Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
Video is one of the most effective ways to increase applications for your school. In our age of falling role numbers and stiff competition for schools to attract students, video is king. With a competing number of video providers to choose from, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? How do you make sure the result is the best possible school promotional video?
Here are our top tips for getting the perfect video that captures your school in the very best light.
So, where do you start? Do you just Google “school promo production company" and start mindlessly working through the results? Well, if you don't have a history of working with a company, that's one way to approach it. But, is there a way to be more strategic so that your video will have better results.
Here are our top tips on how to choose the right company for your school promotional video.
It’s really important to spend time with the person or team you will be working with to create your video. You will get the chance to talk through your ideas and hear their opinions. You'll get a good feel for whether you have the chance of creating a wonderful promo together. Making time to get all of the key people involved in the same room will make your decision about who to choose so much easier. Schools are often required to get three quotes before spending over a certain amount of money, but just googling and emailing will not allow you to genuinely compare companies.
Video production may be cheaper than you think and, after a discussion with the company, they may be willing to do a deal that puts you under the limit for requiring the three quotes, or may be able to split the production into distinct cheaper components. These deals are only likely to happen face to face, so it’s always worth trying to see if you can get a great deal.
Even if geography means that it isn't possible to meet face to face in the first instance, at least insist on an online meeting where you can see the whites of their eyes!
There are loads of video production companies out there; ranging from some who have made a few web promos for local businesses to others who work on feature films and produce TV ads for the likes of Calvin Klein, but would any of them actually be any good at producing promos for schools? Schools are unique and do not operate in the same way as businesses. School staff are are made up of genuine, caring, professionals who want their pupils to make the most progress that they can and want to encourage others to do the same. Teachers, parents and children know what an outstanding school looks like. Does a marketing professional, or a local video producer?
Putting aside the big vision aspect for a moment, you will need to ensure that the people you’re inviting into your school will make your staff and students feel comfortable. Whilst teachers are used to standing in front of hundreds of pupils every day, many get shy in front of a camera; if the videographer is used to working with professional actors, this may infuriate them, leading to your staff felling embarrassed or stressed, which will not result in a good end product or experience for anyone. Having a cameraperson who can’t talk to and get the best out of children will end in a similar way. Schools work to a very rigid timetable and you will need a production company who are sympathetic to working within that structure and who know that filming students after lunch or on a windy day isn’t going to get the best results!
Finding a company that specialises in school video production, or with a strong background in working with schools, will help to ensure the project runs smoothly with the best results. If you can’t find a company with this pedigree, ensure that you have a clear vision of how you want to promote the school before meeting with them.
Take time to find out who is going to be bringing your project to life. You’ll want to know:
Every production company worth their salt will have examples of their work – don’t be afraid to ask to see them. It will give you a fantastic feel for what they are capable of producing. You'll get a great feel for what you can expect from the final product. It’s a fast-moving industry and last year’s techniques and durations quickly become old news. If you are going to invest in a video, the least you can ask for is that it feels fresh and new so people watch it.
Do they offer a set price for a set range of services, or are they likely to be flexible?
Schools don’t have the time or the money to invest in a promo video for it to be a disappointment. There are many reasons why things may not go according to plan; key members of staff may be off on filming days, the weather may be disastrous, the hall may be being used for something else or even an unannounced visit from Ofsted! So you need to be clear that the company is flexible and can work around these problems, if they only agree to one day of filming and you can’t get everything filmed, what happens?
Ensure you discuss their flexibility in your initial meeting. Schools very often won’t have specific deadlines to meet. Make sure that the company you choose doesn’t take advantage of this and ensure that you have agreed deadlines for drafts along the way. If your school does have a specific deadline as you have an opening evening looming make sure that the production company can commit to a deadline that works for you.
In almost all situations, the production company will shoot more footage than they need; what will they do with the extra footage? Ask if they can cut different versions of your promo, or edit mini-clips for social media etc.
This may seem like another no brainer and a standard business practice, but it's one that we rarely see schools taking the time to do. When interviewing the prospective video company, ask if they will give you contact information of past clients. Give the schools a ring and ask if they were happy with the service; if not, you already have a big red flag.
Take the time to research as many video production companies as possible. Many won’t give details of price, but give them a ring and see what they come up with. Have an idea about how much you can afford to spend. See if you can get companies to agree a ballpark figure of what you can afford. There is quite a lot of competition and you may be surprised at some of the prices you can negotiate.
Ultimately it’s the quality of your video that matters above all else. You need to gauge whether a video production company cares more about quantity or quality.
Passion, creative flair and experience of working in schools is far more important than the price. Often some of the cheaper, smaller companies may be able to offer this far more than the bigger ones.
Work with people you like! We’ve made genuine friends with people at the schools we’ve worked with and had some amazing experiences. When the time comes to refresh their videos, we’ll be back there like a shot. We know they’ll welcome us with open arms.
At Schudio we come up trumps in all the questions above. Give us a call to discuss how we can provide an outstanding promo for your school.
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