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What is a Video Making Business?
Video making, also known as video production, involves the creation of videos and films in a variety of genres and industries. A video making business creates high-quality motion content either on an independent basis or for other companies or individual clients. They will focus on the entire process of video production.
Video making involves electronically capturing moving images (videos) on devices such as digital cameras, videotapes, solid-stated storage and streaming media. Videography is an art form, with the videographers being responsible for telling a story through visuals, sound and motion photography.
However, although videography (capturing videos digitally) is an integral part of the video making process, a video making business doesn’t only focus on this. Your business will also focus on specific methods of editing the videos and post-production tasks.
There are multiple different types of video production, on different topics and in different genres. When setting up your company, you may choose to specialise in a particular niche or genre, for example:
- Marketing videos, e.g. televised or online advertising campaigns.
- Wedding or special event videography.
- Brand awareness videos and brand documentaries.
- Product videos.
- Vlogs (video blogs).
- Video tutorials.
- Drone videography.
- Music videos.
- Corporate videos, e.g. employee training videos.
- Nature videos.
Video production differs from film production. Film production primarily focuses on making films and TV shows, whereas video production focuses on shorter content. Although videography can include highly produced, stringently planned and complex projects with a script (e.g. a TV show or scripted video), it most frequently focuses on recording live events and editing and producing the video.
When making and producing videos, there are many different production techniques and aspects you will need to focus on, including:
- Pre-production, e.g. planning the shoot and storyboarding.
- Lighting and light exposure.
- Framing and shooting angles.
- Audio and sound.
- Video capturing strategies.
There are many different responsibilities associated with running a video making business. Although your day-to-day tasks can vary, depending on the type of video you are working on and the stage of production you are focusing on, some of the responsibilities you can expect include:
- Meeting and collaborating with clients.
- Planning the shoot and production with the client and the creative team.
- Conducting market research.
- Ensuring a thorough understanding of operational requirements and project goals.
- Pre-production, including researching, planning and creating storyboards./li>
- Writing scripts.
- Choosing filming locations.
- Sourcing props and wardrobe.
- Ensuring all equipment is present and in good working condition before a shoot begins.
- Setting up the shoot, including camera, audio recording devices, lighting and microphones.
- Troubleshooting any issues with the equipment and performing equipment maintenance and safety checks.
- Filming videos and recording audio.
- Directing camera operators.
- Reviewing and organising the footage.
- Trimming, splicing and combining footage to create a cohesive video.
- Using video editing software.
- Layering audio, adjusting the volume and mixing the sound.
- Syncing the audio with the video.
- Creating a rough cut and a fine cut, including cropping shots, inserting music and audio and adding visual elements.
- Revising the final edits.
- Producing professional-quality videos.
- Communicating with clients, videographers and on-set personnel and acting as on-set liaison.
- Maintaining equipment inventory.
- Creating studio production schedules.
- Regularly evaluating the industry to assess new trends, keeping up to date with any changes or new equipment releases and identifying opportunities for growth.
- Ensuring high levels of client satisfaction.
- Handling quotes and customer payments and preparing invoices.
- Ensuring your business complies with all health and safety regulations and legal guidelines.
- Marketing and advertising.
- Completing business and administrative tasks.
Starting up a video making business can be both financially and personally rewarding. To succeed in this industry, certain skills and qualities can help to make your business a success. In particular, creativity, a passion and talent for creating stories through video and producing and editing videos, and an eye for detail can all be advantageous. You will also require a high level of proficiency with camera equipment and editing software and the ability to configure and operate production equipment, such as audio and lighting. Excellent interpersonal skills are also required, to enable you to communicate effectively with your clients and people involved in the shoot.
Although formal qualifications are not legally required to run a video making business, they can be beneficial and can make your business more desirable. Because camera and production equipment can be heavy and videography involves long periods of time standing while filming, reasonable physical fitness is also recommended.
Types of Customers
Many different clients use the services of a video making business, including companies and individuals.
Your typical clients and target customer base will vary depending on multiple factors, including:
The type of videos you specialise in
This is one of the most important factors in determining your typical customer base. Although some video production businesses choose not to specialise and instead offer their services in a wide range of genres and industries, the majority of videographers opt to focus on one speciality. This allows them to perfect their skills, specialise their production equipment and grow their reputation. If you choose to focus on a particular genre of video production, consider the companies and individuals operating within the genre and who is most likely to use your services.
The locations you operate in
This is another important factor. You may choose to operate in one primary location (e.g. in the town or city where your business is located) or travel to a variety of different locations and areas in order to maximise your customer reach. If you choose to operate in one location, consider how this could affect your typical client base.
Your pricing could have a significant impact on your typical client base. Customers can typically be separated into three pricing tiers:
- Budget: Price is the most important factor for this type of client. They will look for the video making business with the lowest rates, regardless of reputation and experience.
- Mid-range: This type of client is looking for a combination of quality and affordability. Although price won’t be the most important factor, it will be a significant consideration.
- High-end: This type of client is willing to pay the highest prices for the highest quality video production, the most qualified and experienced company, the highest specification equipment and the best possible service.
This is another important factor that many clients will look at when choosing a video production business. They may consider your reputation, look at your customer reviews or decide based on recommendations from others.
Your reputation may be based on multiple factors, including:
- The finished products.
- The quality of your edits.
- The specification and quality of your equipment.
- Your knowledge, experience, qualifications and skills.
- Your interpersonal skills, i.e. how you interact and communicate with your clients.
Your portfolio and experience
Most clients when searching for a video production company, will consider many businesses. An important factor in their final decision is the business’s previous work and experience and their portfolio. They may look at your previous work, for example by watching previous videos you have produced and asking questions about the production process and how you fulfilled your client’s requests. When creating your portfolio, consider the videos you want to include and the typical clients these videos are most likely to appeal to.
