A marketing director, we will call Judy, with a nonprofit we shall call Suffer No Fools, came to a crewing company upon recommendation. She was skittish. After they talked through her options and how one of our vetted crews would go about telling the nonprofit’s story, she softened. Finally, she revealed why she was skeptical.
As a nonprofit with a limited budget, they’d first hired a college student–a friend of a friend–who would produce a video for way less than anyone else she’d heard from. It was a simple job, she thought, and he could capture good-quality footage without a ton of equipment.
Unfortunately, Judy had fallen victim to the idea that a good camera (for which most people can look no further than their own phones) was enough to get the results she wanted. While they’d planned to have a simple but high-quality video at their fundraising gala that year, what they got was unusable. He filmed without a tripod (nausea all around!). He didn’t light his subjects (it would’ve taken a highly-skilled and expensive colorist to brighten the shot). And the composition of the shots was comparable to your Aunt Doris’s Facebook posts.
So they paid less than they would have if they’d hired a professional crew, but they couldn’t use anything they got. That “cheap” hire turned out to be quite expensive, after all.
This can happen in any marketing arena, but as the pandemic made safe on-set video production harder, videos were one of the first places to suffer. And while people were forgiving of lackluster production early on, we’re all suffering Zoom fatigue now, and polished production is as important as ever.
A Happy Ending
The next year, Judy made the case and set aside the funds to hire professionals. They’d missed a whole year of opportunity without a video that told the story, and this time, they wanted to do it right. If that’s where you’re at, know this: some in-person productions are resuming, and many crews are now offering remote crewing options.
It was an expensive lesson: We can’t afford not to hire the professionals.
A reputable crew will have examples for you to look at. Check out their website or ask for samples that are most relevant to the project you want to do or the story you want to tell. Make sure both parties know the plan for the exact deliverables, timeline, and budget. Put it all in a contract (it protects both parties!).
Never hire based on price alone or take a chance without seeing the crew’s work. It’s just too risky to gamble on.
Our team of professionals personally vets every crew before they make it on our database. That kind of peace of mind is priceless.