Like most professional video producers, I made a lot of my early income in the wedding industry.  At the time, I was in college, studying media and video production at Kent State and had some formal training under my belt, aside from my years of (extremely) amateur filmmaking.  Even in those early days, I remember losing potential customers due to budget, which was really surprising because I thought I was dirt cheap…and I was.  But money is almost always at the top of a deterrent list when it comes to purchasing products and services.  We all know that.  More often than not, the bride-to-be or maybe the parents would say, “my sister’s kid does video stuff,” or “my nephew has a camera and a computer and will probably do it for free.”  That started a long series of inside jokes for me and my video crews over the years.  Someone’s nephew was stealing all of our business!

The reality is, like many professions, to those on the outside, video is an enigma.  Almost every one of us carries around a considerably powerful video camera in our pocket at all times, and we can even do color correction, basic editing and pretty cool effects there on that little handheld device.  How hard can producing a professional video be?  Heck, your nephew can probably do it!

When companies, organizations, agencies and the like are looking for professional video services, there are often unrealistic expectations right off the bat.  And that’s not to fault anyone, it’s only to say there’s a good deal of unknown factors to those who haven’t been involved in a production before.  Some believe they can get an epic video produced for under $1,000, like my early days in wedding videography.  Or, they think if it’s a 2-minute video it probably takes no more than double that time to create it.  We don’t know what we don’t know.  So when my team and I do a discovery round and give the client all the details, and there’s a stark contrast between expectations and reality, we still get the “so and so’s nephew does video,” brought up amongst the group.

At this point in time, your nephew has graduated high school, maybe even college, and he’s working down in accounting with Bill, you know, that guy who wears suspenders every day?  Your nephew has a camera and he dabbles in iMovie. “He can probably do what we need and he’s already on salary,” someone mentions in the pitch meeting.  Bingo!

There’s an old cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s so true, “you get what you pay for.”  There are projects and times that are appropriate to do something in-house for dirt cheap.  It all depends on what you’re aiming to get out of it.  End of the year, fun videos and slideshows, retirement/going-away parties, certain internal communications, simple newsworthy or time-sensitive releases and more.  Those make sense to do essentially for free, in-house.  But when there’s ROI, KPI and/or impact factors that are the focus of the end result, do you want to waste any time or resources doing it the wrong way even once?  Sometimes you can’t afford NOT to do it the right way.

This isn’t a giant plug for Frame One.  There are plenty of professional video production services in this area alone, not to mention throughout the country.  It’s about finding the one that suits you and fits your budget.  And video isn’t always the answer either, especially when there is a tight budget.  Save your dollars for the most important stories and initiatives that you and your organization will get the greatest benefit from by utilizing video.

And by the way, nothing against your nephew.  I hear he’s a good guy and great at what he does.  If he’s still in accounting, give me his number.  I was trying to save money and had my nephew doing our books for free.  He’s a video guy who has a computer and calculator.  But he just told me I owe the IRS $5 million.  I need a professional to double-check his work.

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