Many companies with in-house media staff will outsource production work to individuals or smaller agencies with specialized services such as animation or 3D computer graphics. Outsourcing is the transfer or delegation of a particular project or task to an external service provider.

A company that looks for an outside source will:

  • Check the outsource's background and experience of all who will be working on an assigned project.
  • Inquire about the history of the outsource's track record regarding production and service.
  • Check on what the potential outsource does best - i.e. animation, 3D graphics, etc.
  • Inquire about the outsource's reputation within the field of specialization.
  • Determine what savings might be obtained by outsourcing instead of doing work in-house.
  • Determine if the company can work comfortably with the outsource.

Many projects are put out to bid. At other times work is sub-contracted to an individual or agency which the company has used in the past.

A recent Oregon project provides some insight. The Newport based Oregon Coast Aquarium contracted with Portland's Leopold Ketel and Partners to develop a new marketing program for the Aquarium which Ketel delivered as the "Wow-That's Different" campaign.

Not wanting to undertake an animated commercial in-house Leopold, Ketel and Partners sub-contracted with Happy Trails Animation to design a 30-second spot featuring photo cutout/collage animation and used a painterly technique called cinemation. David Brooks, senior copy writer and agency Brian Dixon, an art director with Leopold Ketel,collaborated with Happy Trails to design the spot's look.

In addition to the animation, Happy Trails was also contracted to to design billboard art for an outdoor campaign. These billboards will be seen in the Portland and Newport areas.

Outsourcing provides a company with the ability to use expertise it may need for only a short period of time thus saving in personnel and facilities costs.

There is a downside to outsourcing when larger companies transfer work "off-shore" or overseas. Outsourcing can result in the loss of local jobs. Recent outsourcing of computer programming, software development, and even multimedia production to places such as India has meant reduced employment at the local level.

After Hollywood, India is the second largest producer of entertainment media. Given India's low cost labor force it is becoming a center for cheap outsourcing work. Indian studios are equipped with state-of-the art hardware and software and a growing trained labor force makes sending production work there feasible. According to one web source,"While the rates for production of a half-hour television animation programme would be around $250,000-400,000 in the US and Canada, it is in the region of $60,000 in India, the report says."

Even though other countries including Japan, Malaysia, and China compete for contract work there remains opportunity for the determined artist and producer here at home. Outsourcing is yet one more direction to consider when looking for work in the field of multimedia development. Picking up outsource contracts can provide a good income.

Information compiled from Internet Sources.