When looking for a new video production company for your video or animation project, a quick search brings up so many studio names and possibilities – after a while, websites and portfolios can all look a bit the same.
Here is a guide to help you ask the right questions to any potential video studio and a few to ask yourself -to help you find the right company for your video content. Some of these questions you may find on the video company website, and some will come out after a quick discovery call.
What kinds of videos do you specialise in?
Most professional video production companies will have a richer experience in one industry or another or have greater skills in one area—for example, an animation company specialising in charity video or explainer video production. Or they may have strong 3D skills or VFX across a variety of industries. If your work aligns with these strengths, then it’s more likely to be a better fit.
What is the video production process like?
A video production company should have a solid methodology, whether for filmed video or animation video productions. They should be able to talk you through the steps. We work in a very collaborative manner, for example. Our steps are generally script, written treatment and art direction, style frames, illustrated storyboard, and animation and post production. For filmed videos, it’s a fairly similar process – script or questionnaire development, art direction, style frames, filming, and edit and post-production. Other companies will have different steps, so this will help you compare and contrast.
What is a typical timeline?
A video studio can tell you the average duration for a given video project – even a rough guide of weeks will let you know if your creative ideas or deadline are realistic. This can vary from company to company and for different video styles and production standards, too. The main factors that affect time are the duration of the video and the quality, and if filming, how many shoot days.
A more basic level short (30 or less) animated video will be quicker than a live-action film shoot. A longer (2 mins plus) heavily illustrated animated video will be quite labour-intensive, and therefore take longer to complete, And a 3D animation or a multi-shoot video could likely take the longest.
How involved will I be in the video production process?
Some video companies, for speed, have little or no client involvement; this may suit you if you’re in a rush. It should be obvious from their website or initial communications that speed if the priority. But, others will involve you at every stage for approvals and feedback. So this question will help find out their working style and whether it fits in with what you expect. For us, we have a number of video production steps, and the client has input at each of these stages – clear communication is integral to us to help everyone stay on the same page and manage expectations.
How do you handle revisions or changes during the production process?
Most companies will have a set amount of revisions they allow within the cost. And they can explain what that is. Anyone offering unlimited revisions, is a bit of a red flag for me personally, this type of project can lose direction and focus leaving everyone unsatisfied at the end. And it can really drift from the original scope.
Generally with a proper methodology in place, alongside an awareness of your marketing strategy as a whole and the purpose of the video, revisions are handled more early on and the video is hyper-focused on your goals.
How long have you been in business?
This question is not a black-or-white answer. Someone in business for 30 years might be great, but they could be old-fashioned in their approach. Someone in business for two years may have a wealth of experience at other studios or agencies. But it’ll give you some more background information about them, and get a feel for your preference.
What other companies like us have you worked with?
Sometimes, a video company will have bundles of experience with similar companies and organisations in your industry – they are well-versed in what works for your market, making the decision easier. If they don’t, that’s not an automatic write-off. If you like their style and the people, they will often adapt well to your project.
Can you share some recent video work?
Most video production companies will have some work on their website and social media channels. However, there may be more recent/varied projects they can share with you privately if you have a specific style or industry in mind.
Do you do social versions?
Most organisations and companies aren’t yet at a vertical first approach to their video content, although some are! You may still need a horizontal video for meetings or your website if you get a lot of desktop traffic – or if you rely heavily on LinkedIn marketing.
Video companies with experience in social media content often adjust the video afterwards to fit a vertical aspect ratio or square and move graphics around so that it looks and feels native to each platform. This may cost a little more but is generally worth it to make the video work hard. Being the correct size will increase engagement over a horizontal video posted on Instagram or Facebook, for example. You can read our post about aspect ratios for best engagement for social media video production here.
How long should my video be?
Any video production company can help you with this; the answer is based on their experience, the message of the video, and the target audience and platform. In any case, video marketing online should be as concise as possible and not tell too many different stories. Generally, we aim for anything between 30s and 2 mins runtime. 90s can be a great target for an explainer video, while social videos can be anywhere from 15s to about 1 min.
What can you do with my budget?
Being frank about the video production budget early on lets everyone know early on what’s achievable and what isn’t possible. When you enquire, tell them straight away so that no one is spending time making beautiful lengthy proposals and ideas that just aren’t realistic. There are usually different quality levels and approaches a creative video company can work to, so they may be able to help you even if you don’t think it’s a high budget. They will be able to show you samples to, so everyone has realistic expectations of quality.
Questions to ask yourself
When reviewing a few companies, it’s good to ask yourself some key questions as well
Do you like their work and video portfolio?
Review their portfolio carefully. Do you like the design styles? Can you absorb the message easily? Are you ever bored? They may have very varied video content, or it is uniquely one style.
Do you like the people?
At the end of the day, if you like the people, then that will make the job much smoother and find a partner you can work it more than once. No need to source suppliers every time and you can trust them to deliver. It’s even better if, on a discovery call, you speak to the person you’re likely to have contact with during a project.
In smaller, more specialist companies, you’ll often chat with the actual creative team, whereas with a larger company, you’ll work with someone like a business development manager. They both have upsides and downsides.
Are they promising a lot for little money?
This can be a red flag if one quote is coming in a lot cheaper than the others. Prices will vary due to location, equipment, and experience. For example, American video production companies are generally more expensive than the UK. But if you compare similar companies and one is way cheaper, they might be promising too much, so scrutinise. If one company is also offering it much quicker than others, you should also delve into that more and ask why? It could be due to stock templates or other factors that bring the quality level down.
Questions a video production company should ask you
When starting the initial conversations about a new video project, hopefully, during the discovery phase the video production company will also ask you quite a few questions so that you’re all on the same page regarding the brief and the task at hand.
What’s the purpose of the video?
Understanding the video’s intended purpose helps tailor their approach, ensuring alignment with your objectives.
What do you want people to do after they’ve watched the video?
Knowing what you want viewers to do after watching the video helps craft compelling content that drives desired outcomes.
What is your deadline?
Communicating your timeline expectations and preferred video duration allows the company to schedule the production plan effectively.
Who is the audience?
Insight into your target audience helps to tailor the video’s content, the story and visual look, to resonate with their preferences and interests.
What other materials will this run alongside?
Understanding how the video will integrate with other promotional materials and platforms ensures seamless alignment across your marketing strategy.
What platforms will the video be shown on?
The choice of platform guides the video length, and aspect ratio and more to ensure maximum engagement.
So here are all the vital questions to ask when selecting a video production company and streamlining your video project process. Answering these questions makes sure the video aligns closely with your brand, and your ideas and suits the platform and purpose. Creating a video that is more likely to achieve your goals and achieve a higher ROI. If any video company misses any of these questions, on the discovery call, or further into the production process is not a good sign, and this could result in more amends down the line which take longer and throw everyone off. It may also result in unexpected budget increases.
Taking the time to procure carefully at the start of the relationship with a new video production company will make your life easier in the future. When you have another video project, as there usually is, you know exactly who to turn to, and you can trust them to deliver.
If you have a video production in mind, get in touch to have a quick call and you can ask us some of these questions.