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  • May 16, 2022

    Reasons to use Video for Your Charity

    The are many reasons why charities and non profits benefit from video content. Here are a few tops ones

    Raise awarenes

    Videos are a top way to raise awareness for your charity or organisation. And show your mission and goals and the impact of your work – shows your authentic self. You can do this with a mix of UGC (user-generated content), smartphone videos, for example by going live, and professionally created videos.

    Charity Video – Homless Link

    Video by Digital Finch 

    Video is more personable

    Text can be dull, and online, it’s very often skimmed. Video gives a proper face to your organisation, whether it’s an animated character or a filmed video production. It creates that personal connection and empathy that is vital for charities.

    Videos get shared

    Videos are so easy to share; for example social videos get 12 times more shares than text and images combined.

    Bloody Good Period ‘Typically’

    Video by Anna Ginsburg

    Greenpeace – Wasteminster

    Video by Studio Birthplace

    Video brings emotion

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely shed a little tear watching inspirational videos online. When you know you are changing lives with your non-profit, you can’t help but bring that emotion to a video audience and make an impact on them.

    Video makes you memorable

    Video is considered the most memorable content across every age group, and viewers remember up to 95% of the content, compared to just 10% of text.

    Help fundraising

    Fundraising campaigns with videos tend to do better! Funding campaigns that incorporate video receive 4x more funding than campaigns that don’t, according to Indiegogo. This kind of fundraising video differs from a general campaign or introduction; you can be specific on what you need to inspire action, and don’t be shy to say how much you need!

    Red Cross Donation Drive

    Young people want video

    Younger people and Millenials are more likely to be socially conscious and want to support charities. And young people want video. Just 22% of young consumers want emails from brands example, they prefer to see more social media content like video.

    Videos are multi-purpose

    Often organisations will use videos right across their social media and website. You can make short versions of a longer video that work well as quick snippets, for example, some edited key sentences from a longer volunteer case study video on Instagram or TikTok.

    illo x nature.org — Regenerative Food Systems | Episode #4

    Video by Illo 

    Cancer Research UK ‘Moments’

    Video by Rogue Films

    Convey a sensitive message

    Sometimes you may want to film people who benefit from your services, but this can be tricky if it’s a sensitive subject, and they may not want to be on camera. This is where animation can come in, to say the powerful words that speak from the heart, but anonymise the speaker.

    It doesn’t need to be expensive

    This might sound funny coming from a video production company, but you don’t need to always use professional services to create your videos, a blended approach can work great. The story is important, but it can bring authenticity if you get your smartphone out and speak directly to your audience. This type of consistent and quick video content, mixed with a high production value videos works well.

    People want more

    Year by year, people are watching more online video content. Studies show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands or businesses they support.

    A variety of video options for charities

    Year by year, people are watching more online video content. Studies show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands or businesses they support.

    Coram Beanstalk

    Video by Digital Finch

    So there are just some quick video ideas to think about. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it should help you start you on the way to using video to help promote your charity and raise awareness.

    If you’re looking for a video for your charity, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. To see some examples of our videos for charities and non-profits, head to our charity video production page

     

     

    Sources Hubspot, Reason Digital, Invideo , Charity Comms

  • February 9, 2022

    New Showreel Release

    At last! We have a new showreel, this has been a long time coming.

    Thankfully, I can say the reason it’s been delayed is that we’ve been so incredibly busy with client work that this has been on the back burner, and it just lost priority whenever we had a lot of client work, which is apparently all the time! That’s being honest!

    We’re very grateful that in these challenging few years, we have not only survived but thrived, and come together as a team to really grow and help clients will all kinds of fascinating projects. Thank to you everyone for having us.

    We’re very proud of this piece, and I think it really shows an experienced and diverse range of ideas, concepts, skills and styles. We’re looking forward to another successful year.

    If you have an animation or video project in mind, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

  • November 5, 2021

    Animated Video Design Styles – Which One Should I Pick?

    Often when customers come to us with an animated video brief for their business or organisation, they may not have seen many design styles or even have strong ideas about the look – with just their website for style reference. We see this in our studio all the time.

    And they may have only seen their competitor’s video productions, which isn’t always the best starting point if you want to differentiate!

    But, did you know that different styles of illustration and design for animation can have a significant impact on the audience, and you can use it strategically to make them feel a certain way towards your company or product?

    If you’re not sure what animation design style you’re after, this is fine; as an animated video company it’s our job to find the right look that works for you!

    Here are a few common styles you’ll come across, with examples, we’ll explain where they are most suitable, what the general cost implication is, and why you might use them in your marketing videos.

    Hand Crafted Style

    A hand-drawn or hand crafted style gives a more organic and flowing feeling of animation, towards traditional style, but more modern. These videos are generally designed using brushes in photoshop (or similar) instead of a more regular vector / straight lines look that you see in some explainers. It gives the video a lot more texture and life.

    This style is more labour intensive to draw and animate and requires a much higher skill level – you need an experienced illustrator (s) on the studio creative team.

    But it can be effective, especially when selling to consumers. It comes across as friendly, approachable and unique looking – so you’ll stand out. For a real wow factor, it can be very much worth it.

    Hand crafted style explainer video

    Video by Wonderlust 

    Hand crafted promotional video

    Video by Giant Ant

    Flat Vector Style

    The flat look in animation design is often what comes to mind as a kind of ‘standard explainer’. For me, it’s neither here nor there and is very common, it can help explain and promote, but it won’t stand out especially.

    It’s usually made up of flat bold colours (no texture / shadow or gradient), and simple shapes, any characters or items are usually simplified quite a lot. This simple vector artwork is created in Illustrator or similar software.

    These videos are often cheaper to produce, as there is less detail in the illustrations. Often, you’ll see these standard explainer animations have the same or similar artwork, as studios buy in stock imagery rather than custom design it to save on costs.

