You’ve decided to commission animated video content to include in your marketing strategy, the first step to a more effective campaign and a better ROI.
But what is involved in commissioning an animated video production for your business? Why choose animation or motion graphics approach in the first place? What are the options available? Which is the right approach? Who will have to be involved and what sort of unexpected questions and demands will you have to deal with to bring your video to life?
Identifying your Requirement and Creating a Brief for your Animated Content
You should know what you want the video for – the business objective it has to achieve! Without this information there isn’t a starting point from which to develop thoughts and ideas.
The very minimum a brief should contain is a description of what the video is about, whom it is targeted at and what the desired outcome is. The brief should also include where the video will be shown online: on your website, on landing pages, social media at tradeshows etc. The brief is also the place to highlight your timescale and any other important considerations your video production company needs to deliver your video to the highest standard.
At this point you may not want to state that the resulting video has to be an animated marketing video as there may be alternatives that will deliver your objective better. If this is the first time you are considering video then allowing alternative options to be made available should be helpful.
Why choose an Animated Video?
Animation reduces complex ideas to simple easy to grasp concepts, as footage can be easily tailored to a higher degree than real footage. They are usually understandable in most languages without voiceover and can be easily adapted for other languages. This is great for creating brand or product awareness on a mass scale.
With careful planning, which means a lot of forethought about how the videos will be used across ALL your company’s online assets, they can be made to suit multiple purposes. Furthermore, planned properly, animated video can be as cost-effective as any other form of video.
However, there are a wide variety of video styles and techniques that could be considered as animated, for example Pixar or Disney cartoon films, 2D or 3D cell animation, whiteboard videos, explainers videos, infographic and motion-graphic, stop-motion, mixed with filmed footage and even screen-captures can be used in an animated video.
Finding the right Animated Approach
Cost is the major factor behind what is possible. At some point you will have to discuss this with your production company, so it will help the project to know what you can afford, even if you don’t want to reveal this from the outset.
Most people would understand that a Disney cartoon would cost a fortune. It’s a complete and unique one-off production involving hundreds of people for over 1-3 year or more.
You can buy sophisticated animated templates for as little as £35 from sites like Videohive, or find a talented digital multi-skilled designer/editor/creative and get it done your self for a fraction of the cost.
In order to provide a framework of the elements and costs that goes into making an animated video, here are the key elements presented in the film-industry standard way.
Provide the brief
You own the brief. At this stage your job is to speak to people to clarify and refine the approach which should lead on to a signed-off approach and costs. You are likely to start speaking to potential production specialists at this stage.
Can’t decide which video production company to choose to produce your video? Here are 10 Questions to help you choose the Best Video Production Company
Some of the pre-production gets covered during the process of finding your suppliers. Whether you choose a freelancer or a professional video production company, it is reasonable to expect that they will already be thinking ahead to the implications of how to get your video made if they win.
- Scripting – writing the words and flow of the video that communicates key messages and delivers the final call to action. No one knows your marketing objectives better than you, but it’s the scriptwriters job to incorporate them into the video script.
- Storyboarding – relating the words to images in the order they appear. This is not always necessary depending on the type of video you are creating. Sometimes just one or two images will be enough to show that the video will look as you wish.
- Planning and commissioning – any original filming or designed assets that need creating. In animation this is the biggie – see next section.
In the case of most animated marketing videos, this means the creation of new digital assets that will be required within the video, for social media and promotional purposes. These should be documented in a style guide covering design and video style considerations.
- Characters, a library of images covering the scenarios being described (so they can be re-used)
- Intro and Outro screens
- Sonics – the audio noises, pops, whizzes, musical notes and so on that provide depth to the production – they’re not always necessary, but they can make a difference
- Music – its still true that music can help even the dullest video move along
- Voiceover – written with a second by second guide for the VO artist, briefing covers tones of voice, flow and cadence.
All of these elements of new and original work and creativity are being carried out for the first time. If you are using templates you are still learning how to adapt them to your requirements for the first time.
In most forms of video production there will be some actual filming with a camera that takes place. In the case of an animated video, the budget, approach and the storyboard decides everything. Thereafter, the production and post-production phases effectively become merged into one.
Once you have designed, created, reviewed, amended and finessed your first video you will have a template and established a way of working that will make subsequent videos easier to create.
How much should an animated video cost?
This style of video content heavily depends on the brief, but here are some of our own examples ranging from £1500 – £10,000.
This animation video cost around £1,500 to make. Read the full case study here.
This animated video costs around £4000. View the whole case study here.
These examples are the higher end of the scale and have a budget of around £10,000.
Full case study here.
Full case study here.
This form of video production benefits from being scaled up, or in plain English if you order five or ten videos, the cost per video will reduce, potentially by 50-75%.
What are the Hidden Costs?
What the above prices don’t cover is your effort.
- How much of yours and your colleague’s time will this take up?
- What are you responsible for providing?
- What are the timescales? What if we need them sooner?
- What are the hidden costs?
Just like any form of video or filmmaking yours will benefit from maintaining the momentum of the project. From your point of view this means providing feedback in a timely, organised and consistent manner. If you have to co-ordinate the opinion of many take this into account and let your production company know.
Typically the commissioning company will provide their style/brand guide, original digital assets such as logo’s in their different forms, other key signage in hi-res formats that can be used in photo-shop, on editing suites and can be deconstructed when required.
The client will receive their first site of the video in an ‘assembly-edit’ format. This means all the right bits in the right places. You should usually get some notes of explanation, obvious changes that would be fixed later, places where your opinion is required.
After a period of amendments the video is finished and produced in the agreed format.
Social Media & Repurposing
In the world of ongoing social media domination and an ever-growing hunger for media consumption it makes plain common sense to at least consider how your animated marketing videos can be re-purposed for use across your social media channels.
Its one of the conversations you should have had at the briefing stage. Instagram videos, Vines, LinkedIn versions and so forth should be easily available and marginal extra cost – if you plan correctly.
A common but much misunderstood problem is the vernacular language of the creative industries. A production is a project, what you think is as an animated video might be described by someone else as a motion graphic video: that same person might describe an animated video as a cartoon, but what they mean is a stop-motion animation. It can be confusing to say the least. So always clarify exactly what is meant.
All film-making of whatever variety will cost less if the full requirement is identified and planned for from the outset. In the real world this isn’t always possible. How can you know what videos you might want in 18 months time?
You can’t, unless your marketing department knows what its plans will be at that time. What you can do is to understand the medium of video and think about the high-impact areas where it will benefit your business. What is the problem you want to address?. This is the beginning of your brief.