You’ve been tasked with producing a professional video that requires the help of a video production company. Where do you even start?
This is a guide for anyone who wants to learn how to work with a production company to produce high-quality video content on time and on budget.
First thing’s first…
Write a RFP!
First, you need to generate a RFP, or a Request For Proposal. Typically, a RFP is a document that summarizes the project. Let’s begin with a list of questions to answer.
What does your organization do and who does it serve?
Typically, you can just insert your organization’s abbreviated mission statement here. Any production company worth working with will research your organization before talking with you, so this section requires only nuts and bolts.
What is the objective of your content?
Simply put, what effect would you like your video to have on a viewer? Fundraising films raise money. Product videos sell product. Maybe your video has multiple goals. Communicate it in writing and you’ll have your project summary. For example, the objective of a fundraising film for a nonprofit offering social services may be two-fold; to raise awareness about their existing services and to raise money for new services.
Who is your audience?
Identify the ideal viewers. They will be the target of your objective. For example, a fundraising video series for a private school might target 3 audience groups: current parents, parents of alumni, and alumni.
Where will your video be seen?
Collectively, all of the ways your video will be seen is known as your distribution strategy. A distribution strategy often includes multiple distribution channels, like an email campaign, a live events, and social media. For example, your organization might send the video to their email list, post it to their Instagram and Facebook, put it on their website, and project it at their next gala dinner. As you will read in the next section, your distribution strategy may dictate your deliverable count and format.
How many videos and how long?
The number of videos you need is known as your deliverables. and the duration of each video. For example, you might simply need 1 video with a duration of 2 minutes. Or, maybe you need five videos, each 30 seconds in duration. You may need to reformat a video for different distribution channels. For example, the widescreen (16x9) format works well for live events, whereas the portrait (9x16) format is best for Instagram Stories.
Here’s a quick format reference chart:
|Format / Aspect Ratio||Distribution Channel|
|Widescreen / 16x9||Broadcast, live event, email, website, Facebook feed|
|Portrait / 9x16||Instagram/Facebook story, Snapchat|
|Square / 1x1||Instagram feed|
When do you need your videos by?
It is important to establish a delivery date, the date by which the final video files (deliverables) are needed. This date often coincides with a campaign launch or live event. However, make sure to set the delivery date in advance of the video premiere date as time is needed to integrate the content into collateral materials, presentation, etc.
What is your budget?
To get a sense of your budget, start by establishing 3 numbers; (1) the price that feels like a steal, (2) the price you can live with, and (3) the price that makes you wince. We recommend you include “the price you can live with” in your RFP. Letting your vendor know from the get-go that you have a realistic understanding of your budget is respectful of their time as well as your own.
Put it all together!
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