    This may also mean the colours or design style aren’t very united, it depends how much they customise the artwork.

    Futuristic / Conceptual Style

    A conceptual/futuristic look is often characterised by colour gradients, dynamic movement, abstract shapes and usually good use of 3D space. They can be really quite abstract visually.

    To create this takes some cool art direction (something a cheaper studio may not do much at all) and different thinking. This conceptual style can be great to stand out, explain something quite complex, and set you apart.

    Usually, for this kind of animation, the video studio will be higher-end, with a more experienced creative team. And it often involves a lot of 3D animation mixed in with 2D, so this isn’t the cheapest option. But if you have a revolutionary product or service offering, this will help the viewer to believe you.

    Conceptual style explainer video

    Video by Digital Finch 

    Highly conceptual promotional video

    Video by Oddfellows

    Detailed Vector Style

    A detailed vector drawing is still a vector-based design, but with much more detail and more organic touch. They are normally a bespoke design compared to a more basic vector or icon led video. You’ll see more colour variation, more organic shapes, and more thought of composition in general. These detailed scenes bring more realism to the animation, which helps with storytelling, and the use of light can also help absorb the viewer.

    It’s not quite as labour intensive as an entirely hand-drawn video, but it is still a step above the standard and will be unique. It works as a good middle ground.

    Detailed vector style brand video

    Video by Vidico 

    Detailed vector style explainer video

    Video by Digital Finch

    Mixed Media Style

    A mixed-media design approach is often quirky and works great for historical pieces, such as brand history, to create a sense of longevity. But it can be suitable for all kinds of industries and situations.

    The mixed media/collage animation style is usually a mix of stock images, public realm images and video, and animation to create a kind of stop motion collage effect. They’re often going for a handcrafted look, but digitally.

    It takes skill to create a cohesive look that isn’t too messy and doesn’t look like every other collage video you see!

    Mixed media style brand video

    Video by Psyop

    Mixed media style animated video

    Video by Individual

    Character led Style

    Using a well-designed and likeable character to tell a story is a script/concept choice, but it heavily impacts the design of your explainer video. You want the design to show the characters’ world, what they’re thinking and feeling, and you want the audience to relate

    Generally, good character design and animation are more expensive – it takes a lot of time to get it right, but it’s much more engaging when done well. Generally, a character-led style video is either a detailed vector look or a more hand-drawn approach.

    Character led style animated video

    Video by Moth

    character led animated video

    Video by Giant Ant

    Icon led Style

    If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful, then an icon led video is a quick and straightforward way to do it.

    The design is simplistic and often not bespoke, so it’s better suited to a short runtime (max 30 seconds) and easy to grasp concepts.

    Simple icon videos are usually a kind of foot in the door explainer animation for companies just starting out, and can be handy for that purpose.

    3D Style

    3D in animation doesn’t always mean super-realism and built environments. It’s used in explainer videos fairly frequently, but you may not have noticed it as much (which is a good thing!). Short 3D scenes often sneak into 2D videos to give an extra element, but having a full 3D animated video can be quite powerful.

    It’s definitely more unique and generally looks expensive and modern – if you want to give that vibe. 3D in itself is a very broad look, it can range from the very conceptual to more natural-looking scenes.

    Budget wise, 3D animation is more expensive as it takes years of experience and skill to create balanced scenes with 3D motion, rigging, lighting setup and textures, as well as expensive software and equipment. It usually involves a creative team that works on separate elements, each being a specialist. The payoff can be great as if it’s done well, it will really stand out.

    3D animated video with interesting use of texture

    Video by oddfellows

    3D animated video

    Video by Ordinary Folk

    Cell / Traditional drawing Style

    Finally, cell animation is the most traditional style of artwork. This is how all the classic Disney films were made, from Snow White to Jungle Book, The Aristocats and more. This is the origin of the animation design style of the handcrafted look, as mentioned in our first point.

    It requires a very experienced and skilled traditional animator to draw each frame. This drawing can now be done digitally, but it is still extremely labour intensive, there can be 23 drawings per second for example.

    The movement stands out and is completely seamless compared to other animations when done well. And complex character moves like a spin or any real movement in 3D space are much more possible and convincing.

    Cell is not generally common for animated videos, because it is very high cost. But some top-end studios use cell animation in just part of the video, for a complex character turn or an incredible morphing sequence. This can raise the whole video to a new level with just a few spectacular scenes of animation, and can really look amazing if you need a wow factor.

    Cell animated video

    Video by Golden Wolf

    Cell animated video

    Video by Buck

    So there are just some quick design ideas to think about. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it should help you start to figure what would work for you. It broadly depends on budget, and what kind of feeling you what to get across to the audience. With a good design and animation studio, you can also mix and match styles a litte. For example, adding a few more detailed scenes into a simpler video, or touches of a 3D – this will keep costs down, but add a little extra wow factor.

    If you’re looking for a marketing or explainer video for your company, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. To see some examples of our animated videos, head to the portfolio

  • August 13, 2021

    5 Considerations for your Animated Technology Video

    Animated video for technology companies is absolutely booming right now. These short explainer videos are such an easy way to say what is often a pretty complex or new service in an easily digestible form. So we can see why it’s popular. 

    We’ve recently worked on many Fintech, software, App, AI and automation, SaS, and medical technology animated videos. So we’re giving you a little insight into common pitfalls that we come across to help give you a head start when thinking about an animated video for your tech company. 

     

    There are some ideas to consider that will help your brand video stand out against the noise, and make sure you communicate effectively and clearly to your target audience.

    1 Benefits not features

    The script is the primary driver of any video, including animation. And simply listing your software or technology features in the script won’t help. Generally; they aren’t why people buy. It’s what it does for them. 

