Start your Video Production Business – A Step-by-Step Guide
If you are passionate about starting a video production company or video production business, launching this new venture will be the most fun and challenging thing you have ever done. You need to buy the right hardware, software, procure a great staff or crew then you will need to market yourself and your services. Before you start to market your services, remember, you first need a great reel to show potential clients what you are capable of. Check out our Video Production reel on our Bolt Entertainment homepage. Producing video content is an art form full of details that shape stories, build momentum, suspense, and leaves your audience feeling like they have connected with your story and its characters.
If you are like many other creators in internet land, you have a dire need to tell stories. Let’s first take a look at a few things you should do before getting started.
Define your video production specialty
Defining your video production specialty is a crucial step in starting a successful video production company. Here are some reasons why:
Differentiation: By focusing on a specific niche within the video production industry, you can differentiate yourself from other companies and stand out in a crowded market. This can help you attract clients who are specifically looking for the services you offer.
Expertise: By specializing in a certain area of video production, you can build expertise and become known as an authority in your field. This can lead to more opportunities for work and higher rates for your services.
Focus: Having a clear specialty allows you to focus your resources and efforts on developing the skills and equipment needed to excel in that area. This can lead to better results for your clients and a stronger reputation for your company.
Targeted Marketing: Once you have defined your specialty, you can create targeted marketing campaigns that are designed specifically for your target audience. This can help you reach the right clients more effectively and build a strong client base.
Cost Savings: By specializing, you can streamline your processes and eliminate the costs associated with offering a wide range of services. This can make your company more efficient and profitable in the long run.
a look at the hardware you will need.
Set Clear Goals for your business
Creating a business plan is essential before starting a video production company as it lays out the foundation for the success and sustainability of the business. A well-structured business plan serves several important purposes, including:
Setting Objectives: A business plan helps you set clear goals and objectives for your company. This allows you to focus your efforts and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and grow your business.
Assessing Feasibility: By researching the market and creating a detailed financial plan, a business plan helps you assess the feasibility of your business idea and determine if it is a viable option.
Attracting Investors: If you plan to secure funding from investors, a business plan can help you make a compelling case for your company. It shows potential investors that you have put thought and effort into your business idea and have a solid plan for success.
Improving Operations: A business plan can help you identify areas of your business that need improvement and develop strategies for optimizing operations.
The potential risks of not having a business plan before starting a video production company include:
Lack of Direction: Without a clear plan, it can be difficult to know where your business is headed or what steps you need to take to achieve your goals. This can lead to confusion and mismanagement, which can ultimately result in failure.
Inadequate Funding: Without a solid financial plan, it can be difficult to secure the funding you need to start and grow your business. This can limit your ability to invest in equipment, hire staff, and market your services.
Poor Decision Making: Without a clear understanding of your target market and competition, it can be difficult to make informed decisions about pricing, marketing, and other key aspects of your business.
Missed Opportunities: Without a business plan, you may miss out on opportunities for growth and expansion, or fail to recognize potential challenges and risks before they arise.
Register your new video Production business with the State
Registering your new video production business in the state in which it operates is an important step in establishing a legitimate and credible company. Here are some of the benefits of registering your business:
Legal Compliance: Registering your business with the state ensures that you are in compliance with all relevant legal requirements, such as obtaining necessary licenses and permits.
Tax Compliance: Registering your business with the state establishes your business as a taxable entity and helps you comply with state and federal tax regulations.
Separate Entity: Registering your business as a separate entity from yourself provides a clear distinction between your personal and business finances and protects your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit or financial difficulty.
Credibility: Registering your business with the state demonstrates to potential clients that you are a legitimate and credible company, and that you take your business seriously. This can increase trust and confidence in your company and make it easier to secure new clients and business opportunities.
Access to Business Resources: Registering your business with the state can give you access to resources and support that can help you grow and succeed, such as business counseling, training programs, and networking opportunities.
Essential Equipment for a Successful Video Production Business
Choosing the right Video Production Camera
When starting a video production company, choosing the right camera is crucial for delivering high-quality video content to your clients. While it may be tempting to believe that “the camera you use is not important, it’s the story that matters,” the reality is that having a camera with poor dynamic range can negatively impact the quality of your final product. Today, even smartphones have built-in 4K cameras that can be used to shoot full-length feature films, but it’s important to keep in mind that these devices, although capable of producing high-quality video, may not compare to professional-grade cameras like the Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6 v2 or Arri Alexa LF in terms of dynamic range, low-light performance, and other features.
