How to brief and produce animated video content
In a world where the audience is bombarded with content, it can be difficult to stand out among the crowd. Animated video content is a great way to get your message across and increase engagement with your audience. And it’s highly versatile; upload the full version to your website, show it at events or cut it down into shorter exerts for use on social media. Once you’ve invested in an animated video campaign, you can make it work hard to get more bang for your buck.
But if you’re daunted by the task of briefing and producing animated video content, don’t let the process put you off. Partnering with an experienced agency can help guide you through the process and ensure you get the best possible result from your investment.
Here’s what you can expect when you embark on the journey of video animation production – from creative briefing right the way through to video publishing…
At brewd, we prefer to work with 2D animation because we find them more story orientated and artistic and less mechanical. It's also more affordable than 3D because it has a shorter creation process and requires less resource-heavy software and hardware. These are created with vector graphics in a combination of AdobeAfter Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop. While every animation project is unique, they generally all follow eight fundamental stages.
The purpose of a good creative brief is to gather information about your business/brand/product, and then drill down the purpose of the animation and what it needs to achieve. In any creative briefing session – be it for a video, printed or digital media – it’s an opportunity to agree the project objectives from the outset and define the content’s:
The next stage is to agree a concept for the animation; your agency will usually feedback two or three concepts based on the briefing, and the final version will form the backbone of the content. In the case of a video animation, these concepts can either be conceptual, character-driven, emotional or conversational.
Once the concept has been pinned down, then the script writing process follows. Dependent on the need, the script usually falls into one of two categories. A Problem-Solution approach, which starts by addressing the audience’s problem, highlights the product solution and outlines its features/benefits. Or, a Stand-alone Story approach; this is used when launching an innovative product that is entirely new and unknown to people. You can directly start the video script with the product, followed by the features and benefits.
The ideal length for an animated video is 60 to 90 seconds, which amounts to an average of 150 to 225 words for the video script, broken down as follows:
Choosing the perfect voiceover artist is not to be sniffed at. He or she will form the voice for your brand and your product, so it’s important you choose the right fit. Consider their pace and tone. Would you prefer a male or female voice? And would a certain accent resonate with your audience better than others? If it’s reaching an international audience it may be best to choose a neutral voice with no strong accent. A good voiceover artist should stress the right words, follow the correct pitch and pause with effect If you’re working with an agency they should be able to guide you with this choice and will usually provide you with a curated short-list to choose from.
This stage connects the narrative to the visuals, detailing how the script will play out scene-by-scene with visual cues, actions and prompts. It’s a great way of visualising the end product before the animation process actually begins, and helps ensure the client, project manager, writers and animators are all in sync.
Here we create a visual style, usually based on the client’s brand guidelines unless it’s agreed otherwise. These are custom, full colour images that show how the final video will look, featuring any character design, illustration, text, colours, background detail and so on, and really give a flavour for the final animation. Each element should come together to reflect the theme, mood, style and emotion of the video. At Brewd we like to present two of three visual style options, so our clients have plenty of inspiration to choose from.
This is where the animated video starts to take shape, bring life to the visual style. The voiceover is laid over the top to set the pace and to make the content more engaging. As a general rule, we don’t like to charge straight in with a complete animation following the visual style phase. It’s better to present the first few frames animated and ensure everyone is still on board before we plough to completion. Animated content can be costly and time-consuming to amend, so it’s better for everyone's sake to check everyone’s still happy before the video goes too far.
This stage really sets the mood of the video. Ever watched a horror film with no audio? It’s not quite the same is it? The same goes for your animated video. Opt for the best licensed and royalty-free music from reliable sources such as PremiumBeat and Audio Network to find the right music track.
Once everyone is happy with the final animation, voiceover and music, then it’s time to render any final effects and export the final file size and formats. The production phase is over and it’s time to get your animated video out there and working hard for your business.
As a guide, from step one to eight this process typically takes six to eight weeks. And, while it’s not the only way to go about the 2D animation process, this tried-and-tested method certainly works for us and our clients.
If you want to find out more about animated explainer videos or need help producing one for your business, feel free to get in touch.
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