    Does it save them time? Does it save cost? What does it free up people to do? How does this technology make their life easier? What is a like working with you? This kind of content is what the script needs to tell.

    Listing the features doesn’t belong in a technology explainer video. They’re for people who want to drill down into the details later – as a secondary selling tool. Preferably with a captive audience or when you’re showcasing a demo in a meeting.

    2 Keep the language less formal

    Language is down to scripting again. When we see draft ideas for a script or we’re given promotional materials to use, the language is often overly complex with long sentences and is rather formal. This is really common. 

    This approach works well for written materials, but since generally, video is heard out loud, it comes across entirely differently and isn’t as well-received. Think of the video a bit more like a conversation.

    If you have a complex product offering, don’t use business jargon language and lengthy sentences; you need to explain it quickly and clearly. 

    This doesn’t mean dumbing down, but being concise, avoiding passive language, avoiding too much repetition. 

    As tech is always changing and growing, you probably find the business quite exciting and revolutionary to work in (I hope!). So, if we can convey that excitement, the audience will feel it. 

    You can be creative with language, be funny, use visual metaphors, and keep the language more casual, it is spoken word, after all. It’ll be more relating to the audience and quicker to digest if they’re only half watching /listening (which is often the case!).

    Explainer video with quite a relaxed, informal voiceover leading the story

    Video by Digital Finch

    3 Avoid screenshots

    You can be creative with the visuals and save the software screens for an online demo. The purpose of a general brand or product explainer video is to get them to enquire or want to learn more.

    A demo is a separate video (or presentation) where buyers are already interested in learning more. For an introductory video like an animated explainer, where they see it on your website or social media and maybe don’t know a lot more about you, they just need to know it’ll work for them.

    Sometimes, we create a simplified UI mockup in designing animated videos if there is a particularly great aspect to the technology. Something showstopping or so simple and effective to use.

    Monday.com put animated screenshots to good use, as they’ve invested heavily in a fantastic UI, but this often isn’t the case.

    In that case, we often redraw the software, simplify the screen where needed, and then animate a short sequence, showing it in a shortened and easy to understand way.

    Explainer video promoting the G-Suite from Google – Ui is shown minimally and has been simplified and animation to add dynamism.  

    Video by Coat of Arms

    Though, often a UI mockup is not needed. As I’ve just mentioned, you’re more describing the benefits and how it affects their company and lives, not how it works.

    In terms of visuals, trust the studio you’ve hired to come up with bespoke visuals compelling and match the story. Hopefully, their portfolio and expertise have shown you you can trust them, so let them do the hard work or art direction.

    You can go quite conceptual and futuristic or very heartwarming and relatable if you want. The visuals needn’t be all ‘techy’ and corporate, and they needn’t be yet another icon led video in shades of blue (I see this sooooo much!).

    This example is a video for a no-code website development tool. In a highly / futuristic conceptual style  

    Video by Ordinary Folk

    4 Keep it short

    Try and explain your technology offering in 2 mins or under, often 90s a great sweet spot.

    A longer video can be cut down for social sharing if you want multiple versions.

    Then the engaged audience gets an entire piece, and someone browsing or scrolling will get just the snippet they need to click through and find out more.

    If you want a shorter social media or paid advert version, consider create a separate version condensed to 15-30s max. So it’s very dynamic and captivating and gets to the point quickly. Generally, we recommend not to try and use the long-form one.

    Making the video more concise will also often bring the cost down (due to shorter length) and means the audience will be more likely to reach the end.

    Example of Animated Technology video with a concise message, under 1 minute

    Video by Digital Finch

    5 Add a human touch with characters

    Using character animation in a marketing video can give the video a real boost and make it stand out. When you can visually show a user reaping the rewards, it humanises the video and can create empathy. Generating emotion will help the viewer already feel like you know their pain point, and you want to help them.

    When selling or thinking about tech, it’s easy to think of highly conceptual/corporate visuals, but the people who are buying and who will benefit are people, after all. So including people can help the video to be more relatable.

    Including custom-drawn friendly characters who your audience will relate to and telling the story through their journey is a great idea.

    So there are just some quick ideas to think about. If you are looking for an animated video for your technology company, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

    Example of Visual Recognition technology video with characters

    Video by Lunamik Studio

    So there are just some quick ideas to think about. If you’re looking for a marketing or explainer video for your technology company, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. To see some examples of our animated explainer videos, head to the portfolio

  • December 11, 2020

    What Makes a Good Explainer video?

    What Makes a Good Explainer Video?

    When you need an explainer video for your business, it can be tough for some to imagine… What will it look like? What do we need to say? How long is best for conversion? Will it do what I need for my brand? 

    Here are some pointers that will help your explainer video to win for you.

    Short Script

    People generally have a short attention span for a video online, so keep the rambling down; it’s essential to consider what will the viewer see alongside the explainer that goes into more detail. It will generally always be with more context, so you can afford to leave extras out.

    An explainer video is designed to be short and catchy, and you can’t do that if you go over 2 mins. Ideally, 90s to 2 mins would cover the message. You can read more about video lengths and attention span here

    Well Designed Visuals

    The design of a video can be very impactful one way or another. It can represent you poorly if it’s not well thought out – or it can show off your strengths. 

    A motion designer with a good understanding of visual communication – and how people usually perceive form and colour, for example, can elevate your video and convey exactly what you mean quickly with simple, but powerful drawings.

    Well Designed Storyboard Images For Explainer Video

    Good Concept

    The concept should be figured out at the start of the production. An exciting concept will make you stand out and make your explainer more memorable. Do you have an unusual idea? It might just work. Or if not, leave it to the creative team of the explainer video company you’re working with. 

    Ideation is an exciting part of my job, coming up with concepts takes practice, collaboration and openness – especially at the start when everyone is just throwing ideas around. But it is worth it to find those unique solutions. 

