DIY vs. Professional
On June 15, 2012 my wife and I boarded the Norwegian Spirit in Barcelona, Spain for a two week, 20th anniversary Mediterranean cruise. Our ports of call included Florence, Rome, Naples, Greece, Istanbul, and Venice to name a few. It was an unforgettable experience and we immersed ourselves in the cultures with incredible food, people, and history. It was the perfect trip.
One night at sea, we attend an on-board art auction. To our surprise, there were works by Picasso, Renoir, Dali, and Degas, among others. Now- we’re not big art collectors, but these were artists we knew. These were the real deals and we were impressed. That is, until they started their presentation.
Homemade Video
As their presentation began they told us about the importance of the artists, the history of their paintings, and the sheer scope and size of their gallery (the worlds largest). We were excited to be there. Then they hit play on the video. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. It was absolutely terrible – the quality of the video, the distant, muffled audio and the poor lighting. Not only that, but it was so bad it actually made it difficult to watch or hear, much less be engaged. They were asking us to invest in artwork by the worlds’ most renowned artists but they cared so little for their brand and the art they were representing that we immediately lost interest and added to our questions of authenticity.
I walked out of that “fine art auction” with 2 takeaways…

1) They didn’t care about their brand

2) They didn’t believe in their product

Why did I question their brand and their product? Because they didn’t think enough of it to invest in quality – so why should their potential clientele? They decided that a “homemade video” was good enough. But was it really?
Here’s the reality – anyone can go out and buy an “HD” camera and download “professional” editing software, but it takes so much more to make a GREAT video.

Hardware and software alone does not a good video make.

So how do you decide when you should tackle a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) video or hire a professional video production company? Here are five questions to help you decide which is right for your project:

1. Who Is My Audience?

The size and scope of your audience is an important factor in determining when DIY is acceptable and when you want to bring in an outside professional. For example, an internal project for a small audience may be a good choice for DIY, while a internal project for a very large audience, may require more expertise. And when it comes to an outside audience, you should seriously consider a professional.

2. Can Our In-House Department Deliver On This Project?

If you are fortunate enough to have an in-house video department you have to know if they can deliver on-time and on-budget based on…

  • the scope of the project – a short, talking heads interview is easy enough, but what about their ability to deliver larger, longer, more complex projects?
  • the quality of the project – do they have the people who can deliver the kind of quality the project requires?
  • the expertise of the project – do they have current technology or will they be limited by older hardware and software with less capabilities and longer turnarounds?

Many in-house departments have a LOT on their plate. So make sure they have the time and resources to tackle your project – before you begin.

3. How Important Is This Product/Service To Our Bottom Line?

We’ve all heard the old adage, “it takes a buck to make a buck”. The amount of resources you should devote to a project is in direct correlation to the potential impact the product or service can make on your bottom line. If this is a HUGE initiative that has the potential to make or break your business, then a home camcorder is probably not your best bet.

4. What Else Could An Outside Professional Bring To The Table?

There is usually a side benefit to bringing in an outside video production company – you not only get the advantage of a whole toolkit of professional expertise, but you also get a fresh outside perspective on our message, product or service. Maybe you’ve spent so much time on the product/service that you can’t see the forrest for the trees. So someone who can walk you through the process, from Creative Brief, to finished product, can have a tremendous impact of your video.

5. How Will This Video Reflect On Our Brand/Product?

Like the on-board art auction who didn’t care enough for their brand or art to invest in it, do you really want to be penny wise and pound foolish? How you protect and present your brand will leave an impression with your audience. The only question is what kind of impressions will it leave?
It is during those first few seconds, when your audience decides whether they are going to continue to watch your video or move on to something else, that you realize the importance of engaging your audience. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Will a DIY video leave my audience wanting more or turn them away?”

Answering these questions can help you determine whether or not you should “do-it-yourself” or hire a professional video production company.

QUESTION: What can you share with us about your DIY video experience?