At some point, Marketing and Communications professionals might consider hiring a full-time video staff to handle all their production needs.
But hiring and managing people, in any department, is not easy and could be expensive. So to help you do it right, here are some guidelines from folks who worked as embedded video teams at Google, NASA and others.
When do I need an in-house video team?
Just like a Quarterback on a passing play, you’ll need to look at your options before deciding on a full time employee. The natural progression before hiring regular staff should be this:
The first time you need a video, hire an outside video production company or videographer. Many companies will find they have far fewer video projects than initially planned. Priorities and budgets change. Talent may no longer be available. Stakeholders change their minds. So on.
You may also not be familiar with the video process. A small project that you feel could be done with just one person often require several. That is, if you want to do it at a level of quality that won’t scare away your prospects. For example, even a basic customer testimonial video may need a small team to make it look good. Hiring a professional team will ensure you’re doing it right the first time. You can also gauge the requirements of each job.
If you find that your video needs are more regular, then contract out a video production company or videographer on a temporary basis. For example, if you have several tech talks each week, then it makes sense to retain a team for a month or two.
Once you’ve established your video need and determine that it is regular, then look into hiring a videographer. The ideal candidate will be a producer who can also shoot and edit. Depending on the project scope, this producer will bring in other team members on a contract basis to fill any holes.
What are the Pros and Cons of an in-house video production team?
Low Overhead: If you have a ton of video projects, then it’s more cost efficient to have someone on staff. There’s no special on-boarding process required every time you hire a new contractor. The consistency of having the same person or team work on every project reduces overhead.
Availability: Your team is there with you at the office. You don’t have to worry about the contractor being booked on another job.
Management: You or someone else will need to manage the video team. That not only applies to video projects, but also employee reviews, out of offices, and everything else that HR will need you to help with.
Project Limitations: No matter how good your in-house staff are, there will be limitations to what they can do for you. Most videographers won’t be able to do a full live action explainer video or commercial. They most likely won’t have the skill for a proper animated product video, either. So, for special projects, you’ll need to hire a video production company anyway.
Downtime: Video projects happen in waves. An event, conference or summit will spike the need for videos. During the holidays or summer, things may slow down. That means you’ll need to find something for the team to work on.
Employee Relations: If you don’t like a contractor, then you simply don’t work with them again. If an employee is not working out, you’ll need to take employee action. This may mean disciplinary action, write-ups, suspensions, and awkward termination meetings. There may also be severance packages and other costs to consider.
Cost: Whether there’s work or not, you’ll need to pay the employee. This includes salaries, benefits and taxes.
Lay Offs: Video departments are often the first casualties of economic downturns.
Unless you’re a larger corporation like Google or Facebook, it is always best to contract a video vendor. They will manage their own teams, handle all the employment costs, and separation is always a lot easier. If you’re concerned about availability and overall efficiencies, hire the vendor on a retainer basis.