In our series about making the most of an in-house video studio investment, we wrote about the team it takes to create effective video projects, how to think about a repeatable video production process, and how to create best-in-class video. But, how do you know when it’s the right time to hire an outside video production team?

This is a question we have been asked many times. You may think we are biased since we are an outside agency that helps in-house teams with their video production. I promise you that our answer is not to simply say that you always need outsourced professionals. I think it is about the consideration of these four elements:

  • Priority/importance
  • Skill set
  • Capacity
  • Budget


Outsource video based on priority and importance

There is a good argument to be made for hiring a video production team to support video projects that are a high priority or are very important to the company. These videos include projects like high-level company and brand videos, homepage videos, and product launch videos. These are the videos that showcase elevated messaging and will often have a longer shelf life.

I am not claiming that the in-house team does not have the capability to produce highly visible videos, but rather, that having a team of people with a broader perspective may help to create a video that can have more impact. Collaborating with a different group of people, from outside the organization, could prevent this video from falling under the spell of the echo chamber. This broader group can offer ideas from other projects they have developed and can be innovative about bringing your unique voice to life. For a video that is meant to have a large external impact and a long lifespan, we recommend working with an outside team so that the vision can be realized thoughtfully and with the benefit of an outside perspective.

Outsource video based on skill set

There are times when your internal team has an idea to create a video that deviates from your typical branded style and requires a unique skill set. Perhaps the subject matter is complex and the writing team requires a producer who can create a story arc that emotionally moves the audience to act. Perhaps you’re looking to create exterior footage of the building and are looking to hire a licensed drone operator with professional equipment. Perhaps you want to do something that shows more movement and requires a steadicam operator and gear. Or perhaps you need some complex motion graphics and your internal team is not equipped to create them. There are myriad experts in the video production world and using them to augment your internal team might be necessary so that your branded style evolves.

Beyond hiring a single producer, drone or steadicam operator, or designer, also consider using an external video production company when your internal team is looking to strategize and evaluate the right approach to a video. It may be easy to define an objective but not the strategy and creative ideas to accomplish the goal. A strategic video production company can concept the video, coordinate all the production details, film, and edit. And they will be responsible for bringing in any specialists required to produce the video including everything from talent, designers, writers and editors.

Outsource video based on capacity

Capacity is the age-old challenge with in-house studios. As soon as a studio is built, the company will want to start creating video. Team members from all areas of the business will want to create video to support their products, business unit, or HR recruitment efforts, and you can find yourself with a very long queue of videos to create.

As discussed in a previous post, developing a style guide and parameters for your videos is key to creating some efficiency that will allow you to reduce time fulfilling these requests. Even still, demand for projects can pile up and often they have varying importance levels and varying business objectives, making it difficult to navigate how best to allocate time to each one and triage them in order of importance. You always have to consider the opportunity cost of doing one video over another one and those decisions can be challenging to make.

Having an outside partner alleviate some of these videos can be a game changer. Consider, for example, if many of these videos in the queue are just beginning the pre-production process. Perhaps hire a partner who can meet with the appropriate business partners and map out the messaging and pre-production needs of many videos all at once. Or, perhaps the queue is getting backed up because you don’t have time to film all the subject matter experts required to create these videos. Hire a crew for two days and schedule the studio with back-to-back filming sessions to capture all the needed interviews while the rest of the internal team works on other projects in the queue. Or perhaps the project back-up is happening in the post-production stage. A skilled team can help alleviate editing work by organizing footage, editing just a voice cut or rough cut or completing the entire video, if needed.

You do not have to think about a video production company only as a soup-to-nuts alternative. Many external video production teams can work with you to support your specific requirements.

Outsource video based on budget

Producing high-quality video can be expensive. However, it does not always have to be and many external video production partners can work with budgets of all sizes. But, assuming your company has the budget to create a video, then hiring an outside agency is a great idea. Again, they can be imaginative in designing ways to tell your story and can add perspective and polish in ways that your internal team may not have considered.

If you don’t have a budget then your options are limited, but all is not lost. Remember, you may be able to hire a single expert to help assist with just an aspect of the production but not the whole of it.

Companies always ask, “how much is video to produce”?. My typical response is, “it depends”. The complexity in the pre-production, production, and post-production phases determines the overall budget. I think of those three elements as levers and we can tilt one lever toward the smaller side of the budget and tilt one toward another side until we find the budget balance that works.

There are likely other reasons to outsource to a video production firm, but the times to really consider it are when you have a high priority video, a specific skill that is required, limited capacity, or a budget that supports the external help. There are many benefits to collaborating with an outside partner and in many instances they can help drive originality and sophistication in ways different from the internal team.

Thank you for reading. Want to discuss how to make the most of your in-house video studio or when to know the right time to outsource to a video production company? Contact us or email us at jcosco – at – tippingpointlabs dot com.