Users don't want to sit and read through reams and reams of text on the internet, and with attention spans shorter than ever, you need to work hard to keep visitors engaged when they land on your site. A video is a great way of doing this. In this post, I explain how our company went about creating an animated explainer video for our site, with the help of animation studio Chog Zoo, and the processes we went through. But first, let's take a look at the finished video:
Step #1 - Establish a Purpose and a Goal for the Video
The very first step in creating an animated video is to establish what the purpose of it is and what you want to achieve. In our case, we wanted to create an explainer video, which would explain in very simple terms what our service was and how it can help people.
Step #2 – Find a Provider/Supplier to Create Your Video
If you are going to outsource the creation of your video, you will need to find someone to create it for you. There are several platforms such as Wooshi that enable you to find this supplier. In our case, I decided to go with a studio I knew, so I chose some friends I had been to college with. When briefing your supplier, get an idea of timescales and a price quote up front, so there are no nasty surprises.
Step #3 – Create a Solid Script
We had written a script, which was centred around the narrative of a typical customer, Tom, who works for an internet marketing agency. The script tells the story of how Tom has used traditional freelance copywriters in the past and found this inefficient and difficult to manage. It then presents Copify as the solution to this. I would recommend a script that your potential visitors will have empathy with, as this helps you to create a rapport and increases your chances to converting them, as Andrew from Chog Zoo explains:
We find that clients often have a script that they would like to use, and if so, we work with them to make it workable in the animation/video format and to tighten it up to be direct, and easy to understand to the target audience. If there is no script, our starting point is to find out what is the intended content for communication and create a script for the client to sign off on.
Step #4 - Nail Down the Artwork and Storyboards
Once you have your script nailed down, the next step is to decide on artwork. We were given several different character and scene designs to choose from, and we settled for the following:
Depending on the nature of your video, and how clear your script is, you may need to put together a storyboard, however, this is not always required, as Andrew explains:
Storyboards may not be necessary, or they may be rough sketches, or they could also be fully realized stills of what the final animation should look like. This differs from client to client, and sometimes the deadline is so tight we have to skip storyboards and jump immediately from script to animation once a visual style is agreed on.
In our case, we gave detailed directions on the script of what the scene would be, e.g. 'Tom on the phone', 'Tom in the office having a party' so there was no need for a storyboard and we skipped straight to the animation.
Step #5 – Add Narration
Sound and narrative is usually the next step. We decided that we wanted to go for a professional voiceover for our site, and we were lucky enough to have a voiceover artist, Alex Ashby among our staff of writers. We gave Alex the script and he sent back a recording which he made in a studio. We also created 2 other voiceovers for our Australian and American sites, with native speakers, which we felt would give us more chance of building rapport with, and converting local users. We sourced these from Fiverr, which I recommend, particularly if you are on a budget. Having the narration in place before you start the animation can really help, as we can them time our animation to it. We have worked on projects where we’ve had to use a temporary audio track that we recorded ourselves for timing reference, which is then replaced at the end of the project, but ideally we will have this before we start.
Step #6 – Putting it all together
Once you have created your artwork and the script you are going to work with, the next step is putting it all together. If you want to do this yourself, Andrew explains the software that is required:
We mostly use Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) software, starting in Illustrator, and sometimes Photoshop depending on the nature of the artwork. Animation and post production is created in After Effects, with character animation handled in Toon Boom. The final edit is completed in Adobe Premiere Pro.