Top Video Production Companies

The best video production agencies for your company can take a vision and execute with technical skill and creativity.
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The Types Of Videos A Production Studio Can Create To Grow Your Business

Onboarding

Onboarding videos can introduce new hires to a company and act as explainers of business policies and procedures. As we all know, long, drawn-out HR meetings can be stifling, but internal videos have the opportunity to improve company culture and actually impart important information to employees.

Video production agencies don’t just enhance your external communication with consumers -- they can also produce videos to benefit employees, too. The best video production companies can produce clear, entertaining onboarding videos to help new and existing employees become more acquainted with the company.

Demo

Demo videos -- or short clips that explain how something operates -- are one of the most helpful projects you can enlist a production company to produce, as 80 percent of consumers believe that they are helpful when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

The type of demo video that suits your business goals may vary, though. These projects can range from a short explainer video to an in-depth tutorial or how-to video. Consult with your video production agency to determine the type of video your demographic would prefer. And remember -- although they may seem short and simple, budget several weeks for a final cut to make sure you have a clear and concise end result.

Animation

Top video production companies have the team of experts and access to high-tech programs to design intricate custom animation, motion graphic and stop motion videos that will promote a product or boost brand awareness. You may notice that many of these playful videos are utilized on social media in particular -- a tactic that can boost engagement and shares drastically.

Animation and motion graphic videos are proven top 2018 video design trends for good reason, too. Utilizing them can advertise a service or product while simultaneously engaging audiences and improving click-through rates. In fact, 64 percent of consumers will complete a purchase after watching a branded social video.

Brand

A brand video is a longer-form video (think several minutes) that showcases an entire brand identity -- including core values, mission, history, products or services, and even employee and consumer testimonials, in certain circumstances.

The best video design agencies are able to create a high-quality video that encapsulates your brand and reaches more consumers that other marketing content. After all, 85 percent of Internet users in the United States watch video content online and 92 percent of viewers who watch videos on their mobile devices will share that content with other people. What’s more? 87 percent of online marketers utilize video content in their own strategies, with most saying it breeds the highest return on investment.

Commercial

Commercials are perhaps the most well-known project a great video production agency can create. The best production companies have in-house advertising experts and creative professionals who can concept the project, storyboard it out, and even help with casting, scouting locations, creating call sheets and more.

Plus, top companies have access to top equipment and editing services that will ensure your commercial looks polished and high-quality. The general cost to produce a video commercial with a one-day shoot and intimate crew can range between $500 and $5000, depending on the concept.

Questions to Ask A Top Video Production Agency Before You Hire Them

The Project

What type of video should we create?

The best video production companies have videography expertise that is grounded in digital marketing. Therefore, they know the trends to look out for, the types of videos that convey information on specific platforms, the ideal lengths, and the general messaging that is effective.

Although you should go into meetings with potential agencies with goals and some creative ideas in mind, ask the experts what type of video they believe will successfully achieve your objective and -- most importantly -- why they think that.  

  • How would you describe our brand?
  • What do you think of our visual identity so far?
  • What video would you suggest to reach our goal and why?
  • How will you define our demographic and pinpoint the most important messaging?
  • What trends do you think should we incorporate in our video and why?
     

Team Members

Who will be working on our video?

Unlike other creative agencies, video production companies don’t always use the same experts to create projects. Although key players such as producers, cameramen and video editors are likely full-time and in-house, various agencies often just have professional partnerships with freelance photographers, stylists, lighting experts and more.

This means that any time you set out to complete a video project -- even if it is with a company that you have already successfully collaborated with -- you need to confirm each and every person who will be working on your campaign.

  • Who will be working on this video?
  • What role will they have?
  • Is this team member full-time, part-time or freelance? Have you worked with them before?
  • What similar projects have they worked on and what was the outcome?
  • Does this person cost an extra fee on top of our general production costs?

Logistics

Who will run production on the day of the shoot?

Determining the many, many logistics of a video shoot is often forgotten when brands hire video production agencies. However, don’t assume that hiring a top agency will take care of every single item for a video shoot -- especially those shot on location.

Ask the questions below to find out exactly who will handle those important tiny details and discover exactly what they will need from your team throughout the project.

  • Do you have an in-house producer?
  • Will your producer work with our in-house producer or point of contact?
  • Who will send the call sheet?
  • Who will scout and secure locations (permits included)?
  • Who handles catering, transportation, props, music playlist, casting, and glam squads?
  • Who will be in charge of keeping the shoot on schedule?
  • What information or assistance will you need from us leading up to the shoot, during in, and post-production?

Prior Work

What similar video projects have your agency and team members worked on?

