DIY or Hire A Professional?

Let’s not beat around the bush. At this point in our technology evolution, everyone has access to a decent camera. Whether the camera is a high grade DSLR or the latest iPhone, most people have the capability to shoot and edit their own videos. As a professional videographer, I won’t lie and say that this isn’t a source of mild frustration. However, there are a few instances where it makes a lot of sense to use your phone’s video capabilities rather than hire a professional.

Often people see video in two categories: professional commercial grade that you might see on TV and YouTube quality. People think professional and they see $$$$ and large crews, whereas YouTube is homemade, gets the information out and is easily done by anyone. Ten years ago homemade worked, it made sense and everybody was impressed or at least didn’t mind. Unfortunately, due the the easy availability of quality cameras accessible by everyone today, there is simply no excuse for the “homemade” look in videos meant for certain audiences. How do you know when to make the leap and hire professional?

First, make sure to decide why you are creating a video in the first place. Is this video full of lasting information? Is the video about your business? Is the video selling a product? What audience is the video going to be marketed towards? Also consider how you are planning on showing the video. Will it hold a prominent place on your website? Are you hoping to have a viral marketing campaign, or will the video be shared to a select audience via newsletter or YouTube channel?

If the goal of the video is to encourage business growth, sell a product or spread a focused message then the video needs to reflect the quality of the brand and foundation behind the message. For example, one does not show up to work in track pants with a dirty sweatshirt and expect to be taken seriously as a business person. A video, once published, is live for the world to see 24/7. Day and night this video will working for the business, spreading the message and selling the product. That means the video created is essentially an employee and must look and act the part for the brand. When deciding whether or not to create your own video for your business or product, consider how you will want it to be perceived while out in the world. How will your video be representing you and your message?

That being said, there are several cases where the DIY approach makes sense. Some businesses put out frequent short snippets of information. Real estate, for example, might want to update clients on the market at regular intervals. Chefs might want to share short recipes. Healers might want to share weekly self care tips. All of these sent either through newsletters, YouTube channels or simply placed in a special section of a website would be good examples of videos that would have success when self produced. Client testimonial videos are also a candidate for the DIY approach for budget conscious business owners.

Let’s talk about money, since that is usually what it all comes down to. Professional TV commercials do cost millions and have large crews and trucks full of equipment. That doesn’t mean that a professional videographer hired to create your business video will be the same production. Remember, technology has evolved and large crews aren’t always necessary. Many times a professional look can be achieved with one camera and one videographer who manages the whole production. By saving money and doing it yourself, you risk poor quality, such as, weird framing, bad lighting, hard to hear audio and dragging sentences.
Knowing how to do all of these things effectively is a skill learned through training and practice. If you are a business owner, a lot of time could be spent learning a skill that is not directly related to running your business. Time spent away from customer interactions or perfecting your products and services. One might lose money, while trying to save money on a video production, only to create something that won’t effectively represent the quality of the business.

When you hire a professional, you are hiring someone who understands how to frame and light the video effectively. Someone who is able to capture quality audio, and direct the subject to deliver sentences that are clear and concise. A professional knows how to take key elements and edit them together in an engaging story that will attract attention and adhere to branding quality.

How do you know when to hire a professional or to do it yourself? It depends on what type of video is needed. Are you communicating frequent, short, bits of information to an informal audience? The DIY approach is perfect for you. Are you creating a video that will represent your personal brand or sell a product? Hiring a professional will ensure your video will be viewed and shared with the respect of a quality brand. Make sure to take the time and evaluate the purpose and desired audience of the video before making the decision.