Should I outsource or DIY my videos?

A common question we get asked by people new to the world of video creation is whether it's better to outsource or make DIY videos. Which is better?

rowan@vimsy.co profile

Written by Rowan

Updated 2017-05-30

Should I outsource or DIY my videos?

A common question we get asked by people who are new to the world of video creation is whether it's better to outsource or make DIY videos. Although I also run a professional video production company, I'm of the view that there are pros and cons to both approaches, and that neither can be considered the universal "best option". Ultimately it comes down to what you or your business needs and can afford to run with. So, with that said, here's what to expect from each option.

Do It Yourself

The obvious benefit to DIY is that you don't necessarily have to spend as much as you would if you were to hire in an external company. Most people have a smartphone with a fairly decent camera these days. While you're unlikely to get Hollywood-level video from it, it's certainly possible to get a usable result without breaking the bank. Our friends at Wistia have some great advice for shooting on an iPhone over on their blog - it's well worth reading if you're interested in making DIY videos.

The great thing about doing the video yourself is that you can shoot little, often and get the videos out quickly. Whether you're shooting video to go on Vimsy or simply making quick social media posts, with a DIY solution you're always armed to capture unique moments as they happen – and by having video clips of these moments ready to go, you can potential save money later down the line by incorporating this footage into high level professional content level. For example, I've worked on professional video projects where the client has supplied clips from a GoPro camera that simply wouldn't have been possible to capture during my limited time on site with them. The impromptu nature of DIY gives you a little bit more flexibility than you would have if you were hiring someone in.

However, the primary downside to the DIY approach is that it relies solely on you or someone within your business taking time out to make the videos. Can you spare time to not only film the videos but also to learn how to make them professional enough that they can represent you or your company? Video can be quite tricky to master when you consider the framing, lighting, movement, sound and – the hardest part – the editing.

While you can buy a lot of accessories to make your DIY videos look better, like tripods and microphones that work with your phone, there comes a point where you've spent so much money and time making a DIY video that you could have booked a professional and had the video made twice as well in half the time. If you're making a one-off film then I usually encourage people to seriously consider outsourcing, but if you're going to be making videos regularly as part of a longer term strategy then perhaps the extra effort will be worth it. Something to consider!

Hiring a Professional

When you run a professional business it’s important that your business looks professional. The moment your business starts to look unprofessional you’ll start losing opportunities. Professionalism is the basis of credibility, reliability and integrity which, at least for me, are traits I look for in companies I buy from.

Just as you wouldn’t create your company logo in Microsoft Paint, or at least I hope you wouldn’t design your company logo in Microsoft Paint, you shouldn’t really film externally facing content for your company on an iPhone. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and both examples would produce a functional result, but neither would be particularly professional.

Access to better equipment is only one aspect of hiring a professional, but I generally like to compare cameras to hammers. If you don't know how to use a hammer then buying an expensive hammer won't help you hit a nail into the wall. You'll just end up making even bigger holes. Skill and experience can’t simply be bought on a shelf; they take time to develop and accrue. But skill and experience can be hired, which is what you do when you bring in a professional.

When you hire a professional video production company you're hiring people who know a lot more about making videos than you do, which means the job can be done a lot quicker and more efficiently. It's exactly the same principle as hiring an accountant to file your taxes for you. You're more likely to get more bang for your buck when you consider what your time is worth alongside the cost of similarly professional equipment, especially for smaller one-off projects, and a professional won't make the easy mistakes that you will when you start making DIY videos. The immediate benefit of outsourcing is that your videos are far more likely to look right first time than a DIY creation.

Conclusion

DIY video works best when you’re creating something for internal use, or as an investment in a long term video strategy. Want to motivate your team? Sure, record a fun video using your smartphone and share it around internally. It’s a great boost for morale. Planning on recording several videos a month? Perhaps it's best to buy a camera and learn those skills yourself - it can be fun! But when it comes to creating something that represents your brand, organisation and ethos, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

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