7 Things You Need to Start Your Own Video Production Company
Ready to start your own video production company? Here are 7 things to keep in mind.
There’s never been a better time to start your own video production company. The state of the industry has been in a full-blown revolution for well over a decade, and video production continues to find new avenues.
Whether you’re starting small and looking to shoot solo or DIY projects, or you already have a company vision and several partners or employees lined up, here are seven essential considerations that you’ll need to address to get your own video production company up and running.
1. Name and LLC
While this doesn’t have to be the first step you take (you can always gear up, find clients, and start working as an individual freelancer first), settling on a company name and filing the LLC paperwork should be your first official act of business. Choosing a name can be fun, but it can be more work than you’d think. You’ll need to find something clever that reflects yourself, but it also needs to be unique, and it can’t infringe on any other company’s name.
Here’s a good resource to search for availability; you may also have to search in individual states or countries. For filing your LLC, you’ll have to register and incorporate your business with your local state government. This is very important, as it will ultimately protect you in case of damages or debt (but it can’t save you from bad business decisions). You should also consider setting up a business bank account and insurance in your new business’s name.
You’ll need a website for your company. Video production websites vary in size and speciality, but having at least a simple and informative spot to share your company’s work contact info is a must. From there, you can build all manner of pages covering everything from pricing to blogging.
Getting started is pretty quick, easy, and cheap — especially with templates available from the major hosting companies like Wix or Squarespace. You can also use social video channels like Vimeo or YouTube as your de facto websites when starting off. Even a strong Facebook page can help direct inquiries and potential clients your way.
3. Relevant Work
On your website, social media page, or in person, you’ll want to promote your work as an example of your production company’s capabilities. If you’re just starting out, you can always use old video that you’ve already shot, or you can go out and create a fresh demo video. Ideally, once you get a client and do a job, this work will be one of your best examples moving forward.
4. Find a Go-To Rental Resource
While many will say this is an absolute necessity, it’s actually very possible to start a video production company before you own your own camera. A project-by-project camera rental model is a great way to start a business if you’re looking to save hard cash at the beginning. If there aren’t any brick-and-mortar rental houses in your area, you can always consider some online rental platforms like LensRentals, BorrowLenses, ShareGrid, or one of these resources.
5. A Good Base Camera
That being said, if you’re ready to invest and you’re shooting consistently, now is one of the best times to buy your camera. Not only is the mirrorless camera revolution heating up, but prices for cameras that have just recently been outpaced by newer models or updates are dropping to very reasonable levels. Here are some great resources to check out for your starting investment:
- The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Filmmakers and Videographers
- You Can Build a 4k Cinema Camera for Under $1,500
- The 6 Best Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000
6. Audio and Lighting Setup
Similar to the camera advice above, making hard investments in audio, lighting, and other video production gear is not always necessary. Until you’ve proven that you need to buy rather than renting additional gear, renting can be a great way to stay within your budgets even streamline your billing by passing rental costs directly to your clients.
But, there are always great options once you’re ready to invest. Audio is pretty straightforward, as you’ll need a good mix of mics (shotgun, lapels, etc.) and audio recorders. However, lighting can be more open-ended, so you can mix and match kits and even use DIY and other creative options.
7. Friends and Resources
Having worked both freelance and in-house at a small video production company, I can tell you that the mindsets aren’t very different between the two. When you’re starting solo, you have to think in terms of what you can accomplish by yourself versus what another person would add (and cost). Once you find yourself with a full-time team, the game becomes finding the best ways to maximize everyone’s time and effort.
Either way, a strong network of shooters, editors, and producers is very helpful.
Cover image via gnepphoto.
Looking for more info on finding clients, pitching projects, and running a successful video production company? Check out these links.