    Having a concept or device, either visually or with the script will bring your explainer video up a level.

    Simple Script Language

    Everyone uses a certain amount of jargon in business, but there are not many places for it in explainer videos. Spoken language is often quite different from written language.

    It needs to be simple. Shorter sentences and shorter worlds make it much easier to digest quickly. This will help your audience understand, even if they’re only half-listening or watching. 

    When it comes to scripting animation for your business – think concise.

    Address Your Target Audience

    Being able to frankly speak to your audience and address their exact pain points will be much more useful than trying to catch everyone with vague propositions – or details that aren’t relevant.

    If you have a strong idea of your buyer persona it will be much more impactful to them. Again this comes in mostly at the scripting stage.

    High-Quality Animation

    This feels very obvious to say, but the higher the quality of the animation the more viewers can be absorbed in the story and weird bits where someone moves funny, or it’s jerky won’t catch their eye. As soon as they are distracted, they’ve lost the flow. 

    The goal of animation is not to be noticed.

    Try not to Be Too Serious

    The world is full of quite serious corporate videos, there is still a place for them, but Explainers are generally more light-hearted, you can bring out the fun side of your brand or product. You can add some personality to the video, gaining empathy. 

    Because you can show pretty much anything visually, it gives you a lot more scope to make unusual comparisons, or exaggerate a little. It’ll make you be remembered.

    Benefits not Features

    Going on about the features of your new software or service may be thrilling to you, but your audience needs to know precisely why it’s worth it, what does it do for them?

    It’s a Them not Us approach in the script that will help.

    Keep Your Team Small

    The bigger your approval team is for reviewing the key stages, the more disjointed the video may end up. It’s a classic case of too many cooks – you will get a lot of personal opinions. 

    And you need to define, is their feedback valid – will they make the video better? or are they adding more complication?

    Music and Sound Effects

    High-quality music can set the tone – I’d always recommend using a royalty-free track, not just a free music track (as they’ll be blander / or massively overused. It’s also good to keep your personal music taste out of it and trust the production company. 

    And if your video is set in natural surroundings – for a more filmic option, adding SFX of recognisable sounds can really immerse the audience and set the scene fully – you’d expect it on a filmed video. 

    Or if the animation and design are more conceptual based, adding sounds effects of beeps and boops and subtle whooshing, etc help to reinforce movement and flow.

    Explainer video from Giant Ant, with a powerful soundtrack – invoking empathy in the audience

    A Good Video Production Process

    This is the only part where we are serious! Having a precise method in place for the video will make sure that you can review it at each stage, and approve the script, treatment, style frames, design and animation. 

    This methodology leaves little room for error and means that you should be pretty happy when you see the final product!

    Summary

    You can see a lot of what makes a great explainer video is in the concept, and script stage.  The story you tell and how you tell it is the basis for the whole video and isn’t to be overlooked, or rushed. 

    Everyone is often excited to get the visual stages, but the planning makes it. 

    To see some video examples, head to our animated explainer video page.  Or if you want an explainer video for your business, let us help you

  • October 8, 2020

    What Factors Affect The Cost of Animation?

    What Factors Affect The Cost of Animation?

    As a buyer looking to get a new animated video production for your company, when browsing online you can see such a variety of animation costs, from £150 (uh oh!) to £20,000+ (eek!)

    Here are a few reasons why the price of animated video can range so much, and how to make an informed choice when it comes to specifying the work.

    Length of video

    A longer animation means more work. For example, A two-minute video literally has twice as many scenes as one minute video, and they need creating, and then animating.

    There are not that many economies of scale, as the work is usually bespoke to each project. Sometimes if you have a video series, some savings can be made through the series, but within one video, and your first video perhaps, nope.

    Being concise with your words in the script is integral to making sure you don’t waste money here.

    A long storyboard for animated video production

    This storyboard is about 2.5 min video. Which is slightly on the long side for an Explainer type web video. You can see just how much work and frames that needs. A shorter video could be half these number of frames. 

    Inclusion of 3D Animation

    3D animation can pop up in 2D animated videos quite often, and to the inexperienced, it can be undetected. Not seeing the line between 2D and 3D is fine if you’ve not even noticed, it wants to blend in seamlessly.

    Including 3D elements adds background and literally another dimension to the movement and view, so it adds more interest- instead of the same front on view you see so often with animation.

    It will often be composited and be the same design style, but it gives a variety to the scene, it’s not just flat facing.

    But all this means, additional specialised skills in 3D software, modelling and lighting, and then compositing – to make it look like the rest of 2D video.

    See the buildings in their video have been created in 3D space, allowing a camera to pass around as it rises. This is much more interesting than a generic pan up, with a completely straight-on looking street.

    Animated Characters

    Including characters can add a much needed human touch to animation, which if you’re selling or teaching people can help dramatically.

    Using animated characters is a great way to act out scenarios and show a real user experience and convey emotion.

    However, to get them to move in an organic and realistic fashion – to be likeable takes time to draw, rig and animate.

    Low-end videos that have characters will move in a jerky/ stiff way or just not much movement at all. Or worse still, they stop dead for seconds at a time…

    It kind of defeats the purpose, as you lose a lot of the human connection and relatability.

    Character Design for animation

    Illustration style

    A 2D flat colour video using vector simple shapes, most likely, will take a much less time to design and animate than a hand-drawn, and highly textured frame developed in Photoshop or Procreate, as two extreme examples.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about drawing and illustration, so here are a few styles, to show what I mean.

    You can see the difference between these few images, they show a clear difference in the work and time that went into them.

    The 2 on the top are much more detailed, one including natural textures and use of sading and light, the other using 3D to create a complex layout, compared to the bottom 2 that are more simple in nature and are line illustration or solid colour. 

    Textured Design for Animation
    Why pick animated explainer video over live action video
    Simple design in animation
    demo video

    And if a scene took longer to design, then you guessed it, it will more than likely need increased time to animate it. 

