In-House Production vs. Outsourcing to a Video Agency?

Contemplating whether to create videos in-house or to delegate to video agency professionals? You’re not the only one.

Several statistics and studies have shown that video content is here to stay. According to Statista, 85% of all internet users watched online video content monthly on any of their devices.

monthly consumption stats

Image Source: Oberlo

No matter what your target market is, a good chunk of your audience prefers watching a video over reading text.

Therein lies the dilemma: Should you outsource or handle video production in-house?

So in this post, we’ll put our years of video production experience to work for you and help answer this question.

We’ll go over the pros and cons you can expect from each approach, leading to a practical decision that makes sense for your business.

Video Agency vs. In-House Production

Before we discuss the merits or drawbacks associated with outsourcing or in-house video production, it’s important to understand what the entire video creation process looks like.

It typically involves the following:

  • Building a video content strategy
  • Preparing a video content brief
  • Creating a storyboard for your video
  • Writing a video script
  • Scouting an appropriate location to shoot the video
  • Getting equipped with camera, lighting, mics and props
  • Setting up pre-production
  • Filming the video
  • Editing the video after production
  • Adding any animations, graphics or special effects as required

The reason we are elaborating on the steps is for you to see that it’s a process with several moving parts.

Take storyboarding for example. It plays a crucial role in any video creation effort, particularly when it comes to animated videos.

Creating a storyboard is a collaborative, creative process requiring input from writers, designers, strategists and animators, all working together to weave a theme.

storyboarding process

Image Source: ProductionHub

Needless to say, video production is ultimately a team effort that cannot be carried out solo. In fact, Biteable states that 75% of businesses make videos as a team.

So when creating a video, you require many people, each with a different area of mastery. It is absolutely rare for one person to execute properly on all these levels.

Keeping this process in mind, both in-house and outsourcing approaches have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of In-House Video Production

Let’s consider the in-house option first. For this option, you’ll need to purchase the required video equipment or animation software. Then, you’ll either hire new people or assign video production to the people in your current marketing staff.

Making videos in-house allows you to hire or grow creative talent within your company while utilizing the deep knowledge that your staff already has about your brand.

You also get to keep and re-use the video equipment or animation software you purchased, which is more cost-effective in the long run if you plan to create a lot of videos. Other advantages include:

  • Complete creative control
  • Set your own timelines
  • Easy to reschedule shoots if things go wrong
  • Scrappy videos may seem more authentic to consumers

Cons of In-House Video Production

Having covered the benefits, in-house video production also comes with some challenges.

It’s a bit of a gamble in the sense that you’re relying on people with the right skills coming together to create a live-action or animated video within your budget and time constraints, despite the fact that they have never done it before.

Firstly, it’s hard to be objective and understand your brand’s strengths and weaknesses from a film-making perspective.

Your staff members are also not likely to understand when to drop the company jargon and speak in a more relatable language.

Video production voiceover

Image Source: Bunny Studio

This is important because a 2017 report by Wyzowl confirms that 75% of consumers decided not to buy a product because the video voiceover annoyed them.

Second, navigating the video and animation technologies can be complicated. You may not know exactly what tools you might need, for how long, and how to make the best use of it. In addition:

  • Production capabilities are limited with small teams
  • Asking team members to play actors can be disruptive
  • Each staff member may have to wear multiple hats
  • Salaried staff members are more of an overhead for business
  • High chance of missing deadlines and exceeding budget

Benefits of Outsourcing to Video Agency

As you can imagine, the disadvantages of in-house video creation give way to the benefits of outsourcing to a video agency. If you pick the right video agency, you get a partner with an objective, external outlook.

The partner team may take some time to understand your target audience and brand identity, but they are experts in creating engaging videos from the get-go.

Since video production is what they have been doing for a long time, they have a more well-rounded team. This also ensures that your project schedule isn’t compromised when someone is unavailable.

There are multiple talented individuals to fill different roles and keep the shoot going. Moreover, they’re better at estimating budgets and timelines.

A video agency also brings more sophisticated hardware and software to the table, since video is their core competency. It would not make sense for your business to own such high-end equipment.

Video agency equipment

Image Source: Connect2Software

For example, a Red Digital Cinema camera rig may cost as much as $50,000 in retail. Even if the video agency’s team members use the same software, they may have specialized training on adding 3D animations or other special effects. Other benefits include:

  • Expertise in optimizing videos for conversions and SEO
  • No overhead of hiring full-time resources
  • Creative talent with expert writers and animators
  • Professional actors who are more comfortable in front of a camera
  • No need to assign additional responsibilities to current staff

Cons of Outsourcing to a Video Agency

When it comes to delegating video production to a video agency, the drawbacks have less to do with outsourcing and more with picking the wrong agency.

With outsourcing, you’re trusting someone outside your organization to understand and bring your ideas to fruition.

That’s why the first disadvantage is the time it takes to hire the right freelancer or video agency.

Putting up RFPs (request for proposals), interviewing different agencies, evaluating quotes and then onboarding the agency to align with your brand can be time-consuming.

Video proposal request

Image Source: SmartSheet

Other drawbacks include:

  • Limited control over creatives and timeline
  • Harder to reschedule shoots without exceeding budget
  • Cost per video can be higher than in-house production

When To Use Each Option

So now that we have analyzed both the options in detail, which one should you pick? The following scenarios will help you get started on the right foot.

You can create videos in-house when you’re going for less polish, but more heart and authenticity. For example, company culture videos, social media clips, customer testimonials and internal communications are a good fit for this format.

Your videos will be somewhat quick and scrappy but will reflect more knowledge of your brand, your products and your culture.

On the other hand, delegate to professionals when more is at stake, you want high-quality production, and the project requires advanced effects or animations.

For example, you can hire a video agency for brand clips, homepage videos, adverts, product explainers and sophisticated animations.

Moreover, outsourcing is a great option when your team’s already occupied with other projects, and you need to scale video production fast.

The Final Verdict

While we have discussed when each option would make sense, the good news is you don’t have to stick to one approach. You can have the best of both worlds.

Depending on how much video content you plan to create, you can distribute your efforts between the in-house team and an outside video agency.

The in-house team can create videos based on the availability and strengths of your staff, while the video agency can take care of aspects that the in-house team can’t.

As your business grows, both your teams will learn from each other and get better at managing the trade-offs and saving money.

For example, you'll be able to make decisions like letting the video agency shoot the film or create animated characters, then moving the files in-house to make edits based on your brand’s visual identity.

Eventually, your video agency will get better with a more solid understanding of your brand, while your internal staff will get versed with high-end production values. It’s a win-win!