Equipment You Will Need
Video making businesses typically have high equipment requirements, with different equipment required for different stages of the video production process.
The process of creating and producing videos can be separated into three phases:
As well as different equipment for each stage of production, different types of video making can also require different types of equipment.
Although the required equipment can vary, below is a list of equipment typically required by a video making business.
This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will purchase.
The camera you choose will depend on multiple factors, such as:
- Your budget.
- The type of video shooting you plan to do.
- The required quality of the footage (e.g. the frame rates and resolution).
- Where you plan to publish the videos.
- Whether you require built-in audio.
There are many different cameras you can choose to purchase, including:
- A DSLR.
- A digital cinema camera.
- A mirrorless camera.
- A GoPro.
- A compact-form camera.
A tripod will keep your camera steady while you are filming. Tripods are helpful for filming static videos and for ensuring a smoother transition when panning across multiple angles. Even if you have a camera with built-in stabilisation, small shakes and movements can still be detected, making a tripod an essential piece of equipment.
There are many different types of tripods to choose from, including:
- Handheld tripods.
- Flexible tripods.
- Studio tripods.
- Suction cup tripods.
When choosing your tripod, consider how flexible it needs to be and your required height. You should also ensure the tripod fits your camera.
Ensuring your camera has appropriate lighting is essential. A camera light allows you to highlight your focus subject (e.g. a person or object); for example, if you are filming a product review, an interview or a documentary. Lighting can also fill in any dark spots and improve the overall quality of your video. There are many lighting options available, with different types of light and light designed specifically for the foreground and background, for shadows and for reflecting.
Some of the lighting you could choose includes:
- Three-point lighting: For illuminating your subject from three distinct positions. It features key light, fill light and backlight.
- Two-point lighting: Two light sources are placed at an approximate 45-degree angle to the subject. Two-point lighting features a key light and a fill light.
- Tungsten lighting: This type of lighting has a characteristic orange flow. The lights emit a smoother spectrum of light, compared to other artificial light.
- Reflectors: If you are shooting outdoors in natural lighting, the sun will act as the key light and two reflectors will be placed to act as the fill light and backlight.
- Ring lights: Also known as Diva lights, ring lights are popular for make-up and beauty videos and for vlogging.
- LED light panels: This type of lighting has constant output and allows you to control the brightness and colour temperature.
When choosing your lighting, you must also choose the types of bulbs and lamps, with the most popular being incandescent, fluorescent, halogen and HMI. You will also need to consider the portability of your lighting kit, the stand height and whether it has an adjustable beam spread.
There are many different lighting accessories to choose from to suit different lighting needs.
Some of your options include:
- Barn doors: A light modifier that shapes and directs light. They also control the spill of the light.
- Scrims: Metal screens that are placed in front of the lighting instrument to reduce the intensity of the lighting.
- Gels: To reduce the intensity of the light and for adding colour to the background or the surfaces of the subject. You can choose colour correction gels, diffusion gels and neutral density gels.
- A softbox: A light modifier that confines light from an artificial lighting source and releases it through a layer of diffusion. It prevents light spill, controls the shape and direction of the light and minimises harsh shadows.
- Mounts: Mounts allow you to put the lighting in unusual positions where the lighting standard cannot reach or fit. For example, you can choose door hanging mounts, mounting clamps and scissor clips.
- Gel frames: Also known as diffusion frames, these are attached to the lighting fixture and allow you to add gels, scrims and other lighting accessories.
Although some cameras come with a built-in microphone, the audio quality is often significantly lower compared to stand-alone microphones. An external microphone allows you to capture all necessary sound and ensures your recordings have high-quality audio.
There are multiple microphones to choose from, including:
- Boom poles.
- Wireless microphones.
- Shotgun microphones.
- Portable digital audio recorders.
- Handheld microphones.
- Lapel microphones.
External microphones are particularly important if you are capturing speech (e.g. interviews, lessons, vlogs and live streams) or if sound is essential to your recording (e.g. if you are recording a concert or musical event).
Depending on the audio you are recording, you may require microphone stands. Microphone stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes and different stands are used for different tasks. Some stands come with a flat base and others with a tripod base. Different stands are also available at different heights and that allow the microphone to be positioned in different ways.
A gimbal is a type of pivoted support that allows an object to rotate on an axes. It allows you to capture smooth, stabilised footage on a moving camera. For videography, three-axis gimbals are recommended as these allow the camera to counteract the different motions of up and down (yaw), left and right (pitch) and forward and backward (roll). Gimbals are used on smaller cameras (such as compact cameras and digital cameras).
Cables connect your microphone to your camera and ensure higher sound quality. You can also use cables to balance the audio signal, connect your camera sound to your computer and transfer musical instruments to the videos.
There are different types of cables, depending on the task, including:
Using a camera lens allows you to adjust your camera based on the type of filming you are doing.
There are many different types of lenses to choose from, including:
- Wide-angle lenses.
- ND filter lenses.
- Prime lenses.
- Zoom lenses.
- Macro lenses.
You will need a state-of-the-art, reliable computer which can be used to run editing software, view the videos and add audio. To ensure your video production runs smoothly, your computer will need to be fast running and high performing. Ensure your computer has a high-quality screen and an ultra-wide monitor for optimum viewing.
Video editing/production software
There are multiple pieces of software you will likely require to edit and produce your videos.
When considering which software is best for you, there are multiple factors to consider, such as:
- Your budget.
- The type of editing you want to do.
- The available features.
- Your editing skills and knowledge.
- The device you are working on (e.g. desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone).
- The devices, websites or apps where your videos will be playing.
Video editing shortcut keyboard
Although not a necessary piece of equipment, for someone who edits videos on a full-time basis a shortcut keyboard can help to save you time. The keyboard makes it easier to access the most commonly used shortcuts for video editing, such as playing forwards and backwards, selecting multiple clips, duplicating a clip, playing in slow motion or regular speed and selecting the audio channel.