    The quality and style of the drawings will very much depend upon your story, who the audience is and what you want them to feel.

    Quality of Animation

    Again this is down to time, in general, the more time your animator spends, the better the quality of the final piece.

    A cheaper (quicker to produce) animation will generally be flat and move less, and there will be fewer scenes. And elements within scenes or whole scenes will be reused.

    A low budget animation will also have very basic transitions from scene to scene (one thing exits, and another enters). High-quality animations tend to have more thought out transitions so that the video flows more seamlessly.

    Reusing of assets, fewer scenes and fewer elements on screen at one time all saves time, and it may get the job done, but it won’t be exciting, it’s less relevant, and it’ll be less stimulating.

    So there is a balance to be struck. Most animation studios will be able to show or demonstrate a few levels of animation quality so that you can see the difference for yourself.

    Custom Animation

    The cheaper sites offer template style make your own video, so you pick from some (often poorly) pre-designed and and pre-animated elements that you can pop together into a story.

    It’s cheap, but of course, it’s massively limited and who knows how many other people are using the same elements in their video?

    It’s also unlikely to fit with your brand very closely.

    And of course some lower-end studios will be using templates in their work without telling you.

    You can see a lot of the cost comes down to custom assets, length of video and time taken. So, in general, a higher cost animation is simply a higher quality product. Hopefully, this helps for next time you need an animated video for your business, and you can see what you’re paying for clearly.

     

    To see a range of animated explainer video styles head to our portfolio, or to read more about what we do and what goes into our work, see the animated video production page and if you have an idea you want to chat about, contact us!

  • August 22, 2020

    Why pick Animated Explainer Video over a Live-action Video

    Why pick Animated Explainer Video over a Live-action Video

    Both animation and live-action productions have their place as marketing video for business, but live-action can be limited. 

    Let’s explore some of the reasons for choosing an animated explainer video over a standard filmed video for your next company video.

    Animated explainer video at its core is a catchy animated video generally under 2 mins long that explains something. It’s quite a vague term, but it covers most of the animated videos you see online in a broad way – and it’s much more diverse than you think. 

    Vidico

    Be more creative

    Animation is creative and can be out if this world if you want. 

    Simply put, it can make you stand out and look unique.

    You can show an office one minute, then a street, then a person at home, then an international space station if you fancy! And it doesn’t cost more to do so. That is not even a particularly inspiring example of what can be done with animation. 

    As long as it serves the narrative, and suits the tone of the video, relates with your audience, your options are limitless. 

    With a live-action video, sure you can film several locations, but time and costs add up if it’s very expansive in terms of content. Most corporate videos are quite straight forward, 1-2 locations and that’s it. 

    With the limitless nature of motion design, you can say and show a lot in a very short time.

    Buck

    Example of a super creative animated video from Buck

    Animation is versatile

    Explainers videos are a lot more versatile in style than you would think. It’s not just icon sequences any more. 

    Most companies pick their general corporate branding the first time they go into animation and probably choose a flat 2D design and icon for the illustration style.

    It’s a safe (albeit potentially boring) bet.

    But many more experienced brands will experiment with style and tone to fit each campaign.

    When you draw each frame from scratch, you have ultimate flexibility. 

    Animation and illustration design can achieve a very fun, or serious tone as needed. This gives you the adaptability to target new audiences, or to bring out different emotions. 

    A hand-drawn animation style will usually give a friendly caring vibe, while sharp lines and angles can be more formal and business-like.

    An experienced design studio can use these kinds of devices to tailor the look and feel of the animation to achieve exactly the vibe you want.

    And it’s not just reserved for consumer-based brands like Cola. Even a B2B business is selling to people at the end of the day.

    Giant Ant

    Duration of use

    Your animation way is less likely to go out of date so quickly.

    Usually, in explainer videos, any numerical figures that are referenced are not exact; for example, any charts or data you see, and any UI screens are often redesigned to simplify to look and flow. Of course, people are all fictional, unless exactly specified to copy someone.

    So, because the video’s not showing such exact information, it’s likely to last longer. 

    With a filmed video you can run into issues much quicker. For example, if staff leave who had been interviewed, you may need to edit them out of the video, which costs for the work and can leave holes in the content.

    And so you need to organise a reshoot, or the video needs more context to explain, which kind of defeats the point. 

    Or if the premises or signage are updated, you’ll feel that the video is old fashioned. 

    This happens way more often than you think!

    ILLO

    Creative Control

    You have complete control with the look and feel of animation.

    Sometimes on a filming day, things can just crop up… the weather is terrible, an area is closed, your piece to the camera could have been delivered better, a colleague was unwell.

    And even if you have a sketched storyboard for a filmed video (but plenty of studios don’t offer this), it’s hard to know what each shot will look like.

    There’s always a bit of figuring out on the shoot day… a small element of winging it. Obviously a professional will still do a good job though!

    With animation, you have exact control over every scene, in advance of animation.

    You’ve seen (hopefully) a written treatment, possibly sketches, style frames, an illustrated storyboard, boardomatic, animatic, then the final animation.

    That’s a lot of stages to get your feedback in!

    The Furrow

    Animation can cover sensitive topics

    If you need to talk about a sensitive topic, an animated explainer is a very good route to pick.

    Animation gives anonymity to the subject (I mean a person here) and gives you the freedom to really explore a subject matter or tough topic without making anyone vulnerable or a target. There is no risk of exposure.

    Using animation for a good cause can really amplify your message, for campaigns about for children or those in need, it can be a vital tool.

    Emanuele Colombo

    Price?

    It’s not necessarily cheaper. Drawing every frame, animating takes time.

    But reiterating from the points above, the animation may last longer, and it can be more tailored to your goals.

