Freelance Videographer:
How to Choose the Best One for Your Project!

Freelance videographer

Okay... You're thinking of contacting a freelance videographer to do a video for you of a special event or one that will market your company's services and products. Good!  But... How do you choose the best one?

Having a video made is the best way to capture the memories of an important event (such as a wedding, anniversary or graduation etc.) or...  if your a business... a great tool for communication... whether it be for your customers or your employees.

For businesses especially .... A corporate video is one of the best ways to market and promote your company. Videos are fun and interesting, they get your customers attention and if done well... they will get your point across like no other medium.  And for small businesses especially... they can level the playing field with your competition and bring you in lots of business!

Okay... How do you get one made?

The Three Ways to Get Your Video Made...

Three ways to get your video made

How do you do it? How do you get your video made?

Well… There are three avenues:

  • Do-it-yourself,
  • Hire a freelance videographer to produce it... or...
  • Hire a video production company to make your video.

If you're like most people you don't have the time to do this yourself. And... If you are doing a corporate video... There is too much other stuff to do to run the business successfully especially if you're a "one-man band". It usually boils down to hiring a freelance videographer... or... go to a video production company to have your video made.

But… If you're going to go with a professional... How about the bottom line! The cost to make this video?  Again… If you are an individual or small company you have to watch the budget and you want to ensure that you get the most (value) "bang for your buck" .

Here are a few tips when you're making that important decision on who you will have make this video for you.

What Is a Freelance Videographer?

Freelance videographer

Usually he's a jack of all trades and a small businessman in his own right. He may work alone or have a group of people he works with on a contract basis.

He or she will be proficient and knowledgeable in the main phases of the video production process...

What Is a Freelance Videographer?

* A freelance videographer is a person that independently sells his work or services by the hour, day, job, etc. 

  • Pre-production: The  writing,  scripting ,  storyboarding and organizing the logistics of the production.
  • Post-production: The gathering and organizing of the material that has been produced, the video editing of the material and converting the material into the proper format for distribution and dissemination.

The Advantages of Using a Freelance Videographer to Do Your Video Production...

Freelance videographer selling points

The freelance videographer's biggest selling point over using a video production company is usually their lower cost!

The next biggest selling point is that you can be a little more "hands-on" production-wise with a videographer than with a video production company.

Most freelance videographers will emphasize that when you're dealing with them... you are dealing with the head of their company... The "Boss"! They can be more flexible and responsive to your needs and will work with you more closely than the bigger video production houses.

Another selling point would be that most videographers are very flexible in their time and will work with the small business owner to get the production finished on the agreed-upon time schedule and budget.

Also... most would emphasize that you can get a more "personal experience" meaning a closer working relationship than with a larger video production company. This is important if, during the video production, you want changes made to the script or the "look and feel" of the video. And all usually done at a lower cost… Which of course is very important especially to the small business person making a corporate video as the video being made will represent the business as a whole.

Those are the major selling points… And they are good ones!

Some Things to Consider When You're Choosing a Videographer for Your Project...

Things to consider when choosing a freelance videographer

What do you need to look out for when choosing a freelance videographer?

Well… Any video production always goes through three main phases... Pre-production, production and post-production no matter how simple the video is. The better each phase is done… Well… The better the production will be in the end!

So… Take a close look at the videographer's...

  • Portfolio,
  • Experience and
  • Access to video production resources

By looking at these three areas you should be able to get a very good idea of how your video may look and if the videographer has the experience and resources to actually get it done... The way you want it, on-time and in-budget.

Let's take a look at these areas individually...

Taking a Look at the Videographer's Portfolio and Experience... What Has He Actually Produced?

The freelance videographer' s portfolio

As far as his portfolio and experience… Has he actually produced the kind of video that you need and want for for the event (such as a wedding, anniversary celebration, graduation etc.) or for your company's corporate video?

You want to look closely at examples of his work and ask a lot of questions!

  • How does it look to you? Does it look professional?
  • Does it get across the message or information well?
  • How many has he done? Does it look like he has a good track record in doing these?
  • Does it look like he has experience in putting out quality videos... specifically like the one you want for your business?

It would be a good idea to talk to him about the 3 phases of video production and how he handles each one on an individual basis.

In pre-production for example... will he be able to help you turn your idea into a fresh and interesting video that will have appeal to the audience that you're presenting it to. Does he have experience in writing a good script? Can he put together a storyboard that includes all the scenes needed to create a coherent video that can be pushed through to completion...

On-time and in-budget?

What kind of assurances can he give you on keeping delays and cost overruns to a minimum? Who pays for them if there are delays?

All are questions that must be answered before you proceed!

The Videographer's Video Production Resources… Can He Really Get the Job Done?

Videographer's video production resources

The key question to answer is ... Does he have the resources to produce the video on-time and in-budget…

Meaning… Does he have the camera equipment and video editing capabilities to actually produce a very professional looking video that can be outputted in whatever video file format you need so it can be distributed to your audience (family, friends, customers, associates, sales staff etc.)?

Here are some important things to know...

Freelance videographer – preproduction
  • When marshaling his resources to make the video... will he be doing everything himself... or does he have a network of creative people he works with who have expertise in the areas that he may be weak in?

Freelance videographer – equipment
  • Does he have professional equipment? The standard for video production these days is very high definition. You have to have high-quality equipment to produce high-quality video.

Freelance videographer – postproduction
  • Does he have access to post-production facilities where he can do the video editing and other post-production work in a timely manner?

Freelance videographer – video distribution
  • Will he be able to output the video in the media form and video file format that you need so that you can present it in whatever form you choose? For example... Uploading to YouTube, embedding it on a website, streaming it or, create DVDs to be distributed?

Bottom line... Does he actually have the means to shoot, produce and put your video in any form that you need so that you can easily get it out to your intended audience?

One More Thing to Consider... Copyrights to the Material Once It's Produced...

Copyrights to video production material

Of course... One of the most important considerations when you're hiring a freelance videographer is does he have...

  • The proper licenses,
  • Insurance and
  • knowledge of copyright laws...

Are you are legally protected? Be sure to ask questions about this! This is especially true if you're making a corporate video for your business.

If he's operating as a small business does he have a license to operate in your city and state? Since he is a small business himself... does he have insurance coverage? And... if he's using a crew and/or actors does he have the proper insurance coverage for them also?

Is he knowledgeable in the use of (and does  use) consent forms and observing copyright laws?

So... that when he turns over the completed video to you... it is properly documented that you own and reserve all rights to the material? You don't want to have any sort of legal liability if something happens while shooting  the material or after you distribute your video... You just want to have your video made and be able to have it viewed with no worries!

If he can satisfactorily answer these questions and any others that you may have... and you can see from his references and portfolio that he has produced good looking and sounding videos in the way that you'd want your video to look... then... There should be no reason why using a independent videographer wouldn't work for you.

Here is an example of what you might expect your production to look like if you hire a independent videographer to do your video.

My Recommendation on Using a Freelance Videographer...

Again… The freelance videographer tends to work closer with a customer, be more flexible, is more economical and will usually be a little more accommodating if there are changes to be done even late in the production cycle. 

So... My recommendation is... Don't shy away from a freelance videographer if he or she looks like they do good work and your satisfied after talking with them that you'll get what you paid for. There a lot of good independent videographers out there that will do a great job for you!

Just be sure to do your homework... Gather as much information as possible... ask all the questions you need to... and if you like what you see and hear then "go for it"! 

Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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