HOW TO HIRE VIDEO PROFESSIONALS FOR OUTSOURCING
If you’re looking to outsource video, you first need to think about all three phases of the video production process and decide which tasks you want to outsource specifically. Please see part 1 of this series for that discussion.
From experience, I recommend outsourcing mainly the production and post-production phases. Pre-production is easier, although it is certainly a good idea to consult with someone who has done it before so you can learn more about potential pitfalls.
Pre-production involves all the planning and anyone who has ever done project management has all the experience necessary to plan out a video project.
If you’re adventuresome, do the post production yourself and hire someone just to shoot it for you. Editing is easier and more forgiving of mistakes than shooting.
Editing is also a sit down activity whereas shooting can be back-breaking manual labor.
However, lots of people will help you with all three phases so you don’t need a crew of twelve even if you want others to take care of every little detail.
WHO DO I HIRE?
Try these folks first:
* Local TV station production personnel
* Local wedding photographers
* Local TV production teachers/students
Many TV stations allow their employees to freelance using station equipment. Call the news department first and ask for the chief photographer. Inquire about the station’s freelance policy then ask if he knows anyone who would be interested.
If the news department doesn’t have anybody, try the commercial production department and ask for the production manager.
Hiring a TV station employee who can use high quality, expensive equipment for practically nothing will cut your rate from about $2,000 a day to about $500.
Ask the production manager about the station’s rates, too. Usually, commercial production departments in TV stations charge a fraction of what professional production companies do. In part, that’s because a production company will more likely have highly experienced people and the TV station is getting by with youngsters who work for cheap. But, they’ll probably still know what they are doing. TV stations often do not charge anything at all for production IF you are producing a commercial to run on their station.
A PBS station usually charges lower rates than a commercial one. Small UHF channels also can be hired for less money.
TRY LOCAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND SCHOOLS
Wedding photographers are another great bet for outsourcing video. They, too, will probably not be as good as hiring a full crew from a top production house, but their rates won’t kill you either. Many wedding photographers also shoot local school events or kiddie beauty pageants so look in those places too.
Some school districts have TV production departments. I have taught on both the high school and elementary school level. Many of my high school students freelanced and some of them actually did a good job!
College students are a safer bet than high school students.
In addition to tapping into students and teachers, if your local school district is anything like mine, it will include a system wide government TV channel. These channels are given free to municipalities by cable companies. They run exciting stuff like city council meetings. See if you have one of these stations in your area and inquire there too. Here, some of the people who staff the government TV station are highly accomplished professionals who have retired from long careers in regular TV.
CHECK EM OUT
No matter whom you hire, ask for a personal demo tape. Just like artist have a portfolio, video folks have demo tapes. (AKA demo reels or just reels.)
Ask what specific tasks the individual did in putting the demo together. I have known people who would put stuff on their reel when all they really did was lug equipment around and watch. You probably don’t want to hire them.
Lastly, contact a video production house. They will no doubt be your most expensive option, so be forewarned. Then again, they’ll take care of every little thing for you and do a terrific job. You can expect to pay a minimum of $1,000 per finished minute of a professionally produced video by a full fledged production house.
I hope you enjoyed reading this two part report. My goal is to help you get your video projects done. Sometimes, outsourcing is the best way. Especially if the project you wish to do is at all complex.
I recommend that beginners stick to simple formats and styles of video production, like talking heads. If you want something more complex than that, outsourcing can save you a tremendous amount of headaches and even save you money.
If you spend lots of time trying to learn video, then just get frustrated and your project remains undone, you have not saved yourself money! I’ve also known people to buy equipment, spend months working with yet, but never get their video done. So please be realistic. Star Wars was not filmed in an afternoon.
Lorraine Grula, Internet Video Gal