If you plan to add any text to your videos, you will need a transcription service. Although you could transcribe your videos yourself, this can be time-consuming. A transcription service can be used for creating captions, adding subheadings and converting speech.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
This will be the primary software you use to record, edit, mix and produce audio on your computer. You can use this software to create and record sounds and music and manipulate sound. DAW can be a separate electronic device or can be application software that is installed on your computer.
A good pair of studio-quality headphones are required when you are compiling shots, editing sound and adding audio. Studio headphones provide high-quality sound reproduction and are best for professional videography.
External hard drive
Hard drives are essential to ensure all your videos are backed up. External hard drives offer you plenty of space to save your work, fast access to your work and a backup in case your computer fails. A hard drive also allows you to transfer the footage from your camera to your computer. Hard drives are available in different memory sizes.
A camera cleaning kit
You can buy an already prepared camera cleaning kit or make your own.
As part of your kit, you will likely need:
- A lens cleaning brush.
- Lens cleaning solution.
- Microfibre cleaning cloths.
- A hand blower (for blowing off any dust).
A camera bag
If you take your camera out of your studio or home, you will need a camera bag to allow you to transport your camera, the lenses and any other accessories safely. Camera bags typically come with different compartments and should close securely.
A camera case
A camera case is necessary if you are travelling long distances with your camera, particularly if you will travel by aeroplane or train. They are strong and robust and will keep your camera securely locked down to prevent any damage. You can also get a case that comes with a handle and wheels so that you don’t have to carry it.
A CCTV system
Because you will be storing expensive equipment and protected videos, CCTV can protect your business from potential break-ins and theft. You can choose a CCTV system based on the specification of the equipment, how many cameras you require, and the installation costs.
A website is a way for potential clients to find your business, see information and photographs of your studio (if relevant) and see the services you offer. Your website can act as your online portfolio, showcasing previous work and client reviews. Ensure your website includes your contact information, your location and a thorough description of your services and equipment. You should also include an about page, a contact page, a blog and testimonials.
A secure storage system
Because you will be storing personal information and a large number of video files, you will need to ensure you have a secure storage system to protect the files. If your computer breaks or contracts a virus, you may lose everything you have stored on your device. Investing in secure Cloud storage that is password protected and encrypted ensures everything is backed up and protected in the event of a technological issue.
An email service
Setting up your own email service using your own domain may be beneficial as your business grows. A business domain can make your business seem more professional and official. Using a public email domain such as @google or @hotmail can look less professional compared to using your own business domain, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to make sure your email service is fully secure and encrypted and abides by email security policies in the UK.
Reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi will be integral to your business as you will need it for much of your software and equipment to function correctly. You will need to ensure your Wi-Fi doesn’t cut out in the middle of a session.
A business phone
A smartphone can be used for keeping in contact with your clients and having constant access to your emails. Having a work phone also helps to keep your business separate from your personal life.
Business cards can be used for advertisement purposes and handed out to clients and potential clients. The business cards should include your business name and logo, the services you offer, your location and your contact information.
You will likely need to issue invoices to your clients and keep them for your own records (and for when you submit your taxes). Digital invoice software allows you to create electronic invoices, send them to your clients and store them safely.
If you have a studio or other premises where you film or edit, you will need to ensure your premises is clean and hygienic and complies with health and safety legislation, particularly if clients, actors or employees will be visiting your premises. Some cleaning equipment you may require includes a sweeping brush, vacuum cleaner, mop, cloths, disinfectant, antibacterial and cleaning products.
Other pieces of equipment are useful to have on hand during a video shoot, for example:
- Memory cards.
- Extra cables.
- A transportable first aid kit.
When you are creating your business plan, an important consideration you will need to make is your expected start-up costs and running costs. Calculating your expected costs allows you to determine your initial investment requirements, your pricing strategy and your profit goals.
There are multiple costs associated with setting up and running a video making business. Some of these costs will be one-off initial costs that you will need to pay when you are setting up your business. Other costs will be ongoing costs you will need to pay regularly – usually weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.
Although the costs can vary depending on the type of video production business you set up, some of the typical costs you can expect are:
Your equipment will be one of your most important purchases. To run a successful video making business, you will require a large amount of equipment. Consult the list above to determine the type of equipment you require. The cost of your equipment can vary significantly, depending on the specification of your equipment and how much equipment you need. You may opt to purchase less equipment initially and then expand your equipment as your business grows. You can expect to spend between £10,000 and £100,000 on equipment.
Maintaining, repairing and replacing equipment
Repairs, maintenance and replacements are ongoing costs you will need to factor into your budget. Although some of your equipment will come with warranties, repairs and replacements are inevitable – particularly because your equipment will likely experience excessive usage. Some equipment will also need to be updated or replaced as new technology is released. Regularly cleaning and maintaining equipment and ensuring it is used correctly can extend its lifespan, but potential repairs and replacements and the finances needed for updating your equipment should still be factored into your budget.
Depending on the type of videography you specialise in and the amount of editing you do, you may need a videography studio or other premises. Unless your choose to set up a home studio, your premises is likely to be your biggest expenditure. You will need to rent your premises on a monthly or annual basis. Rental prices can vary significantly, depending on the location and the size of the premises. City centre locations and newly built premises usually have the highest rental costs. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre. They can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually. Your rental costs may also be higher if you are renting an already established studio.
Refurbishment and installation costs
Unless your premises previously operated as a video production studio, you will need to refurbish or convert your venue to install the equipment you need for your business and to make your premises fit for purpose. If you opt for a home studio, you will need to convert your existing space. The task of converting your space and installing your equipment can be time-consuming and costly. This is because renovating your space to make it acoustically ideal and ensure ideal lighting and installing all your equipment requires specialist skills. You may also want to design your studio to make it attractive to clients and to ensure it fits your brand. Renovation costs can vary, from £500 to £30,000 depending on the level and scale of work required.
