Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own In-House Production Team
Dollars to donuts, you get the most value for your money when hiring an outside production company.
But how could that be? If you don’t pay for an outside video production vendor and do it all in-house, you’re saving money, right? Maybe, if you’re picking up your iPhone and yelling action, but is that the brand image you want to share with your staff or the world?
Adding an in-house production team may offer streamlined integration within your current marketing workflow, but doing it right comes at a significant cost. To attain the same quality of an outside production house, you’ll need specialized full-time staff and a long-term overall commitment.
Minimally, you’re facing a 7-figure investment before you complete your first job.
Over my forty-plus years in the video production business, I’ve built in-house production teams and studios from the ground up for three of my past employers. It was fun to design, implement and purchase hundreds of thousands in new gear and studio accessories, but when the start-up phase was complete management wanted to see quick results on the investment.
Having total control over your video production also adds total responsibility for every step of the process
Considering the time and energy to simply research, develop, write, go through all the revisions and approvals, turning around quality content can take weeks or months before cameras even roll.
For example, one of the first productions I was tasked with after setting up a new production team was an organization-wide 15 part training series. It was to be implemented as an intranet distributed, compliance based LMS, with digital confirmation that 100% of each video was viewed. From start to finish that project took over 400 hours to complete. If that same project was contracted with an experienced video production company, it could have been completed in half that time, without all the stress and headaches.
Let’s not forget the distractions.
Once an organization has an in-house production team, every division and every manager will reach out with ideas they want as their pet project. There’s also the last minute emergencies like:
The video production team becomes the “Oh yeah, we can make a video” afterthought, in the hopes that staff can use it to help boost presentations or staff engagement.
At Big Picture, we’ve been first-hand witness to organizations who’ve attempted to follow the in-house production model in the guise of having more control, Including the ability to create more videos while eliminating vendor costs. Everytime it ended in failure due to cutting costs in the staffing and start-up phase, or expecting that quick return on investment and pushing the video production team to total burnout within the first two months.
From hiring inexperienced staff for less, purchasing cheaper equipment, simply not understanding the full depth of production workflow, or working with a creative mindset… Once your organization has full control, it can easily become another undervalued, misunderstood line item too easy to trim.
Without the significant investment and long-term commitment from all the stakeholders in your organization to do it right, it will fail.
What is the most overlooked pitfall when building an in-house production team?
The best creative talents don’t work well within strict corporate structures. It’s literally a conflict in thought and work style, though that’s recently started changing as young millennials are entering the workforce and demanding more flexible or creative working solutions. Adding creative positions to a corporate structure requires great understanding, insight, and flexibility. Within reason of course.
You may have seen the infamous large open space tech company perks like:
These perks fly in the face of standard business structure and practice, with purpose.
It’s like attempting to place a square peg into a round hole.
Corporate structure is linear, hierarchical, rule driven. Most everyone has one job with a clearly defined goal and specific steps to achieve that goal.
The best creative work doesn’t always happen within typical business hours. The multi-disciplined workflow to produce creative video for your audiences is more about non-linear thought, freedom, inspiration, and experimentation. Providing space to imagine, the opportunity to fail, and the time to refine those ideas. It’s a complex mix of:
Working effectively as a creative within an organization or corporation requires a rare combination of experience, patience, and maturity.
It requires a mindset to think outside the box, while keeping the style and look within brand standards and expectations.