You’ve got an idea. You know that video is the way to bring that idea to life. You jump over to the Google machine and type in “San Francisco Bay Area Video Production Companies.” Yikes! There’s a lot of us! We hope you drop Atomic Productions a line and choose to work with us, but there are many great people out there.
Here are a handful (literally) of things to consider when picking a video production company:
1) Examples of work – Production quality is paramount. If there is something that is exactly what you are looking for on the Bay Area video production company’s reel, then that’s great. However, it’s unlikely that portfolio examples will be exactly what you’re looking for, so ask for examples in the same general area and try to see how the company executed those productions. Look for characteristics that could match the type of production you have in mind.
2) Stability – How long has the video production company been in business? Do you get the impression that they are going to be around for years to come? It is a bummer if you need to revise your production or call to request new file exports and nobody answers the phone, or they don’t have a copy of your project anymore. Working with an established company also means that your media assets will be accessible down the road. Inquire about what sort of archive processes are in place. Companies that put media on hard drives and then place those hard drives on shelves could find themselves in hot water if those drives don’t spin up. There are many archive platforms, so it’s a good idea to learn which archive system the company is employing and for how long they will keep your assets archived.
3) Equipment + Facility – Does the company own its own camera or lighting equipment? Do they own their edit hardware and software, or are they going out of house? Do they have a shooting space? Do they have edit suites that can accommodate clients? Video production companies that need to rent cameras and lighting gear or take projects to post-production houses will generally be forced to charge more than those who can keep production elements in-house. An in-facility shooting space can also keep costs down as the company doesn’t need to rent off-site studio space. Studio rentals start at a half-day (4-5 hour) rate, and some will only do a full-day rate. So working with a company with a studio means that they can perform quick shoots that only take an hour or two and not have to pay the minimum rental. Edit suites that can accommodate clients can also speed up the editing process. Generally, a post house can communicate with the client by sending out proofs for review and then work out edits via email or phone calls. But there is no replacement for sitting with the editor in the suite and hashing out changes in person. It’s vastly more efficient in the long run and can help keep edit costs down.
4) Capabilities (multiple edit suites, staff editors, producers, motion graphic artists, editing, on-staff 2D & 3D animators) – Does the production company have to go out of house to create motion or 3D graphics or color correction? Hiring outside companies boosts up costs. A production company that can have multiple people work on the same production simultaneously will help keep projects on track and completed on time.
5) Collaboration – Ideally, you want to have a production house that will work with you to convey the right message for your product. This includes help with the creative, budget, and production timeline. A good production house will adjust a project’s creative concept to fit your budget without compromising quality. If a budget seems too low or too high, be sure to question what you are getting for your money. Is this price all-inclusive? What if I have changes? Does this budget allow for changes? Lastly, if you have a budget in mind, share this with the production company. This will help you, and the production house put together a creative package that fits your budget.