terrible FOMO in case my wife ‘wins’ the food choice game. I have recently taken to asking the waiting staff if there is anything the chef would recommend.
Now, I’m quite an old fashioned bloke and this is dangerously close to asking for directions. As a younger man I would have balked at the idea. ‘Admit I don’t know something! NEVER!!!!’ But more recently I have realised that this has the benefit of making me look like someone who is open minded and adventurous. It makes the staff feel like I trust them, flatters the chef so they feel the needs to put more effort in, often means I get better service, and almost always means I win the food game!
Once you have your tight brief you should ask your video production company if they were given free reign to let their hair down while on target for the brief, what might that look like?
Most restaurants and production teams are faced with clients who want to play it safe. Their creativity is boxed in so safe, predictable sometimes boring food/videos can be the outcome. Give them permission to bring something new. Sometimes the chef knows best!
3. What’s in your wallet?
As an old fashioned Englishman I hate talking about money. If someone asks how much money I want to spend I say “As little as possible” before collapsing in a hilarious wheezing fit at my droll repost.
Don’t do that.
I have fallen foul of this numerous times. Clients have refused to tell me their budget so I have made assumptions and given them an earth shaking idea which will revolutionise their brand only to be told that the concept would exceed their budget by ten times or conversely suggested a modest production for a smaller budget only to be told that it isn’t adventurous enough and that they had expected to spend ten times the amount.
If you tell the production company what you want to spend they then have the liberty to come up with the most creative possible concept for the budget you have and they can then squeeze all the possible creative into every bit of that budget.
If you only have £10K budget don’t be afraid to tell them that. If you have £100K then tell them that, they will then be able to tailor their response to your brief more accurately.
Remember, with video you get what you pay for. It is then the production companies responsibility to ensure they stay within that budget and make great video to fit you.
I loved rugby when I was at school. I was terrible. But I loved it. I remember once playing full back (a position I was particularly terrible at) when the ball tumbled towards me. I eventually managed to pick it up and hoof it as far up the pitch as I could. I watched as the ball landed in the middle of the other half of the field, proud that I had done my part.
My understanding of rugby was such that I thought I had done my part. Far from it. The entire team started screaming that I needed to chase the ball down. By the time my laboured brain kicked in the opposition had the ball and we were on our way to being a try down.
Stay engaged with the process. Think carefully about each round of feedback. Keep in mind your brief and goals. Why are you doing this? Is the project still on target? Can you hone the creative to the brief any further at this stage without having to go backwards? What can you say to encourage the team?
Kick the ball and run.
5. In the closet
What’s the best camera? The one in your hand.
Video geeks like me LOVE talking about the best camera and why. We’ll watch reviews, look at the raw footage and discuss pipelines and processes.
The truth is you can have fantastic 4K cinema cameras but if you don’t have it when you need it is no use at all.
Similarly the video that comes out of the camera is entirely useless if you haven’t thought about the dissemination techniques you will use to show it. Celebrities, helicopter shots, explosions, fluffy kittens…all useless if no one sees them. How do you plan to get the word out? Can you tie it into another release, a campaign, some other kind of push? Can you get the team or the whole company to share it on their social media? And their family and friends? Is it good enough for that? Remember if it is a pants video (not tight brief!) then people won’t want to share it. Plan for dissemination from the beginning. Again, some agencies will help you with this.
Don’t leave your video in the closet.
6. And one for luck…have fun!
Life is too short to work with horrid people. Half of your waking life is spent at work. And it’s video! This should be fun!
Andrew Maclean is a Producer at LIQUONA; a full service video production company helping clients from brief to brand, dissection to dissemination.