5 Things to consider before producing your own in-house video content

One of the most satisfying parts of my job as a video professional is seeing the finished product from a client who's produced their own content.

It's a great moment when they realise that it is possible to write, shoot, edit and publish their own video content to a professional standard.

But that doesn't happen overnight. Whether you're getting help from a professional or doing it all yourself, there are valuable lessons to learn and important decisions to be made along the way. Here is what I think are the top five considerations an organisation needs to make when deciding how to get the most out of their video content.

1. Where can video be used across your organisation?

You may have a specific focus in mind for your video content, but you should also consider how other business departments could benefit from video too, such as HR, marketing, sales and training.

Organise brainstorming sessions with each of these departments to determine whether video has a role to play. If it does, you could save money and resources in the long run by planning a wider content strategy from the beginning.

2. Do you have space for a dedicated studio?

Setting aside a dedicated area in the office for webcasting will save you the time of setting up lights, tripods, microphones and other equipment every time. This can take 30–45 minutes for every weekly session, which adds up to half a day in lost productivity over a month.

It may not happen right away, but you should consider working towards a walk-in/walk-out scenario for your content creators, who just have to switch everything on and start shooting. If you're worried about your set-up being disturbed by cleaners or other people during the week, make sure the room stays locked when not in use.

A webcasting studio should ideally be in a quiet part of the building and manual control of ceiling lights and air conditioning. Ambient light from outside will affect the look of your videos and can be controlled using sun blockout blinds. If you're shooting against a green screen, make sure you either have a wall painted green or a green backdrop you can easily pull down.

3. Do you have the people?

To create video content, you need a cast and crew. There's no point investing in equipment and setting up a studio if you don't have people to make it all happen. You need people who are happy to be in front of the camera and working behind the scenes writing scripts and producing your video content. If you can't find these skills or passions within your organisation, you'll have to look outside and hire experienced professionals.

The old theatre saying “the show must go on” also applies to corporate streaming. Whether you're recording a weekly video or podcast, you need to have back-ups for key personnel so that if your camera operator's out of town or your presenter's got a cold, your loyal audience won't miss out. Having an understudy for every role sends a clear message that you take your video content seriously and value your audience.

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4. Can you afford the equipment?

To create high quality video content that people will love to watch, you need high quality equipment. The good news is that quality video gear has never been cheaper and will last you many years. It's also less likely to fail and cause downtime.

However, you should be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, such as overseas sellers on websites like eBay that don't offer returns if the item you receive is faulty or not as described. Stick to local suppliers and check Amazon reviews to see what other content creators say about brands and products to help you decide which ones to buy.

If you'll be shooting outdoors, you'll also need to buy cases for lugging the equipment. Make sure these include padded foam inserts to protect your cameras, lights and other fragile equipment from damage, and make sure everyone on your team knows to look after and respect the equipment.

5. Are you committed?

Building an audience takes time and requires commitment, but your focus should be on quality over quantity. Creating a content strategy will make sure you don't run out of topics to cover, and you should also avoid overstretching yourself by limiting the number of episodes you deliver all at once.

Trying to maintain a weekly show for an entire year can be draining, so it's a good idea to stick to between 5 and 8 episodes at a time. Make sure your audience knows that you'll be taking a break and will return on a scheduled date so they can look forward to it. You're not producing Game of Thrones, but when you build an engaged audience who love to watch your content, it's the same principle at work.

Making the decision to begin producing regular video content is a brave one, and should only be made after a consultation with your colleagues. After all, you're putting your brand out there. As long as you're serious and committed to producing high quality video content, you can make sure “Channel You” is a success and doesn't become “Channel Fail”.