    Unless you have a lot of VFX in your live-action production, maybe for a high-end TV advert, filmed video is often the same cost or cheaper than explainer animation, but we can see it’s more limited unless it’s very high concept.

    Saying that… there are generally a few varying price levels of animation (this will vary from studio to studio), so if budget is tight, it’s not impossible.

    But generally, the more you spend, its more time you’re paying for, and therefore a higher quality animation – it’s more immersive and mesmerising. And thus a better storytelling device.

    oddfellows

    Hopefully, these points will help show you that there’s never been a better time to get on board with explainer animation for your business.

    Or at least give you food for thought before you jump onto creating a new corporate video for your business.

    The options available are a lot wider than you would imagine. 

    To see a range of animated explainer video styles head to our video portfolio, or if you wanted to read more about animated video production in general, or if you have an idea you want to chat about contact us

  • December 16, 2019

    Design in Animated video – the key to success

    Design in Animated video – the key to success

    Motion graphics are becoming more popular – many businesses are starting to learn the term when it comes to animated video, but in practice, the ‘graphics’ part is often lacking.

    Often when a business is discussing creating a new video, they talk about the animation and the scenes, but often the conversation about the design style and illustration isn’t there. It’s overlooked and taken for granted as it’ll just appear and look good. 

    The first brief is often ‘explainer video, maybe with my site icons’, but that’s so vague and samey, will that be the best route to tell your business message? An explainer video can be so much more than that. 

    An original design concept with bespoke illustrations can lift the animation and be so much more impactful – which has a real effect on video engagement.

     

    Bespoke illustrations and design for video

    But talking about design is sometimes difficult for clients – they don’t know where to look for references, and they may not be able to articulate what they like. But this is where creative studios need to have the knowledge to guide them properly.

    There is a lot to consider with design – it’s all about the relation to your target audience. In essence, the design will help show them how to feel, and what information is most important.

    An animated video for 20s aged entrepreneurs needs to look and feel quite different from a video for internal communication purposes.

    The video is also representing the brand – so it needs to look right. You may choose for it to fit in with your other branding materials or may decide to create a new campaign, or it can be stand-alone. Either is fine, but it needs to be a considered choice.

    Making the video match your branding precisely as an automatic response without thought, can be restricting and potentially bland.

     

    Motion Design using photos

     

    Design in video needs to achieve a few things:

     

    • Clearly communicate the story
    • Have the right tone
    • Align with the brand
    • Be cohesive
    • Be unique

     

     

    Picking a design-forward studio

    A video studio with a dedicated designer is an excellent place to start. Often at less experienced production houses, the role is lumped in together with the animator. While very few can be great at both, in general, it means they’re mediocre at both tasks.

    If they can’t draw, they may be reliant on stock vector images. Meaning the look can change from scene to scene unintentionally, as the vectors are from all different sources (affecting the tone), and it will probably have the same 2D flat graphic look we see so often.

    Because they’re buying in assets, the video may also not be that unique.

    A scene designed to show a negative.
    It’s mixed, and overall has a gloomy, slightly confusing tone

    A dedicated studio motion designer or illustrator will have background artistic knowledge, for example of the significance of colours, tones, value, shapes and textures. The use of these seemingly simple things can change the mood or feeling of a video massively. 

    Unbalanced design layouts or colours with no visual hierarchy, especially where any text is involved, can leave the audience missing the point. 

    Your animation studio will know when and how to use characters – do you need a key person who tells the story, background people, are we personifying objects? 

    Custom animated characters can increase the video bill, sometimes by more than you think, but in the right video, it’ll add so much more in the long term. 

    A creative animation team with the background of business and a professional illustrator or designer can make reliable recommendations for these points.

    A few characters

    Motion design-led workflow

    It starts with research about the business at hand, the audience, a look at competitors and any visual references the client likes. 

    This study will help inform and is combined with Art Direction – usually from the design lead or creative director. Art direction is often not spoken about at all in business video, especially at the low to mid-end cost range. In simple terms, they create the entire concept of the video. 

    The research and art direction helps give the creative studio a full picture of the target. Then all design and motion can be aimed towards this target. 

    It continues through pre-production with style frames. These are a few fully illustrated images from the storyboard that show the intention of colour, typography and layouts styles. 

    A high-end creative studio or a more significant budget animation may even produce 2 – 3 different image concepts to review – giving the client full information and choice. 

    The client can make sure it aligns with their ideas and goals before the studio has gone too far – as changes later down the line are always more costly. 

    They may also show a full sketched out storyboard, so the business can see the broad story before full design even starts.

    Illustrated Storyboard Design

    Illustrated Storyboard

    Methodology

    After dialogue and approval of the initial concept, frames and ideas, a design-led creative studio will produce the fully illustrated storyboard, complete with extra notes about scene movement and feeling.

    Leaving the design to chance, is very risky and means the video may not be what you expected, or want, at all. So any savings made on cost at the start, are turned into a loss.

    This method, with rigorous pre-production and client involvement, means that the animator has a clear idea of the flow, and can focus solely on making it move seamlessly. 

    The result is reliable, as you’ve already seen various illustration stages and it’s exciting, as it’s a bespoke video with a well-thought concept. 

    If a studio doesn’t offer any interim approval stages for video design, put, you are risking your time and money. 

    And next time if you want ‘an explainer video’ talk to the studio about different creative options available to you – it’s a lot more versatile than you may think. 

    You don’t want to end up with the same kind of animation video you see everywhere and fade into the sea of boring corporate videos. 

    And if you don’t have a clear idea, it should be up to them to guide you correctly – and show you what can be done. 

    If you want any help with video design, check out our video portfolio for style and animation ideas, or our animated video production page and send us a message!

  • April 11, 2017

    Off to OFFF

    Phew! We’ve just come back from OFFF in Barcelona – a 3 day multidisciplinary festival, featuring all kinds of speakers and workshops in design, visual communication and art direction. 