Depending on the scale of your business and the size of the projects you work on, you may require staff to fulfil different roles and responsibilities, such as:
- Digital Imaging Technician.
- Audio Technician.
- Camera Operator.
- Production Designer.
You may choose to work with these individuals on a freelance basis, particularly if you require different staff for different projects. However, if you hire these staff on a permanent basis, you will need to pay them at least the national minimum wage and account for other expenses, such as holiday pay, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, National Insurance and any company pension contributions. However, keep in mind that highly trained and skilled individuals are likely to request a higher wage.
If your business requires you to travel to different shooting locations and transport your equipment, you will likely need a car or another vehicle. You could choose to use your personal vehicle or purchase a specific vehicle to be used for business purposes. The cost of a vehicle can vary, depending on whether your purchase a new or second-hand vehicle. Prices typically start at £5,000 for a second-hand vehicle and £20,000 for a new vehicle. You also need to incorporate your vehicle running costs into your budget, including your vehicle insurance, petrol, MOT, services and the costs of any repairs. These costs can vary significantly, depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, the level of insurance you choose and the amount of travel you need to do. Typically, you can expect to pay between £50 and £150 per month.
These are the day-to-day costs associated with running your video making business. Some running costs are paid monthly, and others are paid quarterly or annually. If you open a studio or another business location, your running costs can include electricity, gas, water, council tax and insurance. To maximise your profits, try to keep your running costs as low as possible.
Your business website
A business website is an essential advertising tool, as it allows potential clients to find your business online. You should ensure your website is attractive to customers and use search engine optimisation (SEO) so that your website ranks highly on search engines, such as Google. Your website will need regular monitoring, updating and upgrading. You also need to make sure your website is secure, particularly if you will be collecting any customer information or banking details. You may choose to set up and run your website yourself or hire someone to do this for you. You can expect to pay between £20 and £100 per hour for someone to set up and run your website.
Branding is an essential expenditure for your business. It can help you to establish your business’s identity and set you apart from your competition. Branding could include creating your business’s visual identity, a logo and your business name, and creating your business website. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000, depending on the amount of branding you require.
Advertising and marketing
To ensure your video making business attracts clients and creates maximum profits, you will need to invest in advertising and marketing. It is recommended that you spend between 1%-3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover (or your desired annual turnover) is £150,000, you should spend between £1,500 and £4,500 on advertising and marketing. You may need to invest more money when you initially set up your business or when you are trying to grow your business.
There are multiple coverage options for a video making business, including:
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Personal Accident Cover.
- Unlimited Professional Use.
- Legal Assistance.
- Buildings and Content Cover.
- Employers’ Liability Insurance (if relevant).
- Business Interruption Cover.
- Business Travel Insurance.
- Equipment Breakdown Cover.
Insurance prices can vary depending on the level of coverage you choose and your insurance provider. Prices typically start from £10 a month for a basic level of insurance.
Typical Pricing for Customers
Once you have calculated the expected costs associated with setting up and running your video making business, you can then determine your pricing. Different pieces of equipment will have different rental costs.
Your pricing can vary based on multiple factors:
- The type of video making you specialise in.
- The length of the video.
- The level of editing and producing that is required.
- Your skills, experience and qualifications.
- Your reputation and the demand for your services.
- The type and specification of the equipment you use.
- Your portfolio.
- The location you operate in or the locations you are willing to travel to.
- The amount of time that is required (including planning the shoot and editing).
- The number of crew and staff that are required.
- Your typical client base.
You can choose to charge per hour or per project. Prices can range significantly, from £100 up to £100,000.
Safely Running a Video Making Business
Safety measures and safe practices are essential when running your business. Safe practices can help to protect the health, safety and well-being of you, your clients, the general public and anyone involved in the video and pre- and post-production.
Some ways you can safely run your video making business are:
Be aware of your legal rights regarding the copyright of your videos
Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988), any videos you take are protected by copyright and will be the legal property of you or your clients. This means that any person who wishes to use your videos will need to seek your permission. Copyright lasts for your lifetime plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year of your death. To reduce the likelihood of your videos being used illegally, you can use a copyright notice identifying your ownership and the year the video was filmed. Keep in mind that if your clients purchase your videos, they may include a clause in their contract that states that the video is their legal property, and you cannot use or post the video.
Be aware when using reflectors
If used incorrectly, reflectors can reflect bright light into people’s eyes. This can cause pain, discomfort and even temporary blindness. Ensure you are constantly aware of the angles of the light and where the light is reflecting at all times and that you take extra care when using reflectors.
There are many potential hazards on a set. Controlling these hazards can help to protect the health and safety of you, your clients, the people involved in the video and the general public.
Some potential hazards you should be aware of include:
- Trip hazards – particularly if you have long cables and equipment on your floor.
- Electrical hazards.
- Falling objects.
- Slips and falls.
- Noise hazards.
- Light hazards.
Implement security measures
Your videography and editing equipment is very expensive and ensuring it is protected from theft is important. When travelling to other locations with your equipment, ensure it stays close to you at all times and is locked securely away when it is not being used. If you have a studio, implementing security measures such as a CCTV system and secure locks can help to protect you from potential break-ins.
Although qualifications are not legally required, they are recommended. Not only can qualifications ensure your proficiency in all aspects of video production, but they can also help you to run your business more safely and make your services more attractive to potential clients.
Some of the qualifications you could opt for include:
- A bachelor’s degree in Media Production.
- A bachelor’s degree in Photography.
- A bachelor’s degree in Media Technology.
- A Level 3 Diploma in Creative Media Production and Technology.
