In-House Video vs Video Production Agency: Which One is Best?

Savvy companies who know that video is a powerful tool in their marketing strategy have probably wondered whether they should use in-house resources, or outsource these vital projects to a professional video production agency. While you might expect us to say that an agency is always the best route, the truth is this. The right decision depends on your company’s resources, relative to your video marketing strategy.

There are no hard and fast rules for choosing the best option. The decision depends on several factors. Some, to name a few, are:

  • What are your video marketing needs?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What sort of equipment is needed?
  • Do your people have the right (and enough) experience?

Sometimes a specific video is better-suited for an agency to handle, while others can be easily achieved by an in-house team.

We’ve laid out some additional factors your company may want to consider when choosing between the two. And if at the end you’re still unsure, contact us and we’ll help you chart the best course of action for your video.

video production agency team

Evaluating Your Video Marketing Needs

What is your company’s current status regarding video? Are you just starting off? Do you already have some assets that just need to be tied together with a bow? Or have you reached the point where retaining a high-quality creative partner is the right answer? While these three different options don’t cover all possible solutions, they are the most common phases we see companies progress through as their marketing and communications video needs evolve.

Newbies – Starting off in video

Many companies begin their video strategy by creating easy run-of-the-mill productions. This might sound like something to avoid if you want to stand-out from the crowd, but experimenting with videos can clarify how the medium can work for your company before investing a lot of money. These can include short and simple social media clips and basic product explanation videos to name just two. These can likely be developed in-house and don’t necessarily justify the expertise and budget of a video production agency.

Once your company learns this lower-level and easier to create video format, you can decide whether transitioning towards a partnership with a professional video production agency is logical and affordable. What we’ve seen over the years is companies who are just starting out in video want to save their budget for higher-concept productions, and tackle the simpler, easier ones with either a small-scale in-house team, or freelancers.

Need only parts of your video outsourced?

Sometimes companies already have portions of their video completed and just need someone to mold it into the final product. This is when a company already has footage and needs someone to edit and make the production “sparkle and pop.” In this scenario, having someone on your in-house team that can edit footage can be a better fit than hiring a video agency. Some won’t accept “editing-only” projects without a large price tag to offset the limited scope of the work. So having a good video editor in-house, or a freelancer on-call, can be a money-saver.

Higher-level creative stories

Video production agencies are expert storytellers. They know how to take your idea and brand story; then turn it into engaging visual content that resonates with your audience. So if your company is wants to utilize creative flair in telling your story, an established, video production agency would be the avenue worth serious consideration.

These powerhouse videos come in a variety of different formats, including brand storytelling and messaging, episodic long form content, and customer testimonial videos, just to name a few. In all, there are 7 key types of videos to build your brand. Depending on your storytelling needs, an agency can make a remarkable impact in matching up your goals with the right type of brand messaging format.

Agencies are also well-versed in creating a variety of videos. Even if your company doesn’t want to invest in the “7 types,” knowing that your agency has this skill and expertise for when you want to leverage later, can be a powerful tool to have in your back pocket – when needed.

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Your Budget

One of the biggest factors that plays into your decision is of course, money. If your company is looking for a more budget-friendly option, keeping video in-house could be the best bet. We say could because you should balance the benefits and obligations of having in-house video department “employees.”

You must also weigh the cost of recruiting time and the employee replacement value relative to unanticipated churn (you hire someone only to have them leave, making your company start all over again at square one in the hiring phase). We’ve seen this happen for several reasons:

  • The employee/employer culture fit isn’t there
  • The employee finds a better opportunity
  • Or they leave in order to focus on their own creative endeavors

In some cases, the time and money invested in the hiring process might be better spent outsourcing your project to a video production agency.

At some point in their video strategy, a company often accepts the fact that an agency best suits their needs. From creative vision and pre-production, to the day of shooting, then post-production editing; companies discover they get more than their money’s worth when they retain an agency. Choosing a video production company gives you the best ROI once you reach the upper levels of production needs.

