5 Cash-Eating Red Flags That Could Sink Your Video

That old saying “You get what you pay for” is really true when you’re dealing with video production. The process can be complex, partly because there are so many preliminary stages to creating a quality video. One of those is coming up with a budget that will ensure you get the video you want. You’ll have a lot of decisions to make at this phase, but there are some red flags to watch out for when researching video production companies. If any of these pop up, you need to ask more questions before committing to working with a company.

Unless you have lots of money to throw away, beware the five budgetary red flags of video production

Unless you have lots of money to throw away, beware the five budgetary red flags of video production

1.  You’re Not Sure, But They Are.

First, if you barely described what you’re looking for and a company gives you a hard quote (let’s say $400), that’s a bad sign. The company is likely going to offer you minimal services. The company should discuss the project with you in depth before giving you cost estimates, and at that point should give you a detailed breakdown of the services and prices.

2. “The Twilight Zone”

This is where nothing is what it seems. If the company just gives you vague cost estimates for each specific service, watch out. The “range” ($150-$300) is one example of vague estimates. There may be some costs that can’t be pinned down initially such as motion graphics, because the graphic designer won’t be able to give the company an estimate until you decide exactly what you want. But the production company should be able to give you solid numbers for other services such as the cinematography, editing, and makeup. You should also ask what happens if things don’t go as planned. What if the shoot itself or post-production steps like editing take longer than planned? Are you expected to pay for the costs like crew overtime, or does the video company stick to the initial plan and absorb the cost? If you don’t ask questions during the planning phase, you may be in for a nasty surprise when the final invoice is delivered.

3. Promises Without Proof

The company says: “Yes, we can give you exactly what you want!” but doesn’t give you concrete explanations as to how that will happen. One of the best ways to make sure you and the production company are on the same page is through storyboarding. If the company doesn’t offer a solid storyboarding process, you could end up with something that’s worlds beyond what you envisioned.

4. No Flexibility

Flexibility is a crucial characteristic of a trustworthy production company. The staff should be willing to discuss various options for creating your video, including some you may not have thought about. If the concepts that are taking shape are not what you envisioned, you need to speak up. Remember, you’re paying the production company, not the other way around. If the company keeps trying to corral you into a specific outcome, that’s red flag number four, and it may be time to walk away and find someone else to do your video.

5. Lack of Transparency

Finally, make sure you know what’s going to happen after the video is edited. Remember the $400 wonder mentioned above? That company isn’t likely to help you get your video where it needs to go as part of that price. You may just get a DVD of the video. That’s nice if you plan to use if for home movie night, but not much help if you need to upload it to your website, or to YouTube or Vimeo. If the company doesn’t include delivery services when it hands you the budget, that’s another warning sign. They may be trying to sneak in those costs as extras once you commit to the video, knowing your hands will be tied then. If they do it with the delivery services, they may try to slide in other last-minute costs as well. Ask them how much delivery services will cost, and whether there are any other “incidental” costs that could come up.

A good production company will be willing to explain every cost involved in the video process, and will immediately address your questions and concerns. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to look elsewhere. At Hencar we take the time to get to know you and your expectations, and then explain how we can help you achieve them. Make sure you don’t settle for less.