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On-Location Video vs. Studio Video: Which is Right for Me?

By Mack Hawthorne

Every business needs a video (or several) – they’re one of the strongest, most succinct, and most sincere ways to get your messages across to your intended audience. Something we often get asked is, “Should we shoot the video at our location, or yours?” It’s an important question to ask, but there’s no universal answer we can give every client. Every client’s needs are different; and so are the strengths of each shooting environment.

Let’s break down these strengths – what each method is good for, and why they are the right choice for you.

On-Location: The Personal Touch

1. If the value your business provides is visible and tangible, shooting on-location is an absolute must. Some examples of this are obvious – eateries present their food and atmosphere, blue collar businesses present their workmanship and “before-and-afters” – but just about every business provides something that a designed set does not; an authentic, personal touch. Think about it like this, if the background of your shot is a plain studio wall, the only personality conveyed in that shot is that which the talent provides. But most of us don’t work in a completely sterile environment – our desks are covered in family photos and trinkets, our walls are plastered with postings and certificates, and even our choice of chair and desk conveys something about us. Shooting in the environment that you’ve made your own lends more of yourself to the shot, making it more interesting and personable to any and all viewers.

2. One of the most important things we shoot is B-Roll. These are natural shots of you, your business, your employees, etc. While facsimiles of this can be created with stock footage (generic video shot by other studios) and photos treated with the “Ken Burns” effect (where a still photo is panned at a slow speed to create the illusion of movement), the value you get from shooting actual content is insane in comparison! The strength of video in general lies in showing clients what you do. It’s hard to bring a construction site or a signature hamburger with you, and B-Roll strengthens that message by showing, not telling.

3. Because going on-location has a certain commitment to it already, it’s only natural that the process includes shooting enough content for several videos. While there’s always several important shots we have in mind for a single shot before going to a shoot, there’s opportunities for dozens of other shots in between each of these. This means that, when you have another idea for a video six months in the future, we will have much of what we’d need to make it already, saving you time and money in the long run.

Here’s some perfect examples of fully on-location videos we’ve produced:

Studio: Complete Control

1. Is the lighting in your office awful? Is your ventilation, fridge, or coworker too noisy to allow for good audio? That isn’t the case for our studio. While we are a whiz at correcting flaws in posts, not every flaw is salvageable. We can get perfect lighting and audio by shooting in our controlled environment. No cars, no phone calls, no fan noise – all you.

2. We do all of our work in a timely manner, but shooting in our studio cuts your time commitment in half. The studio is already set up when you come in, the script is prepared in advance, and we can shoot your entire component as quick as 15 minutes!

3. Setting up equipment at your location takes time, and can pose obstacles to your working environment. Getting everyone to quiet down, keeping uninvolved people out of the shot, and ensuring no employees or visitors trip over the necessary cables, can be more of a hassle than you’re willing to deal with. Shooting at our location eliminates all of that – it’s completely unintrusive.

Here’s some perfect examples of fully in-studio videos we’ve produced:

The Best of Both Worlds

Both options have strengths on their own, as you’ve seen. But another great kind of video is one that utilizes the strengths of both. When you pair on-site B-Roll and job shots with a well-lit and mastered studio testimonial, you end up with a video that’s incredibly powerful on both sides of the coin. This results in strong direct examples of the value you provide, with a professional quality structure that backs up your argument.

Here’s a perfect example of a hybrid video we’ve produced:

Which is Right for Me?

This blog will give you ideas about which shooting method is right for your company, but the advice was generalized. We will be happy to provide a more specific and structured suggestion for you and your business. Contact us today to make your dream video a reality!