Video Agency, Video Production Company, or Freelance Videographer: The Pros and Cons
You likely anticipate that this is a biased article. It isn’t. Frankly, it would belie us to write a biased article on this subject because:
- Many of our clients are agencies.
- Every member of our team was once a freelancer.
- The fact is, one size does not fit all.
When Is An Agency The Right Choice?
When you have a lot at stake, an agency is definitely the way to go. Today there are multiple types of agencies. It’s hard to know which does what and if any of them are the right fit for you. At its simplest form, an agency is a provider of a broad spectrum of services designed for those needing much more than just video production. Some possible services:
- Branding and Re-branding
- Consumer and Industry Research
- Creative and Content Development
- Marketing and Advertising
- Strategic Planning
The competition among agencies is beyond fierce. Each has to absolutely be the best at what they do. Equally important is that wow factor when you walk through their door. After all, if they can’t sell themselves to you, how can you beleive they can help sell you?
Providing this level of services to a client is hard work and costly. Agencies are expected to be on the cutting edge of trends, technology and analytics. That overhead must be passed on to the consumer. Again, it comes down to what you have at stake. If you simply need creative development, then go to your next choice, below.
When Is A Video Production Company the Right Choice?
In general, a video production company focuses purely on the production side of things. These can include:
- concept development
- creative development
- technical execution planning
Now pay attention to those last two. These were the two obsessions responsible for CrewAtlanta coming to be. While agencies obsess on image and research, our concentration is on one thing: Taking an idea and bringing it to fruition in its most spectacular form. We long to hear three small words from our clients…”You nailed it!”
Our focus and expertise is on the technical execution of production. It doesn’t take a commercial budget to get a commercial look, but it does take technically proficient people. And if those people are as passionate about what they do, then Bingo. You’ve got something very good going on.
Attracting and keeping the best caliber of production people requires honoring an acceptable pay scale. In that respect, hiring a production crew is no different than hiring any other service. There are mediocre service providers and there are 5 star service providers. You get what you pay for. But what seems off-putting to the non-industry consumer who calls us is the fact that we don’t offer hourly day rates. There are two reasons for this. First, we only work with broadcast-level production crew. The
broadcast industry established standard for hiring is based on a 10 hour day rate. Therefore, the second reason would be that if we didn’t adhere to industry set rules, then we wouldn’t attract industry-level crew.
A full service video production company simply can’t provide a quality videographer at a rock bottom rate. But it’s not just about the camera operator. It is about the equipment we supply as well. Like agencies, we are expected to be on the cutting edge of technology. Our clients often request a specific camera or light kit. If a client has existing video footage that they’re trying to match, then we definitely must use a similar model camera. This for us may mean renting a camera from one of our vendors. Rental of these cameras can cost twice as much as the day rate of the camera operator.
We simply want you, the consumer, to understand why professional agencies and video companies charge what they do. Still, there ARE times when even a video company is not the right choice. Ask yourself what is the end purpose, the end use of your production. And then decide…
When Is Hiring a Freelance Videographer The Right Choice?
We would be doing as a disservice if we were to slander freelance videographers. Each one of us here at CrewAtlanta has at one time in our careers been freelance. Further, we admit that there ARE times when a freelance videographer is the right choice.
- a wedding video
- private party
- audition tape
Essentially anything that you intend for personal use only and that you never intend to use as a professional representation, this is the right time to hire an independent videographer. These type of requests are expected to be budgeted low. Most consumers anticipate $100-$550. And in most cases there’s no reason to spend more. Before hiring, do your due diligence. Check online reviews, ask for video examples of their work.
A full service video production company simply can’t provide a quality videographer with professional equipment at such a low rate. As is true for any professional level company, the videographers are experienced and therefore command a higher rate. The equipment as well is of a higher level. This level of operator and equipment may be more than needed for personal use. but if you have any expectation that your project will be used to represent you or your business, then look beyond low budget. When it comes to hiring a videographer, you absolutely do get what you pay for.
But let’s be clear. When you hire a videographer directly, meaning you hire someone not affiliated with a company, you take a risk. The point of this article is to educate you on those risks so that if you do make that decision to hire an independent contractor, you know what you are getting into and you can weigh your options to make the right choice.