    As primarily motion designers we were looking for video / motion design / animation related talks, so our review is based on them mostly, but I’m a huge fan of any design really, so I saw quite a few illustrators and graphic designers too.

    It was really well organised, I found something unique and interesting in every talk we saw. We left feeling very inspired, and I have a bunch of new projects to try out.   So, here are a few cool highlights from the fest with some of our favourite videos and designs – in the order that we saw them.

    Outro Studio

    Outro Studio, a video and design studio based in Barcelona, did the Opening titles and the book for OFFF this year. Their creative approach to projects was really interesting – like making a space themed video for 30 odd euros. For example, They used a bubble gum machine for the helmet, and did it all through reflection, which was a really clever way to reduce cost and give the impression of space – without some crazy huge set. They also had a great concept, which we follow ourselves pretty much, called – SFFPP Small Fast Fun Personal Projects. Now, I need to get hold of a camera, I felt really inspired to do more video work as it’s been very design based lately here! 

    Wix

    This was really fascinating, because even though Wix are quite famous, they spoke about the troubles finding their brand voice and tone. They started from the early days, showing us the progress and development of their design and videos. It took quite a few projects and experiments to get the tone right for them. Here was a cool little video they made with Shaq, where they finally felt like they had a good base and company voice, which is quite bold in colour but friendly and a bit cheeky. (I think we all know the voiceover too)

    Studio Furious

    A graphic design and photography studio in Paris, Studio Furious, that came out of a lunch time hobby while at their day jobs. They started making all sorts of weird burgers and photographing them for a personal blog called Fat Furious Burger.  This series is great, it was really fun and inventive! With their studio work now, they describe it as either sober or kitch aesthetic – and I love this contrast in approach.

    Atipus

    A Barcelona based graphic design company. Good on them for doing the talk in English, while I know some French and Portuguese, I’d be terrified to give a speech in them! What stood out most for me was their beautiful wine labels, and I think this is what they’re known for too. The simplicity and bold colours and shapes of all their work, but especially these really resonate with me. This series was based on the good soils from which the grapes grow, which I thought was a great perspective.

    Buck

    Buck was one of the ones we’d been looking forward to the most coming up to OFFF, and we weren’t disappointed! One of the main projects they focused on was (not surprisingly) Spectacle of The Real for the magician David Blaine.
    This is a video we have watched.. a million times! So it was really cool to see the whole back story, working with David Blaine and Christopher Walken. Seeing some of the animatic sketches was amazing too. Truly inspirational stuff.

    Imaginary Forces

    Imaginary Forces have been in the industry for over 20 years and the breadth of their work was just incredible – a massive variety of videos for some pretty famous films and tv shows! They do a lot of main title sequences, notably Seven, Boardwalk Empire, and Stranger Things –  all really fantastic works. But I loved this one in particular for Black Sails, the 3D work is so amazing, and I love their research behind the project looking at classical sculpture as inspiration.

    Cookie Studios

    Cookie Studios are a very talented 2D and 3D studio from London – enviable 3D capabilities! They had a great talk which was really client-based. They were very focused on understanding client need and rules – and it’s that, not just making, that makes them better designers. As they say, they can take a ‘shit’ subject and make it cool. I loved their alternative to the standard showreel too. 

    CLAUS

    CLAUS is a studio run by Justin Harder, an illustrator and animator in California. He started out working in a studio, but quit/got fired and moved to Santa Monica living for a few months in his RV… we all have to start somewhere! The variety in his title work was fantastic, we watched a few projects and the styles were so varied and well-executed. He’s been famous lately for doing the Deadpool, the Book of Life and Thor title credits (all awesome!) but Thor was my favourite. 

    GMUNK

    Bradley G Munkowitz – known as Gmunk, does stuff that’s really out of this world. Really, otherworldly was my main feeling. Such a funny guy though, he had the audience laughing so much! It was pretty explicit too, a few shocks!

    Over the past few years, he’s done a lot of interesting projects playing with light and lasers, which to look at I would say looks like 3d work or all VFX, but a lot is filmed using lights and shapes, which was fascinating. He’s reinvented his style a few times, which was good to see the progression. My favourite was this Adobe logo, with LED lights built the logo out of acrylic.

    Jamhot

    One of the few fellow Brits was Jamhot  – a cool graphic  / digital design studio from Glasgow. I loved the honesty in their talk, they spoke pretty truthfully about humble beginnings and wanting to be better all the time, with only their previous work to use a benchmark (like 20-year-old me!). They showed a few lovely projects, but I really liked the classical approach of their work for this school.

    Calvin Sprague

    I was really amazed at how young Calvin was – and how much he’d achieved by the time he was 25. Seriously props to him! He started doing design for music, punk and rock which over time grew to a much wider audience, doing work for Madonna, Beatles and Led Zep.

    But it was not what he wanted to do, it was too limited, so he moved to Amsterdam and started doing stuff for himself – I really liked his style, and it was nice to see the progression and how he got there. This design work for Target was really great large scale – the geometry is lovely.

    Ricardo Cavolo

    So, I’ve been a fan of this Artist, Ricardo (not designer!) for a few years now, I was excited about his talk. He’s definitely more offbeat, which some unusual inspirations. It was pretty fascinating. His work is mostly inspired by early medieval artwork and symbolism. Think about Gods, medieval magic and fairy tales, making a car into a chariot.. that kind of thing. Unlike most of the others I saw, he definitely has 1 particular style – and it’s very strong visually!

    Vallée Duhamel

    Montreal based duo, Vallée Duhamel, did the main titles for OFFF this year, which was a great finale for me. Their work is generally quite surrealist and they make videos described at High-Class Lo-Fi. Which basically means they usually real objects and household items to create their videos, which are filmed – but the end result looks in no way homemade.