- A Level 3 Diploma in Photography.
- A Level 3 Diploma in Film and Television Production.
- Guild of British Camera Technicians’ Trainee Scheme.
Obtain a criminal record check
If you will be filming children or vulnerable people, you will need to apply for a criminal record check to check your suitability to work with vulnerable people.
The type of check you require depends on the country you live in:
- England: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Wales: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Scotland: Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme.
- Northern Ireland: AccessNI.
Properly maintain and set up equipment
Any equipment you use must be properly maintained, correctly set up and safe to use. You must protect yourself and your employees from accidents or injuries caused by equipment. You should also perform regular equipment inspections to ensure your equipment’s safety and help extend the lifespan of your equipment. Maintenance includes regularly checking for faults, regular cleaning and ensuring equipment is functioning correctly.
Check and maintain electricals and electrical outlets
Not only can this save you money by avoiding expensive damage, repairs and replacements, but checking and maintaining electricals and outlets can help to protect your equipment from faults and protect the health and safety of everyone who visits your business or uses your equipment. Implement a system for regularly checking outlets and electrical equipment and ensuring they are up to code.
Health and safety training can help to ensure safe practices in your business.
Some training courses you could opt for include:
- Manual Handling.
- Assessing Risk.
- Health and Safety Level 2.
- Electrical Safety Awareness.
Complying with legal requirements is essential when setting up and running your video production business.
Regulations can vary depending on:
- The types of videos you film.
- The subjects of your videos (e.g. children, the general public, a named brand).
- Whether you hire any employees.
- Whether you are involved in releasing the videos.
Some of the legal guidelines you should be aware of are:
Video Making Regulations
Adhere to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act regulates the recording of conversations. If any of your videos feature genuine conversations (i.e. not scripted or planned conversations), your videos cannot be shared or made public without the participants’ consent. This applies even if the conversation is not the main focus of your video.
Comply with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988)
This Act protects the intellectual property of individuals and requires that anyone wishing to use this intellectual property must seek permission. The Act protects any music, photography and videos that were created after 1st January 1978. You must ensure you do not intentionally or unintentionally sample, copy or use another person’s video, music or photograph without seeking the appropriate permission. If you copy or use another artist, photographer or videographer’s design, images or footage, you could be infringing on copyright laws. Ensure you do not knowingly copy anyone’s work and only use your own videos on your website and in your portfolio. Consult the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for more information or guidance.
Apply for a music licence
If your videos feature music or you play music in your studio, you will need to apply for a licence with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and/or a Performing Right Society (PRS) Licence. You can apply for both a PPL and a PRS online.
Comply with child protection laws
Any child under state school leaving age (either 16 or 18 years of age depending on your filming location) must be licensed by the local education authority. This licence dictates the hours they are permitted to work and any special steps that are required to protect the child. Additionally, you must ensure that you do not take or possess any indecent videos of children below 16 years of age. If you are shooting videos involving children, ensure the videos you take fully comply with the law, regardless of parent requests or the requests of your clients.
Apply for permission from your local authority
If you film on public land, you may require permission from your local authority or council. Public land can include public buildings, roads, green spaces and public car parks. Contact your local authority for more information.
Apply for permission from the police
You may need to apply for permission from the police or inform your local police department in writing if:
- You plan to film on a motorway.
- You plan to use special effects or explosives in your videos.
- You plan to film with firearms or replica firearms.
- Your videos will portray uniformed police officers or marked police vehicles.
Apply for permission for aerial filming
If you plan to use a drone or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), you will need to apply for permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). You will need to apply in advance and give a minimum notice of at least two working days. You will also need to inform them if the activity is likely to be recurring.
Apply for permission for filming in restaurants or shops
If you plan to film inside a restaurant or shop and to show the name or trademark of the restaurant or shop, you will need to obtain written permission from the business owner. You do not need permission if you are filming outside the establishment.
Comply with the RSPCA guidelines on performing animals
The RSPCA guidelines are designed to protect the welfare of performing animals and help your business to ensure you meet the needs of any animals involved in filming. The guidelines were written in accordance with legislation in the UK. You can register your business with the RSPCA to receive a free copy of the guidelines.
Comply with invoice requirements
You may make it standard that you send invoices to all of your clients. Even if you do not make this standard practice, many of your clients will request an invoice.
There are certain pieces of information you should include:
- The word ‘invoice’ and a unique invoice number.
- Your business name and address.
- The client’s name and address.
- A brief description of your work.
- The total you are charging the client and when the payment is due.
- The payment method.
Comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)
Manual handling regulations can help to protect you and any other people in your business from sustaining an injury or illness as a result of manual handling tasks. The regulations apply to a variety of activities, such as the lifting or moving of any objects, bending down, reaching high and repetitive movements. Manual handling is an unavoidable part of video making, particularly for those involved in filming, as camera equipment and other filming equipment (such as lighting) are often large and heavy.
Comply with fire regulations
If you operate from a business premises, you must ensure fire safety measures are implemented, particularly because you are working with electrical equipment and potentially flammable cleaning chemicals. There are multiple fire regulations you must ensure you comply with.
- Perform a fire risk assessment.
- Comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Implement any necessary fire safety measures.
- Implement emergency procedures and ensure these are clearly displayed on your premises.
Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998
PUWER regulations apply to you and any employees you hire. You must ensure any equipment you use in your business is fit for purpose and is maintained and inspected regularly. You must also ensure that health and safety risks are minimised to an acceptable level, that you have the correct knowledge and training to use the equipment, and that protective measures are put into place. Equipment should also be used under appropriate conditions.
Comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)
The Electricity at Work Regulations state that any workplaces that use electricals must construct electrical systems in a way that prevents danger, maintain electrical systems to ensure they are safe, ensure electrical equipment is checked by a competent person annually and conduct Portable Appliance Tests (PAT). You must ensure that any electrical equipment and your electrical systems, i.e. the lighting on your premises, comply with this legislation.
