Do a web search for “best video production company Boston” or “top video production company Boston” (our hometown is Boston) and you’ll quickly see that more than a few agencies claim the title. But “best” is a subjective assessment that companies often tout with little evidence, because “being best” is generally impossible to prove, beyond certain quantitative metrics like “largest studio, most years of experience, award-winning team,” and so on.
A better question for clients is “how do I find the right video production company for my project?” There are many good production companies out there, each excelling in certain types of video projects, and each working best under certain conditions.
Some video production companies focus on corporate event video production, while other video production companies partner with creative agencies to produce regional and national TV spots. Some video production companies have large internal teams and a detailed workflow, while other production houses are relatively small and nimble, scaling to meet the specific needs of projects.
Our Boston video production company aims to work with the right clients on the right projects for our team. When deciding whether to take on a video production project, we ask ourselves “are we a good match for this project, for this client?” Clients should ask the same sorts of questions when considering which video production company to engage.
If you need to hire out to produce video content, and you want to hire the best video production company for your project, here are some items to consider:
Do you click?
Is there good chemistry? These relationships work best when the video production companies are partners, not just vendors. If you like each other, you’ll likely work well together too. This is not a guarantee, of course, but if you don’t like each other, it almost certainly is not going to work.
“Clicking” also means that the partnership is a good cultural fit - that the partners understand each other, share values and approaches, and can operate in sync with minimal friction. A buttoned-up video production house might not be the best match for a music video project, and an edgy (or super casual) video crew might not be who you want directing the CEO of a multinational corporation.
Keep in mind, though, that initial impressions can be misleading, and it’s both unwise and unfair to make assumptions about a team based on superficial qualities. Well-experienced, professional video crews can often code switch as needed to fit the occasion. (Over the years our team has filmed music videos, trekked through the jungle for shots, and worked with plenty of C-suite executives - albeit not always with the same personnel in our crew.) Just beware of potentially awkward situations, and be clear about expectations for the crew’s conduct and demeanor.
Does the video production company have experience making the sort of video that you want to produce?
The answer doesn’t necessarily have to be “yes.” Everyone has to start somewhere, and an enthusiastic video production partner who wants to take on a new challenge with your project could provide terrific energy and work ethic in lieu of experience.
But experience certainly matters, especially when there are certain risks involved. For example, if you need to produce a video capturing a once-in-a-life time public event, work with a partner who has experience dealing with the stress and uncertainty of event videography. If you need to produce a video in potentially rough outdoor conditions, don’t hire a team that has only worked in the studio. The outcome of your project and the safety of those involved could depend on the videographers’ level of experience.
What’s your budget?
Have this conversation from the outset. Video productions can be done on the cheap (within reason); they can also be very pricey, and anywhere in between. It all depends on the needs of the client in terms of deliverables, workflow, speed, and logistics. You can produce a good customer case study video for $5,000 under certain conditions; at other times a rate of $20,000 for the same sort of video is more realistic. A single-camera interview with a local interviewee developed into a 60-second talking head video is going to cost a lot less than a 3-minute video created from a multi-day shoot with interviews, action b roll, and drone footage.
We have found that it is best to discuss budget ranges for different options rather than landing on a specific number at the beginning of the conversation. The cost of a video project usually comes down to which trade-offs we can agree to in order to meet the goals of the project while staying within budget. This is why we generally send prospective clients our current rates before our initial meeting.
When everyone is upfront about budget expectations and the cost implications of different approaches, it’s a win all around. And if the numbers aren’t going to work, it’s best to learn this early on, and save everyone’s time and energy.
An important warning: beware of video production estimates that seem too good to be true. In most markets, there are standard rates that crews expect to be paid, standard rental costs for professional equipment, and standard project management fees. Reputable production houses price out their projects based on those numbers. If you receive an estimate with a significantly lower price than the going market rate, this means that the production house is either a) underpaying their crew, b) hiring substandard workers and/or using substandard equipment, or c) desperate for work and not paying themselves enough, which means they might not be in business for long, and could be cutting corners in others areas that will affect the outcome of your project.
Does the video production company have time for you?
A great video production company isn’t so great if they aren’t there when you need them, or if you are treated like an afterthought between their larger, “real” projects. Be clear about your timeline and ask the video production company for a rough timeline with milestones. We always ask prospective clients, “when does this video need to go live?”
When you have answers to these questions, you will have a better sense of whether or not the video production company is the right fit, the “best video production company” for you. Good luck!