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When you’re embarking on a new project and need to hire a videographer then you may well be asking yourself whether you want to use the services of a freelancer or a videography company.
Both options have their merits but as technology has improved and prices for high quality equipment have plummeted freelancers are able to offer a wider range of services than ever before. This has revolutionized the videography industry that was once completely dominated by production companies and large studios. As the capabilities of the individual have increased the size of crews have shrunk which has brought down costs for clients and opened up new opportunities for freelancers.
However, there are still times when a production company is the better choice and they still have several advantages that the individual freelancer will struggle to displace.
Why Hire A Production Company?
Despite the gains made by the freelancing community, production companies still play a major role in the world of media.
- Greater Specialization: Production companies are, by definition, made up of many people. Any individual, no matter how talented, can only specialize and excel in so many things at once. A freelancer has to cover every base to complete a project whereas within the structure of a company there is a bigger spread of expertise within the individuals that make up the organization. A production company will have camera crews, editors and post processing experts who focus their entire efforts and careers in that field. With this kind of division of labor a company can provide a highly professional video that a freelancer may, in some cases, struggle to do.
- Larger companies can handle bigger projects: Larger teams can also handle bigger projects with ease and field multiple camera operators to a location at the drop of a hat! A single freelancer simply can’t be in two places at once and so if you need multiple camera operators for your project then a company is the better choice. This can also give you better peace of mind because if one of the camera operators falls ill, or is in a road traffic accident, the company can quickly replace them to make sure your contract is still fulfilled. A freelancer however, might not have the sufficient contacts to arrange a last minute replacement if the worst were to happen.
- Contract, insurance and legal matters: Contracts can be a real headache and if a freelancer is not up to speed with the law surrounding them you can find yourself in difficulties later. A production company will have established systems to deal with the contractual side of their operations and can usually handle this whole process for you. This also applies for any insurance that is required for the job – something which a freelancer may not be able to provide. A company will have everything insured to the highest standards so that if something were to go wrong you’ll be fully covered.
- Top of the Line Equipment: High end cameras, equipment and software can cost a fortune and in most cases a freelance videographer won’t be able to afford the very latest gear. A company is more likely to own the very best equipment so for more complex projects it can be a good choice to hire them. Superior equipment does not necessarily mean that the footage will be better but it always helps to be able to fall back on it. When you hire a production company you can be sure that they’ll be using the very best gear on the market.
- Narrative and storytelling: Most videographers are not natural storytellers and this can reflect in the narratives that they create in their work. When you hire a production company they have in house experts in crafting incredible narratives that will really help to put across what it is that you need. A production company can field camera operators, editors and specialized storytelling experts to ensure that your project is a success. These specialists in narrative can put together coherent campaigns that reach the right people on all the main social networks, including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. This kind of overarching understanding can make a huge difference, particularly if you are seeking to build a community around your business or pull in new interest on a huge scale to a specific product line.
- Creativity: An individual videography can sometimes find that their creativity waxes and wanes – which is only natural for any creator. When you work with a company there will always be people within their teams who are at the peak of their creativity from which other members of the company can feed. From the point of view of a client this means that you can be sure that your project will always have that elusive creative spark which can transform the footage into an unforgettable tour de force – something which a videographer can only sometimes achieve.
- Industry Trends: It’s extremely difficult for a videographer to balance their own workload with keeping up with the latest trends in the industry. Within a production company there are team members who are dedicated to staying on top of new developments in the industry so any project they take on will be at the cutting edge of culture. Videographers can sometimes find themselves producing outdated content which may not be appropriate or effective and consequently lose their impact as the industry and culture moves on.
Why Hire A Freelance Videographer?
Despite the benefits of hiring a production company there are many genres in which a lone wolf freelance videographer can deliver exactly what you need. For many businesses and individuals a videographer is the best fit and will deliver exactly what you need.
- Price and Value For Money: Freelance videographers have much lower overheads and can pass on these savings to you. Videographers tend to work from their homes and don’t have to pay for a separate business premises. This has a huge impact on their bottom line and allows them to offer the most competitive prices that they can – which is fantastic for their clients! This means that for any given project you are likely to get a much better price if you hire a videographer. This applies to any genre and is part of the reason why videographers have come to dominate huge sections of the industry. If you’re planning a wedding or trying to sell your property a videographer is more likely to be the best choice for you. Equally this applies to most ecommerce businesses that are seeking to promote their products in the online space. Prices within the freelance videographer industry do vary considerably however this gives you more flexibility and a good range of services. Remember that a cheaper price does not always represent a lower quality of product when you take factors such as overheads into account.
- Passion and Personal Drive: When you take on the services of a videographer one thing you can be sure about is that they are driven by a deep passion for their artform. It’s far from easy to set yourself up as a freelance videographer and they would have worked long hours and put their all into their business. This reflects in every project that they take on and you can be confident that when you employ them you’ll be getting a piece of that. They’re not a company with dozens of corporate clients and when they put their name to a video you know they’ve also put their heart into it.
- Flexibility. Videographers are extremely flexible – especially in the earlier stages of their careers. They are looking to build up their reputations and a secure client base and to do so they must be very versatile. This is great news if you are looking to hire a videographer for an unusual or small scale project which a larger production company might not be interested in. This applies to art house film projects, theatre productions and other events that requires fairly basic camera work and editing in the final phases. It also means that the videographer will be able to set the weekend aside to film your wedding or birthday party. They’ll put their all into your project and schedule you in whenever you need them to so if you need content created at the very last minute a freelancer is probably your best bet! For most businesses hours are the standard 9-5 however in the life of a videographer there are no set hours and they can put in all night shifts to get your project completed on time without charging you extra for it.
- Access A Professional Network: When you hire a videographer to get a job done sometimes they will also contact people in their professional network to get it completed. This negates the common myth that videographers are completely solitary creatures that do everything themselves. If your project requires a voice actor or models they will generally handle that for you – acting as the captain of a team on your behalf.
- Wide Range of Experience: The average videographer has worked on an extremely wide range of projects and learnt something from every one of them. This means that when they take on your project they are bringing a huge range of skills and technical know-how to the table; and given that their prices are relatively moderate you are bound to get superb value for money! Freelancers are highly adaptable and capable of taking on anything you can throw at them – something which many production companies are not willing to do.
- Personalized Service: When you take on a videographer you will get a 100% personalized service that no production company can compete with. If you have a good relationship with your videographer then your project is more likely to come out the way you wish it to and so the service is certainly of a higher standard than any company can provide. The videographer will be able to Skype or talk with you over the phone in person and get a good feel for the outcomes you’re looking for. A production company’s reception desk will probably shut at 5pm and stop answering calls whereas your average freelancing videographer is available 24 hours a day!
What Type of Project Are You Embarking On?
Whether you decide to hire a one man band videographer or go with a production company will depend on the type of project you are working on. If you’re putting together a TV commercial or setting out to make a full length film then a production company is undoubtedly the best option. However, if you’re a small to medium size business promoting your goods or services, looking to capture your wedding or selling a property, then a videographer is generally going to be the better choice.
Your budget is another major factor that will play a role in your decision making process; and when it comes to value for money you really can’t beat hiring a freelance videographer.
Videographers are Taking the Lead in the Modern World.
For most projects a videographer probably represents the best value for money and results for you. This applies whether you are a small to medium sized business or an individual looking for a one off contract.
New technologies mean that videographers can compete with the larger production companies and significantly under cut them while they do so – which is great news for you!
There are of course instances when a production company is the right choice however these occasions are becoming fewer by the day.
Have you hired a freelance videographer before?