Video Testimonies: DIY or Hire a Pro Team?

In our work, we do a lot of customer/patient testimonies, doctor bio and education videos, and group interviews or conversations. Clients often ask us which option is better for their video project — a do-it-yourself approach, or hiring a video team? There are pros and cons to each option. Here are the things to consider when making this decision:

1. How much technology and time do you have?

Creating your own video requires, at a minimum, a camera to record the footage and a computer to edit the footage. Most clients who are thinking about DIY have both of these things. For basic videos, these technologies are sufficient. But the added technology you receive with a pro team – audio, lighting, advanced editing, and more options for file exports—can create a much more polished final product.

Additionally, we find that most clients drastically underestimate the time they will spend shooting and editing their videos. Depending on your DIY editing ability, one 3-5 minute testimony video could require 5-10 hours of editing. Considering whether you have the time to edit the videos you want is an important consideration.

Of course, if video editing is a hobby or interest and can be done off-hours, that is a consideration as well. Editing time can drop with more practice and training.

2. What’s your brand image?

When people think of your business or practice, what do they see? A premium offering with the best staff, technology, and facilities in the region, or a low-cost offering with average offerings? The technology additions offered by a pro team – improved audio, lighting, and editing – move the final product from a home movie to a professional movie. This improves your brand image and the perception that people have of your business or practice.

One additional word about audio. Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when creating DIY videos is not using, or improperly using, microphones. I’ve seen countless video interviews with decent lighting, a good camera, nice framing, and horrible audio. It ruins the entire video and can make it virtually unwatchable.

The care you show in these little aspects of your video reflect the care you show your customers or patients.

Occasionally, groups succeed with a DIY approach because it feels more “authentic.” By this I mean that it feels more natural, not coerced and not edited or altered. With customer/patient testimonies, authenticity and trust are vital. A good pro team captures this authenticity as well.

3. How will you troubleshoot?

As with any project, there are a number of things that can go wrong or affect your video. In the world of video, here are just a handful of things to consider: Having a clean camera lens and sensor, camera and audio batteries, sound control, camera settings (white balance, focus, brightness, resolution, frame rate), camera card or tape, file transfers, file backup, editing properly based on camera settings, color or audio correction, exporting for web vs broadcast, and adding titles, photos, or b-roll.

Depending on the scope of your video project and skill of your DIY team, having a pro team to troubleshoot may be of immense value in these areas.

4. What’s the end product?

We always start with the overall goals of the video project. If indeed the goal is simply to record a couple patients or customers talking about their experience, A DIY approach is reasonable. But we often discover that, over time, clients want to build a library of interviews and create longer videos featuring doctor or narrator education woven together with patient/customer experiences. The larger the scope of your project, the more value a pro team brings to the table.

The value added by pro video teams — music, lighting, audio, advanced editing, troubleshooting, efficiency, modern equipment, proper shoot settings, file export experience — can add a ton of value for businesses and practices and save a lot of heartache. Unless you have a skilled DIY team and a significant investment in quality equipment, I believe hiring a pro team both provides value and reduces risk.

MJM has worked with pro video teams around the country and is happy recommending video partners to meet your needs.