Updated: Nov 6
When you see a great commercial or music video, do you ever wonder how many people it took to make it happen? What are the rolesose people actually do?
What roles are involved in commercial video production?
Whether you hire a film production company or plan to employ individual contractors, several key roles must be filled to complete the production. The roles listed below should be filled in the order they are presented for the best results. With each position making a noticeable impact on the final product, it’s crucial that you thoroughly vet each candidate or the company you plan to hire.
To help understand the video production process, consider the music video for Miley Cyrus’s song, Wrecking Ball.
The essential roles of a video production team include
Director: responsible for overseeing the creative vision of the video and working with the other members of the crew to bring that vision to life.
In the case of the Wrecking Ball video, the director was Terry Richardson. It is likely that Richardson had a strong hand in shaping the controversial and provocative nature of the video, as he is known for his edgy and often controversial style.
Camera operator: responsible for operating the camera and capturing the footage for the video.
The camera operator on the set of Wrecking Ball would have been responsible for capturing the shots of Miley singing and swinging on the wrecking ball.
Sound technician: responsible for recording and mixing the audio for the video.
The audio technician on the set of Wrecking Ball would have been responsible for recording Miley's vocal performance and mixing it with the background music.
Lighting technician: responsible for setting up and operating the lights used in the video.
The lighting technician on the set of Wrecking Ball would have been responsible for creating the lighting setup for the shots of Miley singing and swinging on the wrecking ball.
Editor: responsible for cutting and assembling the footage into the final video.
The editor of the Wrecking Ball video would have been responsible for cutting the raw footage captured by the camera operator and putting it together into the final edit of the video.
Production Manager: responsible for managing the schedule and budget of the production, coordinating the work of all the crew members, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
The production manager on the set of Wrecking Ball would have been responsible for managing the schedule and budget for the shoot and ensuring that everything ran smoothly.
Actors: if your video requires actors, you'll also have to hire them.
Miley Cyrus was the sole actor in the music video for the song Wrecking Ball.
Art Director: responsible for creating the visual concept and design of the video, including sets, costumes, and props.
In the case of the Wrecking Ball music video, the art director would have worked with the director and other production team members to create a concept for the look and feel of the video. They would have been responsible for deciding on things like the set design, props, costumes, and other elements that contribute to the video's visual style. They would have collaborated with other departments, such as lighting and camera, to ensure that all the visual elements were cohesive and worked together to create the desired atmosphere. Additionally, the art director may have been responsible for finding and selecting the location for the shoot, as well as overseeing the construction of any sets or props that were used. The art director plays a crucial role in bringing the director's vision to life and creating a visually stunning and cohesive production.
*This list is not exhaustive, and depending on the nature of your video, you may need additional roles, such as a makeup artist, scriptwriter, and so on.
What If I Want to Hire a Team to Make a Video for Me or My Business?
Will you source experts for each role, or should you hire a video production company complete with everything you need, including a film crew?
Hand-selecting several video production professionals can eat up a significant amount of time and resources. The process generally involves finding available professionals, reviewing resumes, portfolios, demo reels, price negotiations, and excellent organization skills to keep track of all this information for each position. The benefit, however, is that you can have more creative control over the project.
On the other hand, hiring a production company is a one-and-done scenario where you won’t have to repeat these steps for each position on your production crew. A production company can also help with additional tasks such as securing permits, renting equipment, and providing marketing strategies, including distribution and performance metrics review.
Production companies that use the SaaP (Service as a Product) method are even easier to hire because they cut out all the back and forth of discovery calls and price negotiation. With these options, you browse all available services alongside transparent pricing and then add services you need to a shopping cart, similar to retail e-commerce.
So how should you hire a film crew for your project? Let’s take a look at both options for sourcing talent so you’re well-informed and know precisely what your business needs and where to start.
How do I find freelancers?
If you decide to hire your film crew individually, you can take a few different approaches. Your best option will be based on budget, time frame, and experience working with similar roles.
These are the most common ways to find freelancers to work on your video commercial:
Online job platforms: Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are popular platforms for finding freelancers in various fields, including video production.
Social media: Many freelancers use social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to promote their services and connect with potential clients.
Professional networks: Reach out to your professional network, colleagues, or industry contacts, to ask for referrals.
Industry associations: Many industry associations, such as the International Cinematographers Guild, the Producers Guild of America, or the American Society of Cinematographers, have a directory of their members who are freelancers.
Online communities: There are many online communities and forums dedicated to video production and other creative fields where you can find freelancers.
When finding freelancers, it's important to thoroughly review their portfolios and credentials and communicate clearly with them about your project requirements and expectations. It's also important to have a signed contract that includes the project's scope, timelines, and payment terms.
How do I find the right production company?
There are important criteria to consider if you decide to hire a production company instead. You’ll want to understand who you’ll be working with, your involvement in the film production process, and the quality of work you can expect.
When looking for a reputable production company to produce your video commercial, there are several factors to consider:
Experience and portfolio: Look for a company with a proven track record of producing high-quality video content. Review their portfolio and check their past work to understand their style and capabilities.
Communication and responsiveness: Look for a company that is easy to communicate with and responsive to your needs. A good production company will work closely with you to understand your vision and ensure that the final product meets your expectations.
Professionalism and attention to detail: Look for a company that is professional in its approach and has close attention to detail.
A good production company will take the time to understand your brand, target audience, and goals for the project and will work to ensure that the final product is polished and professional.
Industry reputation: Look for a company that has a good reputation in the industry and is well-regarded by its peers and clients. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from other professionals in the industry.
Flexibility and adaptability: Look for a company that is flexible and adaptable to changing needs and can handle any unexpected challenges that may arise during the production process.
Cost and value: Look for a company that can produce high-quality work within your budget. It's important to find a balance between price and value and to not compromise on quality to save on cost.
So, which is better?
As a producer, it's your responsibility to find and hire all the necessary roles for your video commercial production. Whether it's better to employ individual freelancers or a production company to manage everything depends on various factors. These include your budget, the scope and scale of the project, and your own experience and resources.
Hiring a production company to manage everything can be a good option if you have a limited budget and want to outsource most of the work. A production company will take responsibility for the entire project, from setup to distribution. They often have an in-house film crew that includes all the necessary roles, such as a director, camera operator, sound technician, etc.
This can save you time and effort in finding and hiring individual freelancers and also gives you access to a team that has experience working together and can bring a high level of quality to your project. It’s a good option if you don't have the resources or expertise to assemble and manage your crew.
On the other hand, hiring individual freelancers can give you more control over the creative process and allow you to handpick the crew members you feel are the best fit for your project. However, it’s important to remember that you also need to sell yourself and your project, giving the freelancer film crew a reason to want to work with you.
This option can be especially beneficial if you have a specific vision for your commercial and want to ensure that it's executed exactly as you envision it. However, managing a team of freelancers can be more time-consuming, and you'll need to ensure that you have the resources and experience to effectively manage and coordinate the crew's work.
Ultimately, the decision depends on your budget, the scale of your project, and your own experience in the industry. It's always a good idea to research and get recommendations from other professionals before making a decision.
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About Altered State Productions
Situated at the crossroads of creativity and technology, Altered State Productions crafts media masterpieces that deeply resonate. Their Brand integration, amplified by a strategic agency partnership with SEMrush, doesn't merely tell stories—it shows that there is science in art.