Pros and Cons of Bringing Video Production In-House vs Outsourcing

These days I frequently see companies advertising for in-house video production staff.  This trend makes sense since video is being consumed online more than ever, and it’s a critical part of any company’s marketing and communication strategy.  I worked at a global Fortune 50 company for over 12 years managing their in-house video department and after leaving I started my own creative agency.  These experiences give me a unique perspective on the pros and cons of in-house production and outsourcing.  I grew the Fortune 50 in-house department from 4 full-time people in Silicon Valley to over 40 full-time people globally.  I learned many things along this journey which included many good and some poor decisions.  If you’re at the point where you need to decide where to increase headcount or bring in outside support, I think  my observations will help you.

Pros for In-House Video Production:

  • Employees know the brand, business objectives, and imperatives.
  • They are available to react quickly as needs arise.  
  • The employee has a vested interest in the success of the company since he/she is paid a salary, bonus, and stock in most cases.  
  • The employee gains great insight into the operations of the company by driving process improvements, implementing new technology, and identifying areas where the in-house department can add more value.
  • Convenience of having a staff onsite for impromptu meetings and clients being able to stop by to check on the edit.
  • An in-house team has to prioritize their time and resources along with educating their clients on ROI and company priorities. For example, is it best to shoot a communication video of the VP, or record a 3 day training class that no one will ever have the time to watch?

Cons for In-House Video Production:

  • The employee reduces productivity and lose about 25% of their time to mandatory meetings, trainings, process requirements, etc….  
  • Creativity diminishes since most employees have a style and individual strength, example I had several videographers working for me and I could easily tell just by looking at the footage shot who worked on the project. The result of this is the perception that outside work is better than inside and their work is not fresh or edgy.
  • Most companies want a generalist that can do many roles such as produce, shoot, edit, graphics, etc… “Jack of all trades, master of none” is the issue with this strategy.
  • The larger the department gets, the slower it moves since there are more people to work with on projects and the more processes need to be in place.  
  • Demand for video services fluctuates up and down for a variety of reasons, and although some roles can remain busy like producing, others like editing/videographers are sometimes sitting idle until the next project.   
  • And lastly let’s talk money, I played the ROI justification game with freelance rates vs full-time costs and justified hiring many people this way.  But these employees after a few years with the company and getting standard raises, maybe a promotion, and other benefits, were making more than the industry standard for these positions…many significantly more.

Now, let’s talk a bit about outsourcing Video Production.

Pros to Outsourcing Video Production:

  • Specialized professionals with vast experience working with a variety of clients.
  • Rates can be negotiated for a variety of roles and put into the vendor contract.  
  • Most Vendors are going to provide outstanding customer service to ensure they continue doing business with you.  
  • There is no costly outlay of capital needed for equipment since the vendor provides everything.  -The ability to still have people work onsite full-time, but they work for and are managed by the vendor who is paying them a fair market rate to maximize the ROI.
  • Outsourcing can provide more creativity since the vendor is exposed to many other companies.
  • Acts as a deterrent to “nice to have” vs “must have” video projects which results in saving the company money.
  • Enthusiastic professionals who love what they do.
  • The ability to scale up and scale down as needed for optimal ROI.

Cons to Outsourcing Video Production:

  • It is challenging to find a vendor that understands your brand and can deliver the creativity and quality you desire.  
  • There are lots of home grown video production companies out there, but not many have the experience of working at a corporation first and then doing video production.  
  • It is challenging for a vendor to respond quickly if you need a shoot that same day and often they will charge a rush fee for anything with less than 48hr notice.  
  • Building professional relationships is more difficult when you aren’t in the same office together and communication is essential as business priorities will change.   


If I found myself in-house again my video production department model would be simple.  I would outsource video production to a vendor and do a hybrid with a mix of onsite full-time people and freelancers. The onsite full-time people would consist of producers and a production coordinator.  Producers, by being onsite, will get to know the company values, brand, priorities, and build relationships with clients. The other positions can scale up and down with freelancers as needed.  This mix will maximize the return and provide a valuable service to your company.

Still have questions? Four Winds Creative can help. Please contact me if you’d like to create a strategy with maximum return on your investment for your long term corporate video production needs.  


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