Director of Sales & Revenue, 15+ Years of Sales and Marketing Expertise, HubSpot Alumni
August 28th, 2019
A new study by Demand Metric shows that a majority of small to medium-sized businesses are using exclusively in-house resources to produce video content.
If you don’t have in-house resources yet, you’re likely thinking, “Is it worth the cost, or should I just outsource our video production?” Adding a new employee sounds like a big-budget line item that maybe you haven’t planned for, but at the same time, video production invoices can add up quickly. If you’re wondering whether you need to bite the bullet and hire your own videographer, this article will answer that question.
To get to the bottom of the subject, I’ve leaned on Zach Basner, director of inbound training and video strategy, and Alex Winter, creative director at IMPACT.
Zach helps companies hire and train in-house videographers, working with over 100 professionals around the country.
Alex is an award-winning video producer who heads up IMPACT’s video production team.
Although they each help IMPACT clients do very different things with video, their combined expertise brings unique and professional perspectives to the pros and cons of hiring in-house.
In this video, (which is summarized below) Zach talks about a few pros and cons to hiring in-house vs. using outsourced production.
Pros to hiring an in-house videographer:
Your staff will be more comfortable with an in-house videographer because this person will be a member of your team, which will lead to higher quality content because your subject matter experts will be more at ease.
They will produce content much more quickly because they will be familiar with the staff, style, and tone of your company. They will be able to make judgement calls an outsourced company won’t be able to make, like when to use humor or pathos. Here at IMPACT, our internal team can turn around a video in a day, whereas an outsourced production company will typically take much longer.
Because this in-house videographer is embedded in your business, they will know your business better than any outsourced production company. They’ll know the product or services — and value of each. They’ll know the buyer and why the buyer needs your product or service. Thus, when they set out to make content they will know what the content should look like, what topics should be covered, what should be shown, and how to build trust with buyers.
Cons to hiring an in-house videographer:
The process of hiring and training can take time; outsourced production can happen immediately.
You could make the wrong hire. It’s possible that person might not be a culture fit or have the skills and ability you thought they did.
Conflicting internal priorities can make it easy to get distracted from creating content that actually makes a difference. If your videographer isn’t producing the selling 7, your company won’t benefit from the efficacy of that content, and the investment in a videographer won’t be justified.
Whether hiring or outsourcing your video needs, it’s important to know the costs of video production and the skills that you should evaluate whether your experts will be in-house or not.
How much does video production cost?
The average salary for an in-house corporate videographer is about $50,000. To be effective with video content, you’ll want that person to produce three videos per week, which is roughly 150 videos per year. Thus, the cost per video for an in-house hire is about $350.
You’ll also have other upfront costs if you take your video production in-house, such as equipment and editing tools. Equipment can range anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 or more, depending on quality.
All-in costs for an in-house videographer will require an investment of $55,000-$60,000.
Outsourced video production will cost you between $1,000 per video on the low end — and up to $5,000 per video on the higher end, depending on the length of the video and production difficulty. This means that if you outsourced the same number of videos per year as above, your cost would be $150,000 at the bare minimum.
Skills to evaluate for in-house and outsourced videographers
No matter which you decide, you’ll want to be sure that whoever you hire is qualified, so let’s take a look at what you should look for whether you are insourcing or outsourcing video production.
In-house: think culture fit first
As referenced in this article, Zach notes that if you’re hiring someone in-house you’ll want the person who fills this position to be the visual storyteller of the company.
Because of this, they’re going to need to be a good culture fit and an excellent verbal and non verbal communicator. Why? Because they will have frequent contact with employees within the organization, and in certain scenarios, may have to give and receive feedback to develop the best video content.
Zach says, “Someone who is uncomfortable, overly introverted, or doesn’t jibe well with the culture just won’t” be effective.
Then, look for these skills (HINT: work experience is not always necessary)
It certainly helps if they have previous work experience, but it’s not always necessary. Many journalism, video production, and film school graduates have excellent demo reels or portfolios from their hands-on experience during school, internships, or seasonal on-set production work.
Ask them to show you examples of a project or work they’ve completed from start to finish so you can get a sense for the quality of their skills across the video production process.
For example, ask for storyboards, scripts, or concept processes of their work. Make sure they can operate a camera proficiently and ask what type of equipment they’ve used.
Again, don’t disqualify a candidate just because they haven’t worked in-house for another company. There are many candidates looking for work that have all the filming and production experience you need, even if they’re directly out of college.
Outsourced: which skills to evaluate
Any video production work that you outsource must be quality work. A production company should certainly have all of the basics of video production mastered, such as exposure, composition, and lighting, as these make all the difference when creating cinematic content.
According to Alex,
“You want to make sure the company has the tools, resources, and equipment that are going to offer the highest quality product. This applies to both audio and video. Every video is an important touchpoint with your audience, so keep in mind the perception you want to create.”
And don’t forget about audio. It’s often overlooked, and it can either add or subtract from the viewing experience. It’s often an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be.
While high production quality is important, the visuals are only half of the battle. Alex warns, “Be sure you find a partner who not only understands your sales, marketing, and customer experience goals, but who always understands the type of video content that will directly impact sales.” (We call these the selling 7). When a production company understands all of this, they’ll produce effective videos that move the sales needle.
Is it worth having your own in-house videographer?
Now to answer the question we’ve all been waiting for. In this article, we’ve evaluated both in-house video production and outsourced video production as viable options for your organization.
Zach says, “Once your company is ready to embrace video, particularly the selling 7, [insourcing your production is] worth it.”
“While outsourced content shouldn’t be ruled out completely, the tipping point for insourcing your video production is when your video content is going to be cost-effective and better for your brand over time. Producing 2-3 pieces of content per week internally is much cheaper and more manageable than outsourcing the same amount of content.”
Zach believes that the role of the in-house videographer will become as common as the role of sales manager in the next five years, if not sooner. “You wouldn’t think about not having a sales manager would you? So why would you overlook an in-house video resource?”
However, keep in mind there are valid reasons why you should outsource from time to time.
If you need help determining which option is best for you and your company based upon where you are in the digital marketing journey, we’re here to help. Click here to book time with an IMPACT video specialist for a free video marketing consultation.