As with any professional agency, previous projects, success stories and failures will say a lot when determining if a video production company can help you realize your business goals or not.

Do your own research, then ask the following questions to gain a better understanding of where they find inspiration and how they design creative videos that are rooted in strategy.

  • What videos within our industry have you worked on and what was the result?
  • Have you created videos that achieved a similar business goal? What was the result?
  • Tell us about your most difficult shoot. What did you learn from it?
  • How would you describe your creative aesthetic?
  • What filmmakers, brands, or campaigns inspire you and why?
  • What video trends should we be paying attention to?

Cost

How much from start to finish will this video cost?

Unfortunately, the above question doesn’t always have a black and white answer. Many times, in photo and video shoots, unexpected delays occur, schedules run behind, and overtime charges kick in. Thus, you might not get a solid answer -- even from an excellent agency.

However, any reputable video production company will be able to give you an educated range that factors in reasonable overtime charges that may or may not occur and even help you budget for additional costs that their agency doesn’t cover, such as renting studio space.

  • What is the minimum this project will cost? The maximum?
  • What reasonable overtime charges should we factor in?
  • Do we need to budget for additional crew members, stylists, and hair and makeup artists, or does your cost include them?
  • Does this cost include catering, cost of location, styling and glam items, transportation and props?
  • Are there other costs that we should expect to incur throughout the production process?

How To Choose The Best Video Production Company

Type Of Video

Before you start searching for the perfect video producers to build your visual content, determine the goal your brand needs to reach and the type of video you think would do so. Research your industry, company type, and competitors to see the content that consumers are gravitating towards, then evaluate if that content might (or might not) work for your business, too.

However, stay open to an agency’s ideas throughout the pitch process. Top production companies have access to insightful programs, top tech, leading creative experts and likely know the overall industry better than you. The most important aspect is that a video achieves the business goal you set out to conquer.

Timeframe

The amount of time you have to actually determine a concept, shoot the video, and edit several versions will determine the video production agency you choose to partner with. Some agencies have faster turnarounds than others or may charge a hefty fee to expedite a project to meet your deadline.

It is also important to note that shorter schedules may eliminate interesting effects that you originally envisioned in your video. For example, a certain company may be able to get your finalized brand video back in time to publish on social, but it may not have as many custom animations as you wanted. The best way to avoid a give-and-take on your project would be to search for agencies much earlier than you think you need to.

Marketing Expertise

The best video production agencies also have digital marketing expertise. This knowledge helps them identity the types of videos that do best on various platforms, the lengths they should be, and what particular demographics relate to best.

Remember, you aren’t creating an artistic film -- you are promoting a business. Therefore, every idea -- even the creative ones -- need to be rooted in B2B or B2C objectives. Don’t just rely on an agency to have great shooting and editing skills -- an equal amount of strategy needs to be present.

The Crew

Many incredible video agencies have varying levels of full-time, part-time and freelance crew members, and these might not be the same every time they work produce a video. Before you sign a contract with a production company, ask who your point of contact will be throughout the project, who exactly will be working on your video, and in what capacity.

Bonus Tip: Even if you have collaborated with a video production company previously, ask all the same questions about crew members. They may not assign you the exact same team members, meaning you could oblige your brand to work with people whom you haven’t personally vetted yet.

Process

The process of actually producing and editing a video is extremely involved and time consuming, and while the top video production companies are familiar with their own process, take the time to make sure you are as well.

Determine how involved you need to be (or tell an agency how involved you want to be), learn how the videographers draw inspiration, discover who sources other professionals such as glam and styling squads, and find out who sends the call sheet! Then, document all of the information and costs in a signed contract. This will protect your business and the agency, resulting in a smooth video production process.

Top Value Propositions and Differentiating Factors of the Best Video Production Companies

Overview

The world we’re living in is driven by content. Brands can live or die based on their ability to produce interesting content. Interesting is the operative word, here. In a content landscape that becomes more saturated every single day, only the truly exceptional has a chance of standing out and getting noticed.

We also happen to be living in a moment where visual content, specifically, is more important than ever. We’ve all heard the dire predictions about decreasing attention spans. Social media has taught people to be accustomed to short-form content. People are less inclined to read, and more inclined to engage with video. But video content must also be high quality and engaging in order to capture audiences. Poorly produced or amateurish video looks unprofessional and reflects badly on the brands that produces it.

Because video production is such a highly specialized field, most brands choose to partner with an agency and a video production company on video projects. The right video production company will have the skills necessary to pull of everything from a simple explainer video to a Superbowl commercial. Below are some of the traits that set the best video production companies apart.

