Have an appetite for producing video content?

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Every business has an appetite for creating video content. But investigating where to go to produce this video content can seem a little daunting. So we have put together a fun little comparison on the different places you can go to get something to eat and the similarities for producing video content.

Bear with me…

At the moment there is just so many options to have your video produced. Likewise, there are so many places you can go to get a meal. Of course there are expensive or cheap options, places with great customer service or DIY and then there are those places that you just trust the chef’s creativity to give you a great experience.

Ready to feed those hunger pains? Let’s see what’s on the menu….

The supermarket is the place to go when you are happy to make your own meal from home. There are plenty of options available like the simple heat-a-meal or a cookbook recipe you can make from scratch with a variety of ingredients. In video production terms, this is like going to your local camera store and ordering all the equipment you need to create your own videos. Great idea! The issue with doing it all yourself however, is that it’s not going to be as a high quality as somewhere you’d go out and have a nice meal. And you don’t necessarily have the skills and experience to produce content effectively. But it serves a purpose. It’s convenient, easy and cheap. But be careful going to a supermarket hungry, you always end up buying more than you need (I for one am guilty of buying way more equipment than I need when in a camera store).

There are many production companies popping up that treat video as a commodity, finding a quick and cheap way to produce content – much like a fast food outlet works. They’ve come up with systemised processes and a work force of, more or less, freelancers. Some companies do boast of they have a hundred staff, but basically it’s a cookie cutter approach to video production. This streamlined service allows you to book in easily and quickly online, which is much like the drive-through component of these fast food joints. You might get pleasant service, but essentially you’re having very little personal contact with the business. When you make a booking, a video producer will come out and film it, then edit a video for you quickly and cheaply.

Again, it’s a great business model for the owners of the business who can make great money on a percentage of every project but there is a lot of pressure going on behind the scenes with the crew that serve you, often for very low rates. Just be wary that the portfolio/menu item that you have ordered for a cheap rate will not necessarily deliver the same result that you see in those product photos (we’ve all seen those burger comparisons).

The other thing to be wary of, just like having too much fast food, is that your figure may not be as appealing. What I mean by this is that the more you produce cheaper, less professional video content, your image and brand are going to suffer.

Online ordering is where you don’t even have to speak to anyone in the production company – it’s a step back from the fast food joint where at least you are getting some face to face service. You simply place an order online and then soon after, your camera man will show up to film your video – not that you often get to choose who that person is. Essentially it’s a bidding war behind the scenes for the lowest hourly rate or first in gets the job. You don’t get to request who your delivery driver is going to be, the camera man. And there is always an expectation that this cameraman is also a producer. That’s like asking the driver “Is this pizza the half roast chook, half supreme with no anchovies?” to which the likely response from the driver will be “I dunno what’s in the box, I just got told to deliver it”.

Most larger companies now have their own in-house video guy or small video team as they discover the power and necessity of video for their communications. It makes sense, rather than outsource all their work to a production company for a higher fee, they can hire someone in-house on a wage to produce regular content. They might have a limited skill set compared to the production company but for standard communications, it serves a purpose. Of course with such a small team, you’re a bit restricted in how creative and how large a production can be. I guess you compare this to an in-house cafeteria where everything’s pre-prepared, it’s easy for you to just duck down, grab a coffee or your lunch. Everything is done and ready for you, easily accessible. There’s no frills there, you’re just getting easy, convenient, decent food. That’s ideally what your in-house video person will achieve. It boosts your video communications, multiples your video content and ultimately can save the company money.

This is your one-man band – the production freelancer. This person prefers to work solo for external contracts, so rather than have an in-house team, they’ll have a few clients that they can service.

They have the flexibility to move around if they need to. If they want to go down to the beach and set up their food van there, they’re going to be popular. Maybe working in the city or part of a bigger festival with other respectable food trucks – other solo crew members. You’re going to get good food – a great video.

But it’s restricted by how much they can produce, perhaps they may have an assistant helping them out. The issue with the one-man band is that they can sell out of stock fairly quickly i.e. the dates available in their calendar will fill up. So you may have to stand in line – book in well advance. They’ll also be juggling a heap of customers at the same time. Their priorities can be skewed a bit, essentially looking to make as many bucks as they can, taking orders left, right and centre. And when you are waiting for something as simple as grated cheese on your spud, you may get pushed to the side to wait for the busy period to be over.

Every town has a pub (maybe two, three or more) that serve great food with a friendly atmosphere. There are so many production guys like this in every town as well who have been around for years or decades with extensive television news experience, old fashioned corporate videos and the like. They are well known for delivering the same service and product at every job with a consistent and good quality result. As soon as you walk into a local pub you pretty much know what will be on the menu – your standard rump steaks and chicken parma’s, that sort of thing. Chances are the menu won’t be overly creative but it will be reliable. You will get nice visuals and they’re going to give you decent and friendly service. But they’re fairly straight down the line, you know what you’re going to get and they are unlikely to stretch themselves outside of their skillset. The cost is reasonable, some you might think you can’t justify why you’re spending that much on a big steak at a pub but often the reason for this comes down to name, experience and reputation.