    Watching the behind the scenes for some of their work was incredible to see weird small sets, and throwing things about, a massive contrast to the final polished product. For example in this video for Google, they struggled to get the grapefruit to roll straight!

    Wooh ok that was a long one! And really quite gushy sorry – but I think the work really speaks for how awesome and diverse it was. I think I’ll be back for more, so… until next time OFFF!

  • March 30, 2017

    9 Tips for Finding a Video Freelancer you can trust

    9 Tips for Finding a Video Freelancer You Can Trust

    As an agency or studio, hiring a loyal video freelancer is a great way to expand business capacity and add skillsets to your team at a low cost.

     

    When you do find a good freelancer, or freelance team, it can seriously boost your game. Having someone you can really trust to deliver high quality video or design work, without the hassle of paying for their downtime is invaluable.

     

    There are so many highly competent, talented video contractors, who know the business inside out – so how do you find the right one for you?

     

    Here are 9 tips for finding a freelancer you can really trust to help grow your business

    1. Get recommendations from other agencies or studios you know

    Get recommendations from other agencies or studios you know

    Word of mouth is still a great way of finding good people. Ask people you trust, to see who they trust. This is the best place to start if you’re unsure.

    2. Put your job on a specialist video / design job site

    Put your job on a specialist video / design job site

    This is a good start, as it weeds out more of the non-professionals straight away.

    Often when adding a job to a generic site, especially one with no login to apply, you will receive so many replies of such varying quality, it can be daunting to go through them all to get rid of those who are not suitable.

    Picking a video specific website like motionographer, filmandtvpro, or ifyoucouldjobs will give you a better calibre of applicants to start from. 

    3. Look at a number of their previous jobs

    Look at a number of previous jobs

    If you can, go much further than just a few videos they send upon application, you’re looking for consistent quality.

    If you have a quick look at up to 10 videos, you can see if the quality or standard drops and they don’t always have the level that you need.

    And with that many videos, you can see they are working regularly, it’s not just an evening side hustle.

    Looking at more of their past projects will also help you gauge properly if their style suits your needs.

    4. Find out what role they played in each video

    Find out what role they played in each video

    Often a contractor will only have been involved in 1 part of a video, for example – they did the design or just the animation part of it.

    If it’s not obvious from any accompanying text (which it really should be), ask them what they did.

    You don’t want to hire someone you think does animation and design, but you find out they’ve exaggerated their animation capabilities – and they’re really just good at design.

    5. Speak to their previous clients

    Speak to their previous clients

    Speaking to a previous client may not be needed, but getting a quick recommendation will certainly ease your mind if you’re unsure.

    If you have found someone who is a potentially good fit, they probably won’t mind if you request to speak to a previous client.

    Ask them about the full process end to end. Were they easily contactable? Did they deliver on time? Were there any unexpected costs? Did anything go really well / or badly? Did they work on more than 1 production?

    6. Locality doesn’t matter

    Locality doesn’t matter

    Initially, you may be looking for a freelancer to come into your studio to work, or at least be quite close. But this isn’t always necessary. Local can often be very expensive, or not high enough quality.

    For example, freelancers in London, or other major cities can be more expensive, purely because of where they are.

    And if you are based more rurally, then there may not be the right person close enough to you to commute to your offices.

    As long as the timezone isn’t too different – say less than 5-7 hours – you can have clear remote working relationships. I can see this trend of freelancers remote working getting more and more frequent.

    You don’t even need to stay within your country, though you may feel more comfortable.

    Although we’re UK based, some of our main clients are based in the USA, we have great communication, simply with Zoom and email.

    7. Have an introductory meeting

    Have an introductory meeting

    Often when agencies are looking for a freelancer, it’s quite last minute, they need help now! You may be in a rush to get work done – so there’s no time for an intro. 

    But a short meeting just to introduce both yourselves is vital to start gaining trust in the relationship, it only takes 20-30 mins to have a good chat and judge if they’d be a good fit for you, and vice versa.

    This can be in person or using a zoom is fine these days too. It will allow you to fully gauge what they’re like – are they approachable, do they seem honest? These qualities are just as important as their work.

    If you like them as a person it makes the job way easier and you’re more likely to hire them again. Most agencies don’t want to be looking for freelancers that frequently, they want to find someone and stick with them.

    8. Collect a list

    Keep a list

    When a big video production comes in and you have to pull out all the stops. You need a handy list of good animators or designers you can turn to for quick reliable turnaround – so you don’t waste essential time.

    So, if someone writes to you – they have a great portfolio, the price is reasonable and they seem capable, but it’s not the right moment, find some way of saving their email or contact details. you’ll thank yourself later when you’re in a rush!

    9. Plan your jobs / specifications well

    Plan your jobs / specifications well

    Once you’ve decided to hire a freelancer for the job – they need a solid brief.

    Freelancers are usually smart, and intuitive, but for a first project, they need a good clear plan to work to. They can’t read your mind yet!

    If you leave it too vague and they get the wrong idea – you’ve all wasted your time (and money) when the client isn’t happy.

    Give them as much guidance as you can, to begin with, the initial briefing with any job is very important.

    They will use all that going forward. It’s often a good idea to go through the script or storyboard line by line and make sure each section makes sense.

    The more info the better, and also be very clear about deadlines, contracts, what the deliverables are will all help the project to run successfully. 

    If possible, I would also allow a bit more time than usual for a first video project, so you have more time to make sure they are following your process and you can go through any questions without stress. 

    These days it is so easy to find a video freelancer online and work remotely, so go ahead!

    These tips should help you sort through and find the perfect match for your company.

    To see examples of our video work head to our video portfolio or animated video production page.

    And if you need a hand in your studio – contact us! We work for some great video and marketing agencies worldwide and offer a robust white-label video and animation service.

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