Top video production companies know good storytelling

High-quality video production is all about storytelling. Good storytelling is what helps audiences connect to the content they consume. The absence of good storytelling is what makes user attention quickly flag, resulting in video abandons. The best video production companies know that every video needs to tell a story, even if it’s a very simple one. Especially when the material in question is being developed for the purposes of branding, you want a production company that can effectively tell a story about your business. Examine the company’s portfolio of work closely to make sure storytelling is a skill they’ve developed.

Leading video production companies work with talented directors

Impressive video work comes out of collaboration with talented directors. Skilled directors have vision and expertise that allows them to bring complex ideas and concepts to the screen in compelling ways. Middling directors, on the other hand, will produce middling work. If you want your video project to be a success, look for a production company that has relationships with talented directors in the industry. Then look at the kind of work each director has done. Does it seem like it would align easily to your ideas for the project? Top video production companies will be proud to declare their relationships with directors. Steer clear of any company that’s ambiguous or mysterious about who they work with, as it’s likely indicative of uninspiring talent.

In addition to talented directors and creatives, make sure the company you end up partnering with puts an emphasis on client relationships. You should have an account director assigned to your business who will manage communication and be accountable for things like timeline and deliverables.

Effective video production companies are collaborative

Video production is a field that involves many different skills and disciplines. The director is there to oversee it all, but he or she doesn’t do everything. The biggest productions will involve writing, storyboarding, casting, location-scouting, lighting, video editing, and so on. In order to produce good work with so many cooks in the kitchen, video production companies need to have exceptional collaboration skills.

Not only must video companies facilitate collaboration among members of the production, they also have to be able to work closely with clients. High-end productions are expensive endeavors, and clients deserve to get what they pay for. This can only be achieved if all team members, both client and agency, are closely aligned to the project goals and desired outcomes. Understanding of the client’s branding, voice, and mentality are key to creating a successful video on their behalf. Always look for a video company that can act as a true collaborative partner.

Cutting edge video production companies win awards

Everyone likes to win awards -- and the reason is that awards indicate that someone has the respect and admiration of his or her peers and mentors. Video production companies that win awards have been recognized as leaders in the industry, and this fact should be reassuring to prospective clients. If anything it means the production company isn’t untested, and that they have been able to achieve a high level of work in the past, so will more than likely be able to do it again.

Exceptional video companies push boundaries

You know what they say: there’s no reward without risk. The best video production companies are capable of pushing boundaries and taking the creative risks that result in work that feels fresh and unique. You might think that no one can push boundaries when they’re producing a how-to video, a commercial, or a corporate video, but you’d be wrong. The best video content always does something new with the form. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but it should strive to be innovative. Look for video production partners who have a proven track record of thinking outside the box for their clients.

Service offerings of top video production companies

The best video partners offer a range of video production services. They should be able to accommodate video projects of all sizes, though be aware that most will have a minimum starting budget of at least $5,000 for a single project.

In addition to full-service custom start-to-finish video production, below are some of the most common service offerings you’ll find at top video companies:

●     Video Strategy - The first step is determining what needs to be said and to whom. A video strategy will identify target audience, key messaging, approach, and distribution plans.

●     Script-writing - Every production has a script. This is where the creatives determine the “plot”, so to speak, and hash out dialogue and voice over.

●     Storyboarding - An illustrated shot by shot sequence detailing each frame of the video. This is the video blueprint that aligns everyone to the final direction before shooting.

●     Voice over - Video production companies will hire voice over artists to narrate the video. The casting will be based on direction as agreed in the strategy phase of the project.

●     Animation - Top video production companies can also handle animations of all kinds. They have motion designers on staff equipped to handle animated video needs.

●     Distribution and promotion - Once the video has been shot and edited, it has to go somewhere. Many video production companies can help with the distribution and promotion side of things as well to help ensure clients get the most out of their video projects.

How the best video production companies market themselves

You can expect most video production companies to have a strong social media presence. They will invest particular time and attention in video channels like YouTube and Vimeo. These channels act as showcases for their work, and as easy places to sort and categorize videos by type or industry for peak browsability.

Showcasing video work on social media and on the company website is key for video companies, but they also have to invest in being discovered by prospective clients. They invest in paid search (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to increase their visibility in search engines for terms relevant to video production. Thought leadership and content marketing are also key, as they contribute to SEO efforts and help define the company as an authoritative voice in the industry.

Takeaways:

Content is king, as they say, and video is the king of content. As attention spans decrease and our society becomes an increasingly visually-driven one, video will become more and more important as a marketing tool.

Amateurish video, however, is not an option as it reflects badly on the brand that produces and promotes it. In order to produce the high-quality video content brands need to get noticed, a partnership with a top video production company is necessary.

