Skip to main content

Outsource vs. In-House

In-house vs. Outsourcing Video

Should we do our videos in house or outsource them? Like many such decisions, the answer tends to be “it depends”, based on a number of considerations.

In many ways, the decision whether to outsource or build in-house capabilities is similar for videos and other areas of the business. Videos can represent a spectrum from home made and artisanal to capabilities requiring advanced skills and resources. The building blocks of great videos include script, casting and actors, interviews, sets and location(s), cinematography, location sound, editing, animation and motion graphics, special effects, narration and music, all of which can have big price tags. Movies, high-end documentaries and broadcast commercials are high-end examples which may use many or even most of these tools. Simple videos only need a few, but some are very important and should not be ignored, such as a clear picture, good sound and a clear message, concisely stated.

Like other business investments, video should be part of a marketing strategy that is though-out and integrated into your overall business plan. Before you start work on a specific video, you should have defined your overall message, communications and graphics style, and target audience. Higher-end production is justified for important messages going to critical target audiences using broad and/or expensive communication channels. In contrast, the types of short messages designed for social media are expected to be real time with little or no editing and should be less “produced”.

The video’s planned use will also impose some constraints. Broadcast commercials have strict time requirements. Videos for use in meetings, seminars and training sessions can be any length, but should engage the audience and may require added graphics and statistics, specialized shots or difficult to get interviews. Customer testimonials, how-to videos, and product demos are the easiest targets for in-house production, but still are most effective with a strong message, good audio and lighting.

To effectively produce videos in-house, an organization needs an individual or small team with the necessary time and interest, and preferably also experience. At minimum, this team needs an understanding of the key message(s) and the desired style; camera; lighting and audio equipment to capture the video; basic editing software to create the finished videos. They will also need time to plan, film, edit and share the videos, as well as possibly training to sharpen their skills. If you need frequent training and how-to videos, customer testimonials, man-on-the-street interviews, or want to create a social media video campaign, the investment to create such an in-house team could be a wise decision. This should be a strategic management decision, however, not just focused on cost-saving. Today’s online viewers have increased exceptions, and poor quality videos are a turn-off and could negatively impact your organization.

Whether or not you have an in-house video team, consider outsourcing when:

  • Communicating an important message to a discerning audience.
  • Disseminating the video message is expensive, such as prime time broadcast television or an important lobbying and advocacy campaign.
  • The organization does not have the necessary expertise, time and internal resources for a specific commercial or other video.

Many times, a blend of in-house and outsourcing is a good option. For example:

  • An advertising or public relations agency defines a series of social media videos to be created by an in-house team.
  • A conference organizer hires a videographer to record a talk by a speaker or interviewee who can’t be present for the event.
  • A company manager realizes a series of product demonstration videos would help online sales and engages an outside videographer to come in for the day and film them.
  • The producer of a recognition event hires an outside editor to assemble photos and video clips into a video for the event.

Tonal Vision has the skills and equipment to handle most video needs, the connections to industry resources for portions of projects we can’t handle internally, and the flexibility to work with you in whatever capacity you need.

Jacquie Greff, author