...just wait until you hire an amateur.
It's a common saying in the world of videography. Let's face it: Video production is expensive. People will often pay (tens of) thousands of dollars for merely a few minutes of video...or less. In a world of iPhone's with high-quality cameras, portable action cameras and small motorized gimbals, anyone can easily pick up one or more of these tools and start charging folks for video work.
But what are you really paying for when you hire a video production company?
These days, the costs of video equipment can be staggering. And I'm not just talking about the camera and lenses. You're currently reading a blog from someone who spent nearly $700 on a light. A light! Factor in cameras which can oftentimes cost upwards of $35,000 (and much MUCH more), lenses which cost thousands as well as editing software, audio equipment, drones, gimbals, lights, tripods, sliders... It can and does get carried away very quickly.
But there's much more to a high quality video than just fancy equipment. When it all boils down, it all comes down to one big thing.
That's what you're really paying for (or at least what you should be paying for). When you go and look at someones portfolio and you see dozens of wedding photos and/or videos, corporate videos, concerts footage and more, you're hiring that person based upon the fact that they've been there, done that, got the t-shirt and won't screw up the video for your event. Nice equipment is one thing, but the skills behind the camera is where it all happens.
In fact, you could take two teams of people: one with high-dollar equipment but very little experience and the other with starter equipment but loads of experience and I can promise you that the pros with the starter equipment will produce better footage.
I can remember one particular time I told someone that I currently charge $1,500 for wedding videos. In my mind, I knew it was a great deal as I personally know people who charge upwards of $4,000 for a similar product. The other person, however, laughed and said they'd never pay that much. As they walked away, I chuckled as I imagined them assigning some kid in their family the duties of lead videographer for their wedding. I imagined the completed video in all its glory, complete with shaky footage, narration in the background as the kid tells his friends they'll have to play Fortnite later and then the sudden finger-pinched zoom-in to get all of the majesty of the day in pixilated detail. They may even get fancy and get their creepy neighbor who has a drone to fly over their outdoor ceremony to get footage of the beautiful decorations as the 65+ decibels from the drone propellors take their guests back in time to their first AC/DC concert.
One thing to keep in mind is that you get what you pay for. High-quality costs high dollars but ALWAYS look at the portfolio of a company first before you book. For example, have a look at my portfolio. It's the very first place I direct clients and potential clients when discussing their project needs.
If you're in the market for a video production company for an upcoming project, know your options but most importantly, know your budget. It's easy for costs to get carried away. Know, however, that the fees you're paying should directly relate to the experience and the equipment (in that order) of the crew or individual you're hiring.