Small vs Large Video Production Company: What are the Differences?

Posted by Liza Heiskell

Dec 7, 2017 10:35:48 AM

Working in TV and video production is a great gig if you are fortunate enough to find it. I have been lucky enough to work as a video/TV producer for both large and small video production companies, in addition to running my own video production business for more than 15 years.

Recently, I was hired as a video producer at InnerAction Media, a digital marketing firm based in Morgantown, WV. And, although video production is just a portion of InnerAction’s business - it is becoming a much larger area of business. With more and more people realizing the response and results that come with a great video, the number of people looking to incorporate videos into their overall marketing campaigns has grown significantly over the last couple of years.  

Beyond creative, there are lots of logistics that go into even the shortest of productions. You might have a great concept in mind, but in most cases, you’ll need the expertise of a video producer to help bring those concepts to life. iPhone videos don't cut it on a commercial level, except for Apple (and its billions in resources). Depending on what you are looking for, there are benefits and drawbacks to working with large and small production companies and companies that provide more than just video production.


Large Production Companies 

In my experience, working for larger production companies and for network TV was very exciting, yet it also felt impersonal and lacked in creativity at times. There are a lot of resources available, such as:

  • Equipment
  • Financing
  • Large staff, including many eager production assistants

But, there is no opportunity to seize a compelling moment, like an unscripted side-story that captures the emotional connection; a smile or laugh that enables the subject to forget about the camera; a real life experience that is not scripted or story-boarded. Sure, those are important and necessary in the process, but big production does not allow the freedom to get the story when the camera is forgotten. Usually, it is get the pre-arranged shots and go home.

Also, in big production, a producer typically has one, maybe two, limited roles:

  • Writing
  • Producing
  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Working the camera and/or audio

The upside to that is that you can focus on your limited task, but the downside is that you are not necessarily as invested in the big picture and/or the final outcome. 

In addition, big production has a big staff and red tape between creative and the client. Often times as a producer you are not meeting directly with the client, but instead with an executive telling you the direction of the piece.Your story is the end-product of many people, lots of whom are not the client.   


Small Production Companies 

video production company

Working for a smaller company allows one to wear many hats. As a video producer with a smaller company, you are often times writing, shooting, directing and editing, working on the video/story from start to finish. Being able to do everything is hard and demanding at times, but it is also extremely beneficial in crafting the final product.

Working the entire process, from the client meeting and pre-production to the final product, having your hands in every aspect is extremely fulfilling. Importantly, in most cases, working for a smaller company requires you to engage directly with the client and get to know them personally. In the end, you have a much better grasp on:

  • What the client is looking for
  • Their story
  • Who they are working to reach
  • The story they want to tell

Also, at a smaller company, everyone works together, and the family vibe and team effort makes everyone invested in serving the client and making that emotional connection.   


Technological Advances 

Video production technology has changed significantly over the last two decades (when I first started in the business).  Advances in cameras, sound equipment, computers and editing software have made it a lot easier to make extremely high-quality HD videos at a reduced price and with less people. 

Additionally, equipment is more portable, easier to master and more affordable. Where it used to take an entire crew (sound technician, camera operator, lighting, and production assistants) to film a 30 second commercial, it can now be done with as few as two talented people.   


There Is No Instant Production

With all of these advances in technology, a lot of companies are trying to keep their video production in-house.

I was attending an editing workshop recently and there were at least two people in the class who were not video producers but were learning how to edit so that their employers did not have to hire an outside production company to make their marketing videos. 

Obviously, if this works out, the outcome would be fantastic for the company - great marketing videos without spending the additional money. However, making good videos is not as easy as pulling out your iPhone, shooting and editing. 

A good video requires knowledge of what can, and cannot be captured and conveyed by video, tailoring a story to, teasing out the emotion in human subjects and packaging it in a crisp, punch-like fashion. While videos are everywhere, bad videos (or unnecessarily expensive videos) are also everywhere.

It is both an art and science: the latest equipment will not craft the story and inexperience will not seize the emotion. Most importantly, clients are good at what they do, and it is usually not video production. 


InnerAction Media | Video Production in West Virginia 

InnerAction Media is a small, full service digital marketing firm with big firm capabilities. You get the service, the personal touch and relationships of a small firm with end results that could have just as easily come out of a larger company.  

Hiring InnerAction Media to produce high quality videos will help your company in many ways:

  • We get to know you, your goals, your product or service and your company.
  • We collaborate with you to formulate ideas and concepts to sell your story. 
  • We handle all logistics such as scheduling shoot days/subjects, scouting the location, pre-interviews and on-camera interviews and b-roll. 
  • We use the people and equipment necessary to shoot a high quality HD video.
  • We edit a final product, bringing your ideas to life and enabling you to reach the people you want to reach.

I am extremely excited about joining IAM and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

To learn more about our video production process, click below.

VIDEO

Liza Heiskell

Written by Liza Heiskell

Liza is a graduate of West Virginia University and won a National Daytime Emmy Award in 2006. She has years of experience producing cable and network TV shows in New York City for TLC, Discovery, NBC News and the Fox Broadcasting Network. Upon returning to Morgantown, Liza started Park Street Productions to help business owners share their stories and connect with customers. She recently joined the InnerAction team and looks forward to telling your story. Liza is also a mom, a wife, a part time runner and she has never read a book to which she couldn’t fall asleep.

Topics: Video Marketing, HD Video Production