Maybe you’re a seasoned event planner and have hired video teams for a long time or maybe you’ve been suddenly voluntold to plan an event for your non-profit, business or association. Suddenly, another ‘To-Do’ on top of the other million ‘To-Do’s’ has manifested itself on your list. Don’t panic (or panic too much), in this article I will lay out everything you need to be aware of (and more) when hiring a video team to record your event.

Event Planner Thinking About a Video Team

1. Don’t Wait to Think About Contacting Your Video Team.

The worst thing you can do is wait until the last minute to contact a video company or videographer and expect them to be available for your shoot. You might get lucky, you might not. If you’re planning your event 3 months or more in advance, now is the time to put together a list of potential vendors.

Which vendors you seek out should be determined by the purpose of the video recording, level of importance and the available budget. Regardless of the size of your event, there are three types of companies you could go to find a capable video team.

  • An A/V – Event production business: These companies work events as their primary business. They will usually provide staging, audio support, lighting and video production in one shot. They are a one-stop shop and operate small to large venues. If they’re been in business long enough, they are probably booked well in advance.
  • A video production company: There are many flavors of video production companies out there, some produce a mix of training, promotional and event videography. Carefully assess their capabilities against your needs because they might not have everything you need.
  • A freelance videographer: Not a bad choice if you can find one with a good reputation and an ability to cover your needs. If you have a small board meeting or low attendance / low importance event, they will likely be friendlier to your budget.

2. Assessing Your Needs

You should ask yourself some of these questions before hiring a video team in order to identify your needs for an event.

  • Will this event need to be broadcast or live streamed? Your local public television affiliate can likely help you if it could benefit from broadcasting.
  • How well produced does this need to be? Is this for archival? Can we use this video to promote our business/cause?
  • Do I need to get permission to film the audience? The presenters?
  • What can comfortably be handled by the in-house staff of the venue (hint: call and ask)?
  • Will the venue be supportive of me bringing an outside video crew?
  • Do I need to collect or prepare graphics/logos/names of presenters in advance of the presentation?
  • What is my exposure, from an insurance standpoint, if a camera falls on an audience member?

If you’re developing video for narrative/promotional purposes, then speaking with a producer should be a priority. If it’s a straightforward event, a videographer is fine. In any case a project manager would likely have the title of “producer”, but it varies by company.

3. Assessing Your Video Team

This can be a bit challenging because you might be intimidated by the technical jargon. A good video producer or sales rep at the video production company should answer all your questions, make it crystal clear as to what’s happening and even help you determine what level of support you require. If you’re looking for more tips on hiring a videographer, check out our two-series blog post, tips for hiring a videographer for professional speakers part 1 & part 2

Some questions to ask yourself to assess your team.

  • What’s their reputation like? Have you been able to speak with customers who’ve had similar needs?
  • Are their terms clear and easy to understand?
  • What % of the budget will they need in order to commit to an advance date?
  • What type of cameras are they going to be using?
    • DSLR camera’s should be a NO as a primary camera for any event as they’re not optimal for recording video. An “ENG” or fixed-lens camera makes sense.
  • Do you own all the footage rights (aka is it a “work for hire” agreement)?
  • Is there a clear process for retrieving footage after the event?
  • What is their process for maintaining a safe work environment during the event? (do they even have one?)
  • Are they visiting the location prior to filming to scout it? Is that part of the quoted estimate? (hint: a good team will scout in advance, when possible.)
  • What are they doing to protect against audio loss or equipment failure? (Pro videographers have different methods of redundancy in capturing audio to avoid complete loss if something fails).

4. Think Beyond The Event

Now that your video team has successfully captured and delivered the video, you can upload it to YouTube and be done with it, right? Wrong!  Think of some of the ways your recorded event could be used to support your cause and go for it!

  • Can segments be used for blog posts or e-mail newsletters?
  • Can this video be shared with, linked to and promoted by organizations within my industry or by my national association?
  • Can any of this be used for training my team?
  • Can this video footage be put behind a paywall and monetized?

At this point, you’re only limited by what is on the video footage and your imagination.