So you are hiring a video company? Here’s what you need to know.
You decided to go ahead and commission someone to create video content for you. How do you make sure when you are hiring a video company that they are legitimate? How do you check they aren’t a cowboy outfit?
Price alone is no guide. There are people out there creating junk for a fortune and others creating amazing work on a shoe string. So what ways can you check? In this blog we look at three things you should investigate when looking to hire a company.
There are lots of companies out there with many different styles and approaches to creating video content. It’s important you find someone who’s a good fit for you. There are certain things though that should be common to any decent video production team and you should ask about these before you get a single frame of video shot.
It’s not exciting but it is essential. At the most basic level, anyone you work with should have both indemnity and public liability insurance. Liability is an obvious one. If they injure someone or damage something while working, even if it’s on your property, they are liable for the insurance coverage, not you. So make sure they have it.
Indemnity is slightly more complex. This covers you should they make some mistake or fail to deliver what you’ve asked for as a result of their own failing. For example, if you booked a venue and paid expenses for something to be filmed on a certain date and they failed to show up, or they lost the footage. Then you can make a claim against their insurer to recover your costs. Ask for copies of their professional insurance so you can check to your own satisfaction they have sufficient cover. They should be happy to provide documents. If they are unwilling, this should be a red flag for you against using them.
2. Professional Knowledge
This is much harder to gauge because they are supposed to be the expert, not you. They should be willing to answer all your questions though. Ask about anything you have concern about. If you need drones, ask them about their drone insurance and if they have CAA certification. When you want specific music, then ask them about how they can help you with licensing. If you need footage shot in a public space, ask them about any legal permissions they might need to acquire. Ask anything you think is relevant. Even if it feels like a stupid question. A professional will give you clear answers and treat all your concerns seriously. If you feel happy with what they’ve told you, don’t be afraid to check on their answers. If something doesn’t add up, re approach them.
Ultimately, if you broadcast something you don’t have a legal right to, then you will be the first person a law suit will land on. So it’s perfectly reasonable to ask whatever you think is important.
3. Terms of Service
This is most important if you are working with someone for the first time. This is not about catching anyone out, or writing loopholes into your agreement. A well written terms of service should act as a clear guide as to who is responsible for what. By defining clear expectations and responsibilities you are creating a clear guide to the nature of your relationship with your video provider. This is something that will need amending and evolve as the project planning continues but ideally you should have a clear definition of who is expected to do what and when by the time you come to film. If nothing else, then at the very least have a clear brief. Having the goals and expected outcome of a project written down for all parties to reference makes it easier all round to achieve the best result.
It’s important to find a company that’s the right fit for you. Equally it’s important to make sure they are competent and don’t just “talk a good game”. Whoever you choose to go with, there’s nothing wrong with being thorough and asking questions. Any company that gets sniffy or evasive when you ask them about basic things like insurance or how to film legally in a given location is a company that you need to walk away from. The good news is there are plenty of good quality production companies out there, and with a little due diligence, you can easily sift them out from the cowboys.