Choosing the Best Studio (BIASED)
Are you currently deciding on a video studio to produce content for your company?
It can be a long and arduous process.
But if done right, you will have a partnership that will drive results for your bottom line for years to come.
A proper hiring process is essential unless you’re willing to risk a complete disaster.
Who you work with makes or breaks your production because the output is more important than the medium.
By that I mean, it’s, of course, better to have any video than no video, but a great video vs. an average video does have a real effect on the outcome.
So, you need to find that highest quality studio possible for your production at the very best price.
You need a proper strategy for finding the best studio.
This post will give you the best step by step strategy from our experience
The main things to focus on are
Do you like their past work?
When choosing a video production company, one of the critical questions to ask yourself is whose work was the best.
Do you like their past work?
Because their past work will be a good indicator of their future work.
The worst thing that could happen is investing so much time and effort into the production and realizing that their style of video is not a fit for what you want.
Having a good grasp on the style, you are after and finding a studio that can deliver that style is essential.
So, before anything else, create a spreadsheet.
For each of the studios, you find in your google research have five videos you like and five you don’t like.
Decide with your team which of the studios had the best portfolios, and a style that you think works best.
The next important question to ask yourself is…
Are you comfortable with their prices?
If their prices don’t fit your budget then it will be dead in the water, you’re wasting your time talking to them.
Before you even go out looking you should determine what the highest possible budget you can afford is.
Keep this number in mind when reviewing the production companies pricing.
You can have a video produced for $100 or $1,000,000; it all depends on your budget and requirements.
So, it is a good idea to start with a price in mind; there are so many companies out there that you are bound to find one that can provide the exact style you need at the price you want.
When answering the question of whether you like their style, compare their style to their quoted price.
This will help you figure out the golden question of quality vs. price.
We recommend having the highest budget possible to get the highest quality level possible, if people don’t like your work then it’s not going to work out well for you.
But the caveat is you need to be smart with budget allocation, only assign as much as you can afford at this stage, do not overreach.
The next question to ask yourself is…
Will you enjoy working with the people there?
When hiring anyone, whether it be an external provider or a new employee, it’s essential to consider whether you like them and their way of doing things.
If there is a complete culture conflict, then it’s unlikely the relationship will work for anyone involved.
Of course, it’s difficult to know whether you will work well together with someone before you engage.
Barring any red flag, anyone can seem great on a 10-minute call, but their habits and ethics may be utterly incompatible with your own.
For this reason, we always recommend starting with a smaller investment, committing to 1 video instead of many for example, and then if you work well together with a studio, you can continue the relationship forward.
You should be able to determine whether you will like working with the people there based on the testimonials, reviews, and the below review process.
Once you have built a spreadsheet with the applicable candidates who have passed the test based on the above questions, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Getting on a call with the finalists and asking them more in-depth questions.
This can take a week or a month, depending on the number of candidates you have and the time your team can devote to the review process.
Once you get on a call with each candidate ensure that you have prepared a list of salient questions.
We have listed some questions below as well as a short explanation of why these questions are essential to provide further guidance.
What’s your average production timeline look like?
(They should be able to give you exact deadlines for each stage of the process)
This question is essential especially if you have a deadline. It’s crucial to have well-set expectations before the process begins with a good understanding of the things which will affect this timeline such as revisions and waiting to get feedback.
Another important consideration is the fact that most studios will charge a fee for projects that need to be delivered within their determined timeline (for example we charge $500 extra for projects that need to be delivered within four weeks for premium projects and one week for explainer/whiteboard projects.
What is your revision policy?
(A lot of companies have an unlimited revision policy)
Projects that involve subjectivity such as any of the creative services (websites, graphics, videos) will undoubtedly include revisions. We all have a different idea of what works best, and on top of that ideas build upon one another so that each iteration often brings up plans for the next.
So, because of the necessity of revisions in most processes, it’s essential to ensure you ask the studio how many changes they offer in their package. A lot will provide unlimited revisions as do we for the premium custom animated video production package (premium package for short).
We find most projects only include an average of 2 sets of revisions at each stage, but some can consist of a lot more than that, so assume you will have to make at least two sets of changes at every step of the process.
What is your refund policy?
(If they don’t give you their exact refund policy and make up some stuff then they’re no good).
Every reputable studio will have a revisions policy unless they are some fly by the night production studio. Ensure that the studio you’re interviewing has a decent policy as you never know when you may need to use it, think of it as an insurance policy on your project.
A lot of studios offer 100% refunds which are excellent, although in most cases these companies don’t provide this for their custom packages, only the template videos taken from a library using pre-programmed animation so watch out for that.
What exactly is included in the package and what will I be charged extra for?
(Understand what you’re buying and what to expect as a deliverable)
You need to understand what kind of capabilities the studio brings to the table and what you get at the end of the day. Most packages should include script, storyboard, voice-over, animation, revisions, special music effects but most likely has some add-ons’. Be sure to check this before moving forward with your studio.
Could you tell me about your best and worst clients?
(We all have best and worse clients so if they act strange about this question maybe it’s because they’re the worst)
We all have bad experiences in business. So, you can tell a lot about the way someone does business through how they talk about their past positive and negative experiences. Watch out for value and belief conflicts in their answers as these may come in the way of your future relationship working out.
What software do you use to produce the content?
(Adobe is the golden standard)
There are thousands of animation software’s out there — all with different capabilities and levels of quality. A lot of them are free, and you will have inexperienced studios trying to sell you low quality work produced on such free software that is unlicensed and not meant to be used commercially. So be very careful with the answers you get to this question. The gold standard across all digital creative is Adobe software. So, if they answer Adobe, you’re good to go.
Are your graphics taken from a library or are they custom illustrated for our project?
(Get a straight answer on this one, the more custom, the better, stay away from preprogrammed graphics)
This is a crucial consideration. There are a few levels of customization when it comes to graphics:
1. You have pre-programmed graphics, which are drag and drop graphics in animation software’s which are already programmed to make precise movements these are the lowest quality of animation, and there is little or no customization involved.
2. Next, you have pre-made vector graphics which are editable but not designed individually for the project. Studios will take these graphics, edit them to suit the project, then add them into the storyboard ready for animation. These types of graphics involve more customization, but you are still limited in style. If there is something novel, you need in the video it will need to be designed from scratch.
3. Finally, you have vector graphics illustrated from scratch for your project. These fully customized projects are the most time consuming but always lead to the highest quality of work as these graphics have all been specifically designed for your project and can be edited as necessary.
These are just some of the key questions.
You should also send them some example videos around the same level of quality you’re after, so they can confirm they can achieve the level you need. This is the best way to ensure they can deliver what you need.
Create a spreadsheet and break down all the options by price.
From there review their content to ensure you like their past work.
Cut out all the nose and organize calls with the winners.
If you're interested in learning more about how a video marketing production strategy can impact your bottom line without spending exorbitant amounts of time and money check this out.
- Video Production – How to Create A Video That Converts
- Corporate Video – How to Decide Between Live and Animated
- Sales Video – The 5 Keys to A High Converting Video