While I’m all for people grabbing a camera and whatever video editing software they can get their hands on and going for their best video productions, there’s something to be said for professionally produced videos. Professionals have learned the hard way – and are usually quick to share what they’ve learned. The fact of the matter is that there’s a lot of good reasons why you don’t need a professional to shoot and edit your video. But before you grab that camera of fire-up your laptop, here are 5 reasons to do a little research and consult some video professionals.
- Biting off more than you can chew: You’ve dreamed big. Too big. You’ve come up with an idea for an outdoor shoot at night, with a slow trip around a local landmark. Great! You don’t have lights, a steady cam or dolly? Time to consult a professional. There are ways to do the shoots on the cheap yourself, but it just may come out looking… well…cheap. A local production company may be willing to give you some ideas, as well as price out the cost for them to do it. In the end you might just find it’s better to pay to have the people with the right equipment do it, than to spend the time and money yourself creating a shot you can’t use.
- It’s got to look good: you’ve spent months, maybe even years
badgering, pushingconvincing your organization for months, maybe years, that video is the answer to a number of problems. You’ve even told them that you can do it yourself with your own camera and software – a real cost savings! Now that you’ve got the green light you’re not sure what to do next. Consult with professionals, on-line if not in person, before you start to shoot. This blog and this one are just two of the professionals you can find on-line willing to share their experience. Look around your area and see if there are any video networking groups that you can join, chances are that you’ll find at least one professional to answer your questions. Talking to a pro before you start to shoot can save production nightmares down the road.
- OOPS!: You’re feeling great about the video you shot, until you get back and start to edit. Maybe the color is wrong, or the focus, or the lighting, or the audio or…well let’s just say there’s a lot that can go wrong that you don’t catch while you’re in the field. Hit the internet my friend. I recommend visiting places like Creative Cow, where you can get tips from the pros. If you’ve networked with local production folks you might just find someone who will be willing to sit down with you and show you how to fix the problem. Or you discover that you don’t have the capabilities to fix the problem. Maybe you’ve even tried to re-shoot without any improvement. It’s time to call in a professional. It might cost you some money (and pride) but if you need the shot, and it has to be right, then call on someone who knows what to do.
- Just not professional enough: So your nephew – or your boss’s niece – is in film school and is looking for something to cut their teeth on. The price is right (free) so why not? They could the next Coppola or Scorsese, but they’re not there yet. If you need a video done in your place of work with the least amount of disruption possible, and needs to be delivered on time to a very difficult client, this budding director may not be the best choice. Talk to some local production companies, you may even be able to arrange for the legend-in-training to do an internship with the professionals (and a lower cost for you by helping to provide crew). Remember, one video might be great for a class project, and not so great for the boardroom.
- You just don’t know how: There’s no shame in not knowing everything. Maybe you’re the best darned widget person in the country, but just because you know all about those widgets doesn’t mean that you know all about video. And who says you should? Going to someone who lives and breathes video production has its advantages. Yes, it’s going to cost you, but you’ll have someone who (hopefully) knows what they’re doing to walk you through the process. In the end you’ll have learned something and gotten the kind of product you’re looking for with far fewer headaches.
Even if you don’t hire a professional production company to work on your video, you can learn a lot from the pros. It’s some of the “trade secrets” that can turn your project from just another video to your organization’s show piece.
One last thought. Remember, you get what you pay for. Uncle Bob maybe great at shooting and editing the kid’s birthday parties, but do you want the first wedding he shoots to be yours? He’d be more than happy to do it for free, but chances are the finished product will look like someone’s uncle did it for free.