If you’ve ever considered developing video content, you’ve probably faced the dilemma of deciding whether or not to use in-house talent – like an employee – or professional talent, like an actor or actress for your video content. When making this decision, there’s a few pros and cons you’ll need to consider.
Creating professional content requires a detailed understanding of strategy and the steps required to achieve your goal. When developing a corporate video at a high level of quality it might seem like the right decision to go directly to an internal employee to represent the brand, but – while often budget-friendly – this decision should be completely situation-dependent.
The best thing to do is to start with your objective and work backward toward the decision between internal and professional talent. For instance, when developing a recruitment video, it makes the most sense to utilize real staff to describe the community, culture, benefits and perks of working for the business. The same could be true if you’re highlighting a very technical product or service where you’ll need an internal subject matter expert on camera.
A situation where you are more likely to use outside talent or professional talent could include a commercial with heavy dialogue or a promotional video that requires an animated delivery with a particular look and feel. A lot of employees won’t be great on camera, and can’t be expected to memorize dozens of lines.
Pros of Using Inside Talent
Using your employees is a great way to highlight your brand, and to show the authenticity of your culture. Also, if you have an employee that are client-facing, they’ll be recognized by your clients when they see the video. Another pro of using an internal team member is the cost upfront. There is generally little to no cost to using staff in your video.
Cons of Using Inside Talent
Even though you may have somebody that does well speaking in front of people or in public, it doesn’t always mean it’ll translate in front of the camera. Sometimes being in front of that lens simply makes people uncomfortable, and they seem to freeze up and just don’t know what to do with themselves. This camera-shy coincidence leads to flubbing lines, many retakes and a lot of editing on the back end. So, while it may be cost-effective to use an internal employee up front, it can actually cost you a lot of money on the back end with the time invested in editing out mistakes.
Another con of using an employee is employee turnover. You should consider which employees you’re going to choose to have in your video. If you have any concern that they may not be with the company long-term. Take this into consideration when you’re choosing an employee to be in your internal video.
Pros of Using Professional Talent
The great thing about using professional talent is that you have a pool of people to choose from. As a result, you can get the right look and feel for your video, along with diversity in the video that you may not get with your internal team. You can also audition these people to truly scope them out ahead of time, which is great and can be a time-saver on the back end. You’ll know what you’re getting into, who’s going to be coming in on set and what their capabilities are when you start filming.
The other nice thing with using professional talent is they are usually camera-ready. They’re going to come on set and be ready to go. They know how to read a script, deliver their lines and deliver the professional product that you need for your final video. When you finish production, your video shouldn’t require as many retakes and editing at the end of the day.
Cons of Using Professional Talent
The downside of utilizing professional talent is that they’re not as familiar with your business. It can take them a little bit of time to understand your culture and present the content in the way that fits your brand (but they can do it). One way to avoid this learning curve if there is a lot of technical jargon involved is to have an internal subject matter expert on set with the actor. That way they can answer questions, make sure the actor is not mispronouncing any key terms or misstating any statements and ensure that the content being delivered is accurate.
Another and probably the most obvious con of using professional talent is the cost. Hiring an actor is a much more significant investment than a staff member. However, in our experience here at REBL, we’ve found the balance of up front cost and diminished editing/after-production time investment usually evens out.
In conclusion, there are times using internal talent makes sense for credibility or culture purposes, or if you have a tight budget. However, you always have an option to use professional talent that can up the value and save time on the production of your video in the end. Consider all pros and cons when planning your business’ video production strategy.