Ensure your website complies with the guidelines
If you set up a website, there are several guidelines you need to comply with, for example, guidelines referring to:
- Privacy policies.
- Cookie legislation. .
- Service descriptions.
You must also ensure your website is accessible to people with disabilities, in line with the Equality Act 2010.
Comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
The Health and Safety at Work Act lays out the duties of businesses in the UK regarding ensuring the health, safety and welfare of everyone in your business. As you are the business owner, you will be responsible for protecting the health and safety of your employees and any visitors to your business.
Prepare a health and safety policy
The law states that every business in the UK must have a specific policy for managing health and safety. Your policy should state exactly how you will manage health and safety in your studio, who is responsible for specific tasks and how and when these tasks are completed. Follow the recommended tips from the Health and Safety Executive when creating your health and safety policy. You should make your policy easily visible to any visitors to your business.
Appoint a competent person
A competent person should be appointed to help your business meet your health and safety legal duties. You can act in this role yourself or appoint another person to fulfil this role. The competent person should have the skills, knowledge and experience to identify any hazards in your business and put controls in place to protect people from harm.
Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013
RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur in your studio. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document. These regulations apply to any incidents that involve you, your employees, your clients or anyone involved in your videos.
Comply with employment legislation
If you employ any staff, you must ensure you follow employment legislation, including the Employment Rights Act (1996) and the National Minimum Wage Act (1998). You must also comply with legislation relating to recruitment, working hours, sickness, discrimination, dismissals, and maternity or paternity pay.
Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with both pieces of legislation when storing or sharing personal information, such as your customers’ personal information, contact details and banking information. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. You will also need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.
Appoint a first-aider
All workplaces in the UK must have an appointed first-aider. In the event of an accident or injury, you will then be able to administer the necessary first aid. Although a first aid qualification or certificate is not legally required, it is the easiest way to demonstrate your first aid training.
Register your business
Your business must be registered with HMRC before you begin operating. You can choose to register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will also need to register your business name and any other relevant information.
Register for self-assessment tax
This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.
As part of your tax responsibilities, you must:
- Record all forms of income and expenses.
- Complete an annual self-assessment tax return.
- Register for VAT if you earn above the threshold (currently £85,000).
- Pay National Insurance contributions.
- Keep a record of your business accounts for the previous five years.
Positives of Owning a Video Making Business
Running a video making business can be rewarding in many ways.
Some of the main pros associated with this type of business include:
By creating and producing videos, you have the opportunity to be creative and express yourself in your videos. As the business owner, you will have the opportunity to influence every aspect of the video making process, including adding your own creative flair to the different phases of the video. You will have the creative freedom to plan and execute your creative ideas.
Choose your speciality
As the business owner, you will have complete control over the type of video making business you set up and the genre and industry you specialise in. You can also choose the typical clients you target and the video making services you specialise in. You can make the best decisions for you and your business, based on what is most likely to be profitable, your industry knowledge and experience and your business preferences.
The trend online has moved drastically towards video content. This is true on all platforms and in many sectors and industries. A growing trend towards video content can be extremely beneficial to your business and can result in high demand for your services. High demand allows you to charge higher prices for your services and can make it more likely for your business to succeed.
Increased video sharing
With the rising popularity of video content and the popularity of video-sharing apps and websites, such as YouTube and TikTok, your videos are more likely to be shared online and have more views. If you create a great video that is informative, entertaining or interesting, your video content will likely be popular, which can increase your business’s popularity.
Gaining exposure for your video making business is relatively easy, especially with the rise of social media. You can post your creations online and utilise platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to reach more people. Your clients may also tag or credit your business or post pictures and videos from the shoot, which can be extremely beneficial to your business.
The popularity of video production is growing year on year, with the industry at an all-time high. With more businesses and individuals seeing the benefits of using videos for a variety of purposes, the demand for your services is likely to be high. High demand makes it more likely that your business will succeed.
Opportunities for travel
Regardless of the genre of video making you specialise in, videography can take you all over the world. Whether that’s filming wild animals in Africa, fashion models in Paris, travel videography in India or celebrity interviews in Los Angeles, your opportunities for travel are endless. If you love to travel, you can choose to specialise in a genre of video making which increases your opportunities to travel.
Make industry connections
You can make connections with other people working in your industry, including videographers, directors, producers, actors, stylists, set designers and experts in your chosen genre. You will be working in a diverse working environment with like-minded individuals and will have the opportunity to network and grow your business and create professional and personal relationships with people with similar interests to you.
Seeing people’s reactions to your videos can be extremely rewarding, particularly if you specialise in a genre or industry you are passionate about. You can capture the most important moments in people’s lives, help a business advertise its products or services or capture inspiring or important videos for the world to see. Seeing the reactions to your work can be extremely rewarding.
Work in an industry you are passionate about
If you are passionate about photography and videography, setting up your own video making business can be extremely rewarding. You can do something you love every day and will have the opportunity to create your own videos and channel your creativity. Profiting from your passion can be very rewarding.
Be part of a great community
The photography and videography community can be a great community to be part of. You will likely create connections with other videographers and artists. People within the photography community frequently inspire each other and share advice and experience on new equipment, trends and the videoing and editing environment.
Be as involved as you want
Once your business is established, you can choose to be as involved as you want in the day-to-day running of your business and the pre-production, videoing and post-production processes. You can choose to hire employees who handle the vast majority of the video production and oversee the editing. You could also opt to hire administrative staff to handle the overall running of your business and any business and administrative tasks. You can be as involved as you want in running your business.
Do what you love
People working in this industry usually love photography and consider creating videos to be their passion. Genuinely enjoying what you do can make your business feel less like work and more like a vocation. You can spend every day planning your projects, filming and editing videos and this can be very enjoyable.