To identify which video production companies are among the best in the business, look for these key differentiators.

●     Exceptional storytelling - Do the production company’s case studies demonstrate an ability to tell a clear and compelling story? Are they able to translate an ordinary concept or idea into something memorable and engaging?

●     Talented directors - Who are the directors the production company works with? Are they respected in the industry? Does their past work suggest that they are well-equipped to execute your project?

●     Collaborative - Is the production company capable of working in a collaborative fashion, not only within internal teams but when it comes to external (aka client) stakeholders as well?

●     Award-winning - Has the production company won any awards or honors for the video work they’ve done in the past?

●     Boundary-pushing - Can the production company push the boundaries of what is expected? Is their work innovative and fresh, or does it look like everything else that’s come before it? Do they suggest new and exciting ideas when they pitch for your business?

Top Qualities of the Best Video Production Companies

Accomplished Experts

The top video production companies should readily share highlight reels from past video projects. The agency should takes pains to demonstrate not only that they’re an industry leader, but that they have the skills in-house to make your specific project a success. Credible agencies will be happy to share information about awards and honors they’ve earned for their work, and will connect your company with past clients who can act as references if you require it.

Artistic Vision

The best video agencies have talented video experts on staff -- creative individuals who are dedicated to their craft. These employees contribute to creating a company that has a demonstrable artistic perspective. This is important because you want to work with an agency that can do more than simply point and shoot. Ideally, you should be looking for a team that will be able to provide true artistic direction and valuable recommendations that will improve the overall quality of the project. 

Clear Expectations

The best video production companies will set clear expectations about the video production process. Nothing should be left to chance, and the client should know where they stand at all times. Look for an agency that is upfront about their process, including nitty-gritty details like lighting and equipment. They shouldn’t shy away from budgeting out the project once the client’s needs and objectives are made clear, and they should be able to provide a reasonable expectation on when the video will be complete. Also look for agencies who are willing to work around key milestones and deliverables so that you are given the opportunity to weigh in at different points during the process. The agency should always be clear in their communication with the brand representative and manage the entire project with as much transparency as possible.

Goals-Focused

The best video production company will take the time to understand exactly what the objective of your video campaign is, create a strategy to ensure that objective will be met. From script writing to storyboarding, filming, and post-production, agency experts ensure everything runs smoothly and that each of the brand’s key requirements is met.

Strategic Direction

When it comes to crafting a compelling video for your brand, top video production companies will take the time to outline a strategy that will dictate the video process. The strategy phase is necessary because it helps ensure that everything is accounted for before you move into the costly production phase where mistakes will result in lost time and wasted money. A good strategy will outline all the key aspects of video design, including tone, language, visual aesthetics, length, as well as detail all the resource that must be provided by the client. 

Top Qualities of the Best Video Production Companies

Goals-Focused

The best video production company will take the time to understand exactly what the objective of your video campaign is, create a strategy to ensure that objective will be met. From script writing to storyboarding, filming, and post-production, agency experts ensure everything runs smoothly and that each of the brand’s key requirements is met.

Strategic Direction

When it comes to crafting a compelling video for your brand, top video production companies will take the time to outline a strategy that will dictate the video process. The strategy phase is necessary because it helps ensure that everything is accounted for before you move into the costly production phase where mistakes will result in lost time and wasted money. A good strategy will outline all the key aspects of video design, including tone, language, visual aesthetics, length, as well as detail all the resource that must be provided by the client. 

Clear Expectations

The best video production companies will set clear expectations about the video production process. Nothing should be left to chance, and the client should know where they stand at all times. Look for an agency that is upfront about their process, including nitty-gritty details like lighting and equipment. They shouldn’t shy away from budgeting out the project once the client’s needs and objectives are made clear, and they should be able to provide a reasonable expectation on when the video will be complete. Also look for agencies who are willing to work around key milestones and deliverables so that you are given the opportunity to weigh in at different points during the process. The agency should always be clear in their communication with the brand representative and manage the entire project with as much transparency as possible.

Artistic Vision

The best video agencies have talented video experts on staff -- creative individuals who are dedicated to their craft. These employees contribute to creating a company that has a demonstrable artistic perspective. This is important because you want to work with an agency that can do more than simply point and shoot. Ideally, you should be looking for a team that will be able to provide true artistic direction and valuable recommendations that will improve the overall quality of the project. 

Accomplished Experts

The top video production companies should readily share highlight reels from past video projects. The agency should takes pains to demonstrate not only that they’re an industry leader, but that they have the skills in-house to make your specific project a success. Credible agencies will be happy to share information about awards and honors they’ve earned for their work, and will connect your company with past clients who can act as references if you require it.