Hiring an agency for video: Why bother keeping it in-house?

While the title of this piece may seem like an extended sales pitch, we’ve often come up against this debate with potential clients, at major events or just in the pub on a Friday. Why go to an agency like us for a video when you could just as easily send along your own video specialist? Well, it’s a lot simpler than you may think.

Jacks of all trades, masters of none

Many companies employ a single person to take care of video – not least because it may not be a major part of their business plan. And they may be brilliant at what they do – but when you’re expecting this person to strike gold across every level of videography (be it planning, the creative process, directing, editing, lighting and so on), you’re probably asking too much.

The same can be said for larger teams of two to four experts; they may be individually qualified, but can you guarantee that this small part of a larger business can work well together and complement each other’s skills? Perhaps not. It’s not as simple as, say, photography, where there are fewer variables – it’s no less of a skill, of course, but there’s usually a shorter list of possible problems to come up against.

The expense of in-house

Even when it’s a direct target of a company, creating, building and continually growing a video team takes time and money, and in this business, time is also money. Pretty expensive. We think it’s absolutely worth it, naturally, but it’s a competitive industry.

This is especially true if you want to make changes fast. As you’ll undoubtedly know if you’ve ever played Theme Hospital when you just need a janitor but funds are low, you’ll end up with the one indifferent bloke available on your budget that’s currently without a job (and probably for good reason). Not that we think you’d get anyone as lazy as some of the staff on that game, of course, but you may not get exactly who you need.

Creative industries are understandably littered with personalities, and if this doesn’t complement your target – factoring in issues such as your own personal business plan and direction, first and foremost – then it could be an expensive life lesson. Agencies with a sole focus on creating this will put this at the very centre of their business needs; we only hire people we know will work well in teams and as part of the wider business, doing what they do well in the situations needed.

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Freelancing is an often-unpredictable landscape

While we appreciate the hard work and individual expertise that can be offered by the many talented freelancers the industry has to offer, there are plenty of simple reasons that freelancers can cause issues when you’re trying to work on a video project – especially when you’re up against it:

  • You may only be able to get a team together on very specific dates, with little or no flexibility due to busy schedules;
  • You have to coordinate them all into one plan, making for additional work in pre-production that would be standard fare for any dedicated video agency;
  • Freelancers by definition need to book as much work as possible, and if you find that best-laid plans go to waste (weather, tech faults, and so on), you might be out of luck – if they only say they can give you two days, that’s all you might get, and that’s fair.

And don’t forget the cost of equipment

A lot of companies that shoot video on a consistent basis have everything they need at their disposal, but often, if they’re trying new things, it may not be quite as simple as that. A lot of things can be done very well regardless, but to get that extra edge – and save the occasional disappointment (however small), it’s best to consider how you can save oney by going with a dedicated agency.

Consider it this way: you could have a job where you need an outdoor shot but you’ve only got indoor lighting, or it’s winter and you haven’t got the right equipment to keep the microphone from conveying the sound of a windswept hell on earth. You might consider just buying it, but why not rent it? Will it be used again? You might not know. With often decades of experience of what’s needed and what isn’t, agencies make these hard decisions for you. Their focus is on getting absolutely everything right, and at a cost you can agree too.

Naturally, we have quite a few more reasons as to why you should come to someone like us when you need a big video project sorting out. Why not get in touch, or pop in for a chat? We can respond to any specific query you like, and even tell you when you may be best placed to do it cost effectively yourself. Let us know – we’re always happy to lend a hand.

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