Secrets to Smooth Explainer Video Production
Want to Create an Explainer Video and Are Wondering About the Production Process?
Are you interested in creating an explainer video but want to know more about the production process, what you will get and how long it will take for your video to be created? Read this article or listen to the audio interview at the end of this article to hear our in-depth answers to these questions and a few other secrets to creating explainer videos that convert.
Today we’re going to be talking about explainer videos, in particular animated explainer videos. To better understand explainer production and some of our more pressing questions, we have Erik Kretchmar, who is co-founder of DemoFlick.com, a company that specializes in creating explainer videos and animated demo videos.
What’s the difference between an infographic, whiteboard video and an animated explainer video?
We do content and we all sorts of content. There have been all sort of industry names that have popped up over the years. Essentially a whiteboard video is typically hand drawn. There’s a whiteboard background. Either a hand is in the actual video or potentially there is not hand it’s just drawn.
Explainer videos, which is what we specialize in, typically there are animated characters. We create cartoon characters or sketch-style stick figures, whatever the case may be. They are animated and tell a story through graphics. Sometimes we don’t use characters at all; it’s just graphics as well.
Do you have a place where people can view examples of animated explainer videos?
We sure do. We’ve got a pretty extensive portfolio on our website within the portfolio section. We have a portfolio page and we have additional videos on our Vimeo channel, as well.
What are the steps to creating an explainer video?
It’s kind of like building a house in that there are several steps to building and there are certain things that you have to do in a certain order. For us it’s understanding the client’s message. We have our clients fill out a creative brief, which is an extensive document and it tells us more about their business and what the message has got.
That leads to us writing a script and developing a concept. Script writing can take some time and back-and-forth as far as getting the message right.
After script phase is completed we get into voice options and design options.
We present some concepts and then we get into animation previews showing essentially segments of the video along the way.
Do you help walk clients through the creative brief?
Yes. We do all the heavy listing. The brief is designed in a way that it’s very easy to understand. The clients don’t have a problem completing the questions. We ask them for specific reasons because we have answers that we want for the script. But certainly if the client has any questions we have no problem walking them through.
Regarding voiceover artists — how many voiceover artist choices will I get?
We present several voiceover talents that we think are a good fit for the project. So I’ll typically send a list off with artists that we think has the right voiceover talent, tone and the voice is a good fit in terms of the age range they portray and our clients typically go off of that list. If they don’t like our choices they we have an extensive portfolio of voice talent that we can present. But we typically provide them with some options that we think will be good fit first.
So you have done a lot of the screening ahead of time and then you use the creative brief to choose a voiceover artist that you think will fit my needs?
Exactly. At the end of the day the client makes the ultimate decision, but we try to at least refine the list for our client to put the best possible choices in front of them so they have an easy choice to make.
How do I get started with the explainer video process?
Once we receive an order from our business development sales team we send out an email with the creative brief. At that point our client starts to fill it out, we have a kickoff call and we get into the production process. There are several steps along the way.
How is the price of an explainer video determined?
We have a standard pricing in place for a 60-80 second spot; that’s what we recommend because that length tends to be the sweet spot for conversion. The price will go up the longer the video is. I guess you could say it is sort of predetermined based on that standard length.
How long will it take to create the explainer video?
We typically run on a 6-week turnaround time. It can be a little quicker at times, depending on how quickly our clients get back to us. In general once we receive a completed creative brief and we have a chance to chat with the customer, we can get a first draft of a script back to our client within 72 hours. Once we start the design animation phase that typically takes about 2 weeks.
There’s some built-in time there that allows us some back-and-forth for collaboration.
How many revisions can I make?
We don’t have a set number of the amount of revisions you can make to the script. We find the script as being a very important part of the process so we don’t want to limit ourselves because sometimes we get into it and it takes a few iterations before everyone is happy. In general we usually go back and forth with our clients about 3-4 times but we don’t put a predetermined amount in terms of revisions our client can make.
We think messaging is so important. It’s kind of a fluid process. It takes a little bit of time in terms of where the message is where it needs to be so we let the process sort of evolve on its own.
When do I get to see a product from you and give feedback on the explainer video?
There are several steps. The first step is to get the script and the concept down.
Then we give an audio visual script. The right column is the narration and the left column is a text-based description of what the visuals will look like.
Once the script is approved, at that point we proceed and record the voice. Once the voice is approved we then get into the design; we create a scene board. The first 5-6 scenes are presented as still images, which allows our client to see the look we’re going after, the look we’re going after, the general design and general aesthetic.
Once that is approved we then get into animation preview which is typically 10-15 seconds in length to see the design with movement added to it and then we typically then proceed to the end.
So there are several points in the approval process along the way where the client gets to give approval and then we can keep progressing forward from there.
This is a collaborative process so we’re definitely going do all the heavy lifting, but we want our client’s input and oftentimes our clients have great input about things they want and it helps enhance the video. It really helps to have them involved and giving approval along the way.
How do you deliver the project files?
We typically send an email so that the client can simply download. We deliver a high-res MP4 for our clients so they can just download the MP4.
At that point they can use whatever service they want to use embed the video onto their site; we use Vimeo on our site and that works well. But, there are many options out there.
Do you allow revisions after the completion of the video?
Yes. Once we deliver a product, if the client then changes their branding or text, or even wants to change voiceover, we can certainly do that for our clients. We typically operate on an hourly basis and bill accordingly based on the scope of the project.
Do you help clients integrate the video on their websites?
Yes, we do have a list of a few solutions that we recommend and we deliver that to you with the final file.
Do you have anything else about the explainer video process that you would like to share?
We have a very high client rating with our clients and try to exceed the expectations with the quality of video we are putting out. We love what we do and it shows in our work. I definitely would like the viewers to check out our portfolio.
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Explainer videos are highly effective for retail. Just watch Office Depot’s explainer video for retail to see how it can make a message fun, informative and engaging. The characters are unique, the message is spot on and the