This is where we place Visual Culture. This is your restaurant in town with a good reputation, a solid clientele, an interesting menu and a great team behind the scenes. We are now calling ourselves video production agencies. There is more on offer than your standard pub menu, a step up with a more creative menu offering.

But there is a misconception that you won’t get the same level of service and creativity as a large agency. Many businesses believe that video production companies only specialise in producing video content – they can’t produce creative concepts, can’t develop a solid video strategy or provide a distribution method. This simply isn’t the case. Just like a popular restaurant, the video production company can do it all and often have a capable team out in the kitchen working their magic.

Comparing this restaurant kitchen to a video production agency, you’ve got the head chef/creative director out in the back managing the creative team, all bringing their own unique skill set. These skill sets compliment one another perfectly, they work hard to be accountable, efficient and always strive for every plate to be perfect before it goes out to diners (just like sending out final videos). Yes, there is a unique system/recipe that is followed, which has been developed by the chef with many years experience. It may seem frantic to an observer, but it all comes together seamlessly. The diners in the restaurant will be unaware of this frantic pace, just impressed by the wonderful meal they have been served.

The restaurant itself has a pleasant atmosphere. Often you will see the same patrons coming back because they know and trust the team to deliver an exceptional meal. It’s the excellent customer service that you receive that is just as important as the meal itself. The team are always on hand to offer any assistance and advice, like choosing the best wine to match your main course or in video terms, the best place to distribute a video for maximum audience impact.

It’s going to be a meal that you’re going to remember. And yes, the menu does offer more than just your chicken parma’s and steaks. It also pushes the boundaries into more creativity and quality that you might only expect from say, a large ad agency. Fusion dishes, innovative cocktails, memorable desserts, it’s all here.

This place is not the cheapest option to be found but you do appreciate the value for the money.

This is the restaurant in town that is run by the celebrity chef, with lot’s of awards and a place that food lovers will do anything to get into. You may have to book months in advance and a thick wallet is very important. Unfortunately not everyone can go here due to those budget restrictions – it’s like big businesses working with big agencies.

There’s a perception that going to a big agency and spending large amounts of money equates to the perfect solution for your communications. You are putting faith into their creative process, based on your initial brief. You can tell them what you would like, but after you’ve handed over control of the brief, the agency will do things their way. They may even ignore some of your advice, delivering what they think is best – and it works.

You put your trust into the agency to deliver a great experience, even if you don’t understand what some of those items on the menu are. When each plate of food arrives, you may be curious about first appearances – like watching a new advertisement. The waiter will explain what the dish is (even though you still might not understand the terminology) but once you take that first bite there is that a-ha moment – this creative dish works.

And you are going to pay well for this experience, far more than you had imagined (but you had allowed for this in your annual budget). You see, you aren’t just paying for video content in an ad agency, your fees are going towards all the other departments and overheads. You can imagine sitting down and enjoying ten plates of their degustation menu – each plate is basically a different service the agency offers. You may not need all of those dishes, but they compliment each other just like the different services in an agency like video, design, web development, strategy – a full service campaign.

The other area your budget is going towards is the development of these amazing plates of food. It’s like a chef honing the perfect dish with weeks, months even years of testing a variety of techniques and ingredients. This is the same for ad agencies where they will spend a huge amount of time in market/audience testing, strategy and concept development. Before that plate of food has been given to you, there is a huge amount of work that has gone in to get it perfect.

And of course your budget is going towards the huge team in the kitchen, all with their own specific role. Compared to the video production company where there is a smaller team, the ad agency can stretch to over 100 people all going about their important roles. But get this – in the kitchen you may even spot the other guys like the food truck and the video production company crew hired in to help deliver the finished dishes. Some roles need to be outsourced, even though the agency still has an in-house team. So if you think about it, perhaps you could bypass the long waiting time, the hefty bill and go direct to the video production company for the same finished video product.

Obviously everyone would love to go to the big agency and get that really high end work and full campaign strategy but when it comes to video production and video content, formal restaurants are the best way to go for your business.

One final one (I could go on and on). The caterers are your TV networks. There is a huge audience being served 4-5 different hors d’oeuvre’s – these are your TV channels. They need to appeal to and satisfy the masses. Some plates of food will be gobbled up quickly (depicting high ratings) and then other dishes may be floating around for an extended period as the audience turns their noses i.e. switches the channel.

So there you have it, some fun comparisons on ways to get your videos produced. Over my 20 year career, I’ve played a role as many of the options listed above from the food truck guy, to working for large agencies and helping clients select the right equipment to do it themselves. Of course, if you are interested in finding out more about our restaurant err.. video production agency, please don’t hesitate contacting us for a booking/strategy session at [email protected] or 1300 174 773. We would love to welcome you.

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