Video Essentials

SXSW ’14: Should Companies Create Videos In-House or Outsource?

It’s one of the first questions any company getting into online video needs to answer: Does it make sense to put together an in-house video team or would outsourcing that work be a better idea?

GreatResultsTackling that question was René Lego, senior video production manager for SolarWinds, and Andy Garibay, video producer of SolarWinds, speaking during the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

Both methods have their pros and cons, the pair said.

Outsourcing Pros

  • High-quality video production
  • Access to professional actors and voice-over artists
  • Access to the latest equipment
  • It frees up the in-house staff
  • A strong choice for brand campaigns or commercials

Outsourcing Cons

  • Lack of agility, since it takes more time to make changes
  • Not good for timely or spontaneous work, such as videos playing off a trending story
  • Limited quantity, since you only get the number of videos you pay for
  • The producers will be less knowledgeable about your brand, products, and customers
  • Expensive

In-house Pros

  • Flexible
  • Spontaneous
  • Can work anytime
  • Can create any number of videos
  • Basic equipment costs are minimal
  • Strong familiarity with the brand, products, and customers; the department is integrated with other in-house teams
  • Able to create a variety of video styles

In-house Cons

  • Studio and editing costs can get expensive
  • Need to train people in-house or hire experienced video creators
  • Quality limitations (depending on the equipment and staff)
  • Hiring non-professionals results in lower-quality videos
  • May have a less polished look
  • Extra time and equipment needed for high-quality results

For smaller companies with limited budgets, one way to lower costs is by hiring someone just out of college and have that person wear many hats. Asking that person to produce one video per week is a reasonable expectation, they said.

If Lego and Garibay sounded a little gun-shy about outsourcing video, it was because they recently worked with an outside firm that simply didn’t get their company or the needed tone. What was supposed to be a simple hands-off job for the in-house team became heavily hands-on, and the pair ended up scrapping most of the outside company’s work. Lego admitted that she’s never worked with an outside video producer where the results were positive. When working with an outside company, spend time upfront making sure they understand the company and its brands.


Discussion

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  1. Companies outsource video production to our firm all of the time and swear they love the results. Like any other business, video production companies vary greatly in focus and capabilities.

    One major factor to consider when selecting a video production firm is to understand the firm’s focus and how that may or may not mesh with your needs. We’re focused on understanding the communications, marketing and organizational goals of our customers so we can craft compelling stories to help them reach their goals. Other firms may be more focused simply on video production equipment and have zero focus on the message (that’s not uncommon).

    Some companies may be satisfied with technically low quality video production or be unaware of how off-the-mark videos don’t dovetail into and extend communications strategies. Frankly, too many companies make video for video’s sake and don’t think about how it can fit into and boost broader communications strategies.

    One last thing to be aware of is that the quality of your communications represents your brand. If a low quality video represents a company just fine, that’s great, and it can certainly be a fine fit in some situations, but that’s not the case most often.

    One last thought: like so many other things, planning goes a long way and in the end you get what you pay for, and planning can cut down on those costs significantly.

    Posted by Corey Petree | March 17, 2014, 4:13 pm
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