You’ve probably heard this one before, but video production is the future of how we, or more importantly, your customers, are going to consume much of their content. What once was limited to set times, specific genres, and predetermined stories projecting from a small tube in the center of our living rooms, has evolved into an interactive, social, viral, creative, and unscripted visual mess that is at some times brilliant and at other times bizarre. Video content is being consumed in incremental snippets, marathon sessions, on a plane, on the toilet, in line for the bank machine, when stuck in traffic and everywhere in between.
Never before has there been so much access to recording devices that we can, and often do, use to capture every aspect of our lives in infinite detail. With this ease of access, and the affordability of basic camera equipment, we are drowning in content; however, overwhelming quantity does not result in increased quality. Though we are in the middle of a revolution in the way we capture and consume our media, we’re also faced with wading through the muck to find the pearls.
It’s just that dilemma that is the subject of this article. We all know that video content is going to become a larger part of the way you reach your clients, but do we all know just why you need to use specialists to do so, instead of some kid with a camera? Coming from a guy who has done his time as a “kid with a camera” to gain all the experience I now have, below are some of the battle-tested reasons why you’re always better off with a professional.
1) Vision – Can’t see the forest for the trees
The word ‘vision’ is tossed around a lot when it pertains to Hollywood film directors, but it also applies to video content creators of any capacity. This may seem like a pretentious claim, but it’s true; vision is necessary when it comes to adapting a feature, product, or service that YOU know inside and out, into something that your customers will understand. It takes vision to build that visual language – to take a conceptual idea and create a visual metaphor that translates into something understandable for your clientele. This is more than a kid with a camera asking you to talk about how your feature works. This is where clarity of vision comes in.
2) Story – Once Upon a Time…
Storytelling isn’t just something you do with your kids when your trying to get them to sleep, or when ‘explaining’ how much you even lift to your friends. It’s the principle behind creating fully realized, unique video content. If the request is to film your corporate event, a kid with a camera will just do that, set up, hit record, and capture. You’ll get precisely what you asked for – but did you get what you needed? A production specialist would have asked you before hand, what the event was about, who it would be geared towards, what topics would be discussed, and who your intended audience is, and after all that, they would devise the best way to capture the story that they now know you are trying to tell. The ability to craft a narrative isn’t just knowing what to film, but also knowing what to show in the frame, understanding the pace you want with the edit, or the mood you want to achieve with the colour correction and music.
3) Experience – This ain’t my first rodeo
While it is something you gain with age, professional experience is an invaluable asset in any content producer. The ‘been there, done that’ sixth sense that only comes from having overcame everything in Murphy’s lawbook actually going wrong, is what turns a content producer into a warrior of the production battlefield. It’s also the knowledge that helps stem confidence, something that might not occur to an overzealous and eager to earn kid with a camera – their desire to ‘get the job’ no matter what, might blind them to potential issues and production disaster’s that an experienced team of content producers would not only be able to overcome, but hopefully predict ahead of time and circumvent the issue in its entirety.
4) Technical Skills – Do I feel lucky?… Well, Do you PUNK?
Part and parcel with experience comes a set of hard skills earned by ‘being around before computers’ and working with film, it results in a technical proficiency with multiple mediums, devices, and formats. Your service, or product isn’t run of the mill, not off the shelf or common in any capacity, so why should your production be the same? “One camera to rule them all” is not a mantra that should be upheld, and a kid with a single camera or skill set will need to force your project to conform to their existing prerequisite, while professionals with technical experience can devise a solution, method, and execution that is custom to any and every situation. “We want to shoot in a moving car…” Sure thing. “We were thinking this could be under water…” Of course it can. “I want to live broadcast on these 5 screens simultaneously…” Same orientation, or mixed? Never let your production be hampered in it’s creativity due to a lack of technical proficiency in your content producers.
5) Process – This one goes here, THAT one goes there, got it?
Process. It’s not as sexy a term as many others mentioned here, but it’s one of the most important. It’s the culmination of all of the above that any professional content creator should possess, and that’s an effective working process. This is the ability that keeps your quote on target, your deadlines met, and your expectations exceeded. This is the skill that suggests storyboards and shot lists, so precious time isn’t wasted on set. It tests distribution channels ahead of time, so you actually go live when you plan to, and knows that you sometimes need more than one person to manage a project from inception to completion. Developing a strong working process is a skill that only comes with experience and technical skill, with vision and planning, and it's something that you should demand from your content creators.
Bring it on home
This isn’t to say that everything needs to be a multi-department, 100 person operation – quite the opposite – with the advancements in equipment and technology, never before have you been able to get such incredible results from a dedicated, organized, experienced, and creative set of individuals. When looking for a content creator, it’s these 5 reasons that should guide you in your decision. Of course some kid with a camera can potentially capture what you want, for whatever little you want it for, but a content creation professional will not only get you what you want, but also what you need. You wouldn’t trust your health to an infomercial host, you wouldn’t want your house built by a hobbyist wood worker, and you wouldn’t want your car built by a guy who’s played with Lego once, so why would want your content created by some kid with a camera or computer, when you can have the real thing?