Working in this industry, you will be working on a diverse range of tasks every day, from meeting with clients and planning a project to shooting and directing the video to editing and other post-production tasks. Every day will be different, with different projects, different clients, different tasks and different professionals. A varied working day helps to keep your work interesting.
Opportunities for growth
A video making business has high scalability, meaning that it has the opportunity and capacity to expand and grow easily. Once your original business plan succeeds, you can grow your business, for example, by purchasing more equipment, hiring more staff and expanding your customer reach. You will already have a proven successful business plan and a strong client base and you can utilise these to help you grow your business with minimal stress.
Unlimited income potential
The more experience and exposure you gain, the more successful your business will be. As your business grows and you develop a good reputation, you will see your profits grow. You can even charge higher prices and expand your business to increase your profits. A video making business can have a high income and your profit margins are likely to be high. With a good business plan and strategy for growth, your business could have unlimited income potential.
Customer loyalty and recommendations
If your clients have a positive experience with your business and are happy with the finished product, they are likely to use your services again. Not only does this give you the opportunity to get to know your customers, but customer loyalty can also help you to grow your profits. Loyal customers may even recommend your business to other people which can help you to grow your customer base.
Pick and choose your clientele
You will have the power to accept or decline any potential clients. If a potential client seems difficult, their goals don’t align with your own, they aren’t your target clientele or you aren’t interested in the type of video they want to make, you can decline to work with them. Having full control over your client base can be beneficial to your business.
Be your own boss
There are multiple ways you can run your business and maximise your profits. As the business owner you decide the type of video making business you set up and the type of videos you specialise in. You can choose your premises, the type and specification of equipment you purchase, the employees you hire, choose whether to expand your business and decide exactly how to run your business. You can make the best decisions for you and your business.
Negatives of Owning a Video Making Business
Although owning a video making business can be rewarding, there are some potentially negative aspects of this type of business you should be aware of, for example:
Because you will be responsible for every aspect of the video making process, you will have a lot of responsibility. Not only can running your business be mentally and physically demanding but as the business owner, you will have a lot of additional responsibilities, which can be both time-consuming and stressful. You will also be solely responsible for ensuring your business succeeds.
A video set can be a high-pressure environment, with different professionals trying to complete their tasks to a high standard within a strict timeframe. Working in a high-pressure environment can be stressful and can often result in high tensions. There can also be misunderstandings and tension between the clients and the video making professionals, which can be difficult to navigate.
It can be time-consuming
As well as the time spent filming the videos, you will also be responsible for pre- and post-production, which can be extremely time-consuming. You will also have a large number of business and administrative duties that you are responsible for, including advertising and marketing, running your website and social media, dealing with queries, payments and invoices and ensuring compliance with all legal guidelines. This can be stressful and time-consuming and take away from the time you spend in the creative process.
High start-up costs
Starting up a video making business requires a high investment. The cost of your premises, refurbishment and installation costs and your equipment can be extremely expensive, meaning you will require a large amount of capital to set up your business. Not only does this mean you may need to source outside investment, but it also makes your business high-risk. Having a large initial investment also means it will take longer before you begin turning a profit.
Equipment maintenance, repairs and replacements
Because video production requires expensive equipment and the equipment needs to be running to the highest standard, you will need to perform regular cleaning, servicing and maintenance. Not only can this be time-consuming, but once your equipment begins working less efficiently or new equipment is released, you may find that you need to update, upgrade and replace your equipment to ensure your business stays competitive. This can be expensive and eat into your profits.
It can be strenuous
During the filming process, you could be spending hours at a time on your feet and walking around while filming. You could also be carrying heavy equipment and partaking in manual handling activities. Not only can this be physically exhausting, but it could also result in pain, strains or even injury.
A lot of skill, knowledge and experience is required
To run a successful video making business, you will need to be highly proficient in a variety of skills and will need to have high technical knowledge and knowledge of videography and editing processes, as well as a thorough knowledge of the industry and genre you are operating in. It can be time-consuming to gain the appropriate skills and experience.
Unconventional working hours
Video shoots can be extremely time-consuming and many shoots take place at the weekend or during the evening. You may also need to travel long distances for some of your shoots. You could also be working different hours and different days every week. This can have a detrimental effect on your personal life and make it more difficult to plan your social life.
Running a video making business may mean you don’t always have a regular income. There may be certain times of the year when you have fewer clients and less business. Having an unreliable income can be problematic if you have bills and expenses to pay and can make it difficult to plan your finances and predict your profits.
Building your clientele can be difficult
Successful video producers often spend years building up their client base. This could mean you initially receive less custom and may have to charge lower prices, meaning your profits may initially be significantly lower. If you have invested a lot of money into your business and can’t make a profit when you first launch your business, this could result in your business failing.
Some of your clients may have unrealistic expectations and expect your videos to be an instant success and change the fortunes of their business and make them instantly popular. They may be disappointed if your videos don’t instantly succeed and may blame your business. This can have a detrimental effect on your reputation.
Complying with legislation
This industry is highly regulated, with a large number of laws and regulations you must be aware of. You need to ensure you follow all policies and procedures, particularly those relating to health and safety. Not only can it be time-consuming to ensure compliance, but failure to comply, even unintentionally, could have serious consequences. A video making business can have high liability, particularly if you hire employees, which can be a lot of stress and pressure for the business owner.
No matter how careful you are, there is a multitude of potential hazards and dangers when working on shoots, particularly when you are working in different locations where it is more difficult to predict and control the hazards. If an employee, client, someone involved in the shoot or a member of the public becomes injured, your business may be held liable. If you are found to be at fault (e.g. if a risk assessment wasn’t completed properly) this could have a detrimental effect on your business and even result in prosecution.
