Today, anyone with a camera phone and a Youtube account can make videos, and that created a highly visual culture. It's increasingly important that your company develop a video strategy as a core part of your marketing efforts, and that means negotiating a favorable video production contract that delivers a quality product at an acceptable price. A video production contract contains three areas that need special attention.
Content CreationThe examination of your contract starts with the content creation schedule. In the past it was common for companies to make a "one off" video that would be used for years before it was updated due to the cost of production. This approach doesn't work today. If you commit to making videos a part of your marketing strategy, you need consistent updates on a predictable schedule. Constant updates convey a message of innovation, while keeping your company top of mind.
Pre-ProductionPre-production is an umbrella term that covers everything that goes into the planning of a video, before the first shot. The right video production team is a partner who will guide you through the pre-production process, rather than leaving you to find solutions on your own. The important points of discussion in the pre-production section of your contract include:
- Video Concept: Who is responsible for coming up with the concept for the video, and how involved is the production team in defining or refining the concept? A production company that actively contributes to the creative direction of the video will save you money and many headaches by setting the video on a feasible course from the very beginning.
- Equipment and Crew: Mistakes made with equipment and crew can cost your company a fortune. The contract should be structured in such such a way that the production team has the freedom to hire or rent whatever is necessary for the shoot, but only with your approval.
- Timetable: You don't want the project to languish in pre-production purgatory, so there needs to be a firm timetable of preparation, shooting days, post production and delivery of the final product.
Post-ProductionWhere a lot of companies struggle with their videos is in post-production. Here is where the producer polishes the rough cuts of the video and creates the final product that your customers will see. Key areas of post-production that need to be considered in your contract include:
- Sound Engineering: The thing that separates professionally made videos from amateur films is the sound quality. Removing ambient sounds, filtering unwanted noise and balancing sound levels are an art form that require an experienced touch. There will also most likely be some form of sound design or music needed for your video, and the contract should reflect that appropriately.
- Video Editing: For a five minute video it's likely the production team shot hours of footage, and it's the job of the picture editor to put the best takes and shots together to form a coherent narrative. This is one area of production process where you don't want to cut corners, so ask the production team about how they handle final edits before signing a video production contract.
- Final Approval: Look at the language involving the final approval of your video. How long do you have to review the product? What happens if you request revisions? Protect your interests and make sure you don't get stuck with a video you hate or can't use.
A video production contract establishes the parameters for the production of your video, and it needs as much thought and consideration as the video itself. Take your time with the contract, and know that any company that tries to rush you into accepting terms without careful consideration isn't worth hiring.