Dynamic range is particularly important in video production because it gives you the ability to adjust the colors of your footage in post-production. Neglecting to color correct and color grade your material is a common mistake among new directors and filmmakers, but it’s important to remember that skin tones and color casts are often a sign of a director or production company’s level of professionalism.
It’s also worth mentioning that color choices can be intentionally skewed for creative purposes, but as a general rule, the industry-standard cameras used in professional environments are a good starting point when choosing the right camera for your video production company.
A few good camera options
Red Monstro – $54,500
Red Helium – $24,500
Red Gemini – $19,500
Panasonic VariCam LT – $14,500
Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro 12k – $5,995
Keep in mind that the prices above are for the camera body alone. You will, at the very least, need to purchase a camera lens separately.
Investing in Professional Video Camera Lens
Investing in the right camera lens is just as important as choosing the right video camera for your video production business. Your camera lens has the power to give your project a distinct and professional look. Choosing the wrong lens, on the other hand, can result in subpar footage that detracts from the story you’re trying to tell.
While a 50mm lens is often recommended as a starting point, the right first lens for you will depend on your shooting style and preferences. If you like to experiment with different focal lengths and find your creative voice, you may prefer to start with a professional video zoom lens. Zoom lenses give you the versatility to choose from multiple focal lengths quickly and easily on set, so you can capture the perfect shot no matter the scenario.
For example, if you’re in a small room shooting a scene with your 50mm lens, but see a beautiful lead-up shot that requires a wider lens, having a zoom lens like a 24-70mm on hand can make all the difference. This is especially important if you’re a one-person shop and need to pack light, as having one great piece of glass that serves multiple purposes can make all the difference.
If you are just starting out, consider the following zoom lenses.
Sigma 18-35 f1.8
2. Panasonic Lumix G 16-35 f2.8
If you have a little more coin to spend on great prime lenses, here is my absolute favorite lens set, Cooke Set.
For me, Cooke lenses have a soft and cinematic feel which gives pictures an old-world, high-end quality. The pictures look like they have years of character pre-built into each frame. Other great lenses I love are:
Leica R Elmarit
Recording High-quality Sound for your productions
High-quality sound recording is often overlooked in new video production businesses, but it is a critical component that makes up the foundation of your video production company. When budgeting for production tools, focus on three essential elements: camera, lighting, and sound recording hardware. While cameras and lighting can be expensive, sound recording hardware is the least expensive area with the greatest increase in production value for your money.
The industry-standard in capturing audio for years has been the Sennheiser MKH-416 shotgun microphone. This microphone has been used in Hollywood for years and is still being used in feature films and television shows. When watching a TV show, pay attention to the quality of an actor’s voice and the sound design – most of it is captured with the Sennheiser 416. This microphone has a 40-20000 Hz frequency response, which allows it to reproduce rich bass and high-end sound. If you want to produce content on par with the best production companies, this is a great option, especially if you don’t have $150,000 to spend on video production equipment.
For those who don’t have the capital to invest in a professional microphone, there are several alternatives. The easiest solution is to use your smartphone, which can record fairly good quality audio. The key is to make sure your phone is close to your talent’s mouth when capturing sound. Another solution is to use a stereo voice recorder, such as the Zoom H1n or F1n Field Recorder, which offers the ability to record in stereo and has a microphone input for a lav mic. For professional jobs, it’s recommended to use both a shotgun microphone and a lav microphone on talent, so you or your post-production team can choose the cleanest audio track.
If you want to steer closer to the professional sound quality but not spend as much on the microphone, the Rode NTG3 is a fantastic microphone. In a blind test, a number of working video professionals could hardly make the distinction between the Rode NTG3 and Sennheiser 416. The Rode comes in at around $700 for the microphone. It is also important to mention that most professional shotgun microphones require phantom power which means an external power source will need to power the microphone. Most professional cameras provide phantom power so the only additional expense you will have is buying XLR cords that run from your camera to the microphone. Depending on your scenario, you may need sound recorders for your shotgun microphone. If you are in a controlled studio environment, you may be able to get away with running a 10′ cord from your camera to your microphone, but as you start to work in more professional environments, external recorders that provide phantom power are the way to go. It’s cleaner and oftentimes delivers more power to your shotgun mic which gives you cleaner audio without the background noise when working in post-production. Zoom, Tascam and Sound Devices all make great sound recorders that produce phantom power.