It can be difficult to build a reputation
A good reputation is key in this industry, as many customers look at your reviews or ask for recommendations from others when searching for a video producer. This can make it difficult for you to establish your business and grow your customer base. Difficulties in creating your client base will result in a reduced income and could affect your ability to continue pursuing your business.
Issues out of your control
This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of running a business, as things that are out of your control can cause delays and have a negative impact on your business. For example, extreme weather can delay your shoots or issues with the actors can result in additional editing or delays. Problems such as these can cause issues with your video production, which can result in unhappy customers and a loss of business.
As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions. You will also have a lack of job security.
Planning Your Video Making Business
An effective and well-designed business plan is essential to the success of your video making business. A business plan can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.
When creating your business plan, ensure it contains information such as:
- Your company information.
- Your company description.
- The services you will provide.
- Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
- The structure of your business.
- The operational plan for your business.
- The financial plan for your business.
Some of the factors you will need to consider when creating your business plan are:
The type of video making you will specialise in
This is the first consideration you will need to make when planning your business. You may choose to offer a wide variety of video making services in different industries or genres, although this can make it difficult to plan your equipment requirements, specialise your business and grow your clientele. Many businesses choose to focus on a specific type of video, a specific genre or industry or a specific type of video production. When deciding your speciality, consider your own skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications, the demand for different video making services and the likely profit.
Your target market
Determining your target market is a key step to helping your business succeed. Different types of video making and different specialities are likely to attract different clients. Your pricing strategy will also be a key factor in determining your target market. Once you have identified your typical customers, you can then focus on how to attract them to your business.
Your business premises
You may choose to operate your business from home, set up a business premises or operate a remote business. When deciding whether to run your business from a premises, consider the costs associated with setting up a videography studio or opening another premises and compare this with the potential benefits (e.g. increased custom, no need to transport equipment).
Being aware of your competition is an important step to ensuring the success of your business. Analysing your competition allows you to look at what they do well and what you think can be improved upon. Look at the video making they specialise in, the services your competition offers, their pricing, their target market and the number of employees they have. Analysing your competition also identifies whether there is space in the market for your business; for example, if there is already a successful video making business specialising in beauty vlogs operating in your area, you may choose to focus on a different type of video making or a different customer base instead.
Your portfolio will be one of your most successful forms of advertisement. You can have an online portfolio, usually on your website, and a physical portfolio that prospective clients can look at. Ensure your portfolio has a good selection of videos in your chosen industry or genre, is presented well, looks professional and is aesthetically pleasing. If you don’t have a large collection of videos to include, you will need to work on this before operating your business.
Your brand and your unique selling point (USP)
Creating your brand is a key way to ensure you stand out from your competition. Branding can help you to focus your target audience, attract customers and concentrate your marketing and advertising strategies. Some ways you can create your brand are by focusing on your business’s visual identity, considering the types of videos you will specialise in and creating a brand story. Your USP can also be part of your brand and can help your business stand out from your competitors. Consider what makes your business special and how this fits into what defines your business.
Your marketing and advertising strategies
Marketing and advertising are especially important when you first open your video making business. Your marketing strategy needs to be effective and budget friendly. Consider your target customers and the best way to reach them.
Some ways you can market and advertise your business are:
- Build a functional and attractive website.
- Advertise on social media.
- Create targeted online advertisements.
- Conduct industry research to target your typical client base.
Your equipment requirements
Consult the list above to determine your equipment requirements. The equipment you purchase from the above list will depend on the type of video making business you are setting up, the size of your business and your budget. Once you have determined what equipment you require, you can then calculate the initial costs of purchasing this equipment.
Your employee requirements
As your business grows, you may need to hire employees (either as permanent staff or freelancers) to fulfil various roles in your business. This would allow you to offer your clients a more complete experience and handle multiple videos at one time. Hire employees based on the size and needs of your business and the requirements of your clients.
Your start-up costs and running costs
Consult the list above to help you calculate the approximate costs of setting up and running your business. Determine what equipment you need and the amount of equipment, as well as the cost of your premises, to help you determine your start-up costs and what your initial investment requirements will be. You can then calculate whether you can finance your business yourself. Determining your start-up costs and running costs can also help you to create a budget and predict when you will begin to turn a profit.
Financing your business
Consult the list of start-up costs and running costs above to determine what capital you will require. Can you finance the business yourself or will you need to source outside investment? You will also need to calculate when you are likely to begin turning a profit.
If you require investment, you could consider:
- A bank loan.
- A personal loan.
- A government grant.
- Venture capital.
- Financing your business yourself.
Your sales forecast
How many videos can you realistically work on at one time? How many videos do you hope to complete (from pre-production to post-production) each week and month? Are there certain times of the year that are likely to be busier than others? What are your weekly, monthly and annual sales forecasts? As your business grows, your sales forecast is likely to change.
Your strategy for growth
Your strategy for growth is the actions you will take to realise your goals for expansion and any potential challenges your business could face and how you will avoid or overcome them. This can help to make your business more successful.
Potential challenges could include:
- Difficulties growing your client base.
- Not having the staff to complete production in a timely manner.
- The time-consuming nature of video production.
Some potential strategies for growth include:
- Hire employees or work with professionals on a freelance basis.
- Expand your advertising and marketing and focus on your target client base.
- Expand your customer reach.
Your business summary
Your business plan should include a detailed overview of your business, including the type of business you are setting up, the type of videos you specialise in, your typical client base, your staffing and equipment requirements and your business goals.
Your business goals
Your business goals or objectives are an essential part of creating your business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your video making business and help you to create a one-year, three-year and five-year business plan.
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Realistic
- T = Time-bound
Check you have complied with all legal requirements
Consult the list of legal requirements above to check you have complied with all requirements and regulations and that all your paperwork is accurate. Failure to comply with legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.