Investing in your video content from the beginning can even help you save money down the line. The old phrase “Buy nice or buy twice” certainly rings true when it comes to choosing a video production partner. Outsourcing to a professional agency can pay-off very big in the long run when compared to taking your project in-house if your team isn’t truly up to the task, or retaining a freelancer who may not measure up to every critical stage in the production process.

Industry and Company Knowledge

While an outside production agency can certainly get up-to-speed with a client company’s culture, they might not be as emotionally invested as an employee, depending on the level of dedication your agency shows. Sometimes an in-house team that has a direct emotional connection to your company’s mission creates a more genuine piece of content. And often, in-house videos have an unpolished or “raw” quality which can in fact add an air of genuine authenticity.

Conversely, high-quality video agencies are only as good as their last piece of work, so they will typically go the extra mile to immerse themselves in their client’s world. They’re constantly working on and improving their reel, so staying connected to their client’s world is of top importance. Where an employee might feel relatively secure in their job and do the bare minimum to get a video done, an agency that’s worth your time will go above and beyond — so do your homework and find a video production agency that will be dedicated to your project.

Even though your employees will typically be close to your company’s culture and values, they often fall short in the area of video industry knowledge. They can research industry best practices. But “keeping up with the trends” requires significant investment of time to attain the knowledge level parallel to that of a production firm which lives, eats, and breathes video every day.

video production agency skills knowledge

It’s a given that video production agencies are on the leading edge of industry trends. They know the best equipment, techniques, and editing styles to deliver a piece of visual content that accurately communicates a company’s brand and story. Video agencies also have years of experience and knowledge learning from their mistakes; something a newly-cobbled in-house agency or all-in-one free-lancer likely have yet to experience.

Knowing the pitfalls and mine fields at the start empowers professional video production houses to have contingency plans in place. And that saves your company lots of time and money.

Some simple examples of this production agency experience include:

  • Knowing to bring plenty of back up batteries and chargers on every shoot
  • Plan-ahead budgeting for when things run over schedule (like weather-affected shooting days)
  • Having all the proper permits, and plenty of insurance (which relieves you of such headaches)

A lot goes into a professionally produced video project. And that means a lot of things can go wrong.

Team Brainpower

In-house teams usually have fewer people than an agency, but they’re your employees. They’re probably good at creating one or two of (those 7 kinds of) videos. So if this is all your company is looking to create for now, it’s good for the time being. If, however, you discover that you’ve outgrown your limited in-house capability, it can be severely limit your communication or marketing potential.

And if your in-house team suffers from high turnover, you’re also trying to solve that pesky high replacement value represented by increased recruitment and training costs. That story we often hear. In fact, many of our trusted professionals started their careers someplace in-house.

Video production agencies come with a full array of not only equipment, but a team of professionals; all of whom are well-versed in a specific aspect of video production. Each is an expert in their specific field: the director knows exactly what kinds of shots are needed, and the general feel to capture for the final product. The sound personnel know how to get the most out of their microphones and software for crisp audio. The key grip knows how to properly set up all the gear: and on, and on, with every professional team member.

Agencies also have the necessary expertise to produce big, high-level, “broadcast-quality” videos. If that is your goal, they can deliver any element needed for your final product: the perfect script, location scouting; all logistics (including those you haven’t even thought of) post production, even the perfect music and announcer if you need one. There are so many aspects of creative storytelling. A professional video agency ensures your brand and message is conveyed accurately and will evoke the positive emotional response from your audience that you must have.

athletics mascot dancing in house team vs video production agency

Which One is Best for Your Company?

There’s no right or wrong answer when deciding between an in-house video team or hiring a professional agency. What works best varies from company to company and sometimes involves a mixture of both depending on the type of videos you’re looking to create and the capabilities you bring to the table.

If you need help deciding between the two (or maybe finding a perfect balance of the two), we’re happy to discuss your video needs. We’re known for working closely with our customers: from idea-inception through finished production to create a memorable product that drives your business to new, undiscovered heights.

Contact MarzMotion and see if a video agency would best suit your needs.

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