In conclusion, high-quality sound recording is essential for any video production business, and it’s not as expensive as you may think. Whether you use a professional microphone, a smartphone, or a stereo voice recorder, the goal is to get your audio recording device as close to your talent as possible while keeping it out of the frame. Investing in high-quality sound recording equipment will improve the overall production value of your videos, making them sound and look professional.
Purchase Post Production Software and Tools
You are in the home stretch and ready to edit your masterpiece. Post-production professionals like and use different editing suites for various reasons. For the longest time. Final Cut 7 was the gold standard in television, film and commercial post-production. But with the boom in digital cameras, editing platforms are rapidly changing and old editing tools are being rethought and redeveloped for a more efficient workflow. There is no doubt that Black Magic’s Divinci resolve is the go-to color tool and their all in one post-production suite has become a personal favorite of mine, and that is saying a lot. I have worked on every major suite on the market. Avid, Adobe, Final Cut and now Black Magic. Full disclosure, I am not a VFX wizard so I do not have a comprehensive review on Black Magic’s Fusion vs Adobe’s After Effects or Nuke, but I employ some of the best VFX artists in the world and can tell you Fusion composites, paints and creates/manipulates particles as well as any program in the market. One thing I will say is that most professionals are partial to one platform or another. The truth is, many of the top platforms can deliver the same result, the difference is how you get there.
Essential Steps to Ensure the Success of Your Video Production Company
Set up a Website and Social Media accounts
The importance of marketing your video production work through a website and social media accounts cannot be overstated. A demo reel is a crucial aspect of your marketing strategy, as it serves as a visual representation of your company’s body of work and showcases your skills and style to potential clients. The reel should be 2-3 minutes long and highlight the best of your work, showcasing the type of projects you are interested in pursuing. This will help potential clients determine if you are a good fit for their needs and if they want to work with you.
It is essential to have a website and active social media accounts to showcase your work and reach a wider audience. A website serves as your company’s online presence, providing an easily accessible and professional platform for clients to view your work, learn about your services, and get in touch with you. Social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, offer an additional avenue to share your work and connect with potential clients.
When starting out in video production, it is essential to focus on the basics, such as a decent tripod with a smooth pan/tilt head and finding your voice with your equipment. Once you have found your voice, you can begin to incorporate additional tools and techniques to make your production more dynamic.
In conclusion, marketing your video production work through a website and social media accounts is crucial to your success. A well-made demo reel and an active online presence will help you reach a wider audience, showcase your skills, and attract potential clients.
Assemble a Team
As you start your video production company, you may be the only person on the team. But as you secure more business, it can be helpful to have a network of freelance videographers, editors, and producers that you can call upon to meet your clients’ needs. In order to run a full-fledged production company, it’s important to have staff that can handle various tasks such as development, production, post-production, and distribution. You may also want to consider hiring a CPA to manage your finances and payroll. For creative positions such as actors, writers, directors, cinematographers, and crew members, you may hire them on a project-by-project basis.
Determine Your Prices
To set your prices, it’s important to research the fees charged by your competitors. Look for companies with similar experience and location as yours. Be clear and consistent with your pricing so that clients know what to expect. To account for the variability in prices, you may want to consider setting up pricing packages or estimates for different types of projects, which you can post on your website. As you gain more experience and insight into what clients are willing to pay, you can adjust your prices accordingly.
Create a Portfolio
Having a portfolio of your work is crucial when attracting potential clients or investors. If you’re new to the industry and don’t have many original pieces to show, you can offer to work on free projects or demos that demonstrate your video production skills. Include your portfolio or work samples on your website and social media pages, and make sure to update and expand your portfolio as you work on more projects and solidify your company’s identity.
Networking with other professionals in the industry can be a great way to secure clients, referrals, collaborations, and freelance contacts. Attend film festivals and industry events, post to online filmmaking communities and social media groups, and join your local chamber of commerce, which is a professional network that supports local businesses.
There you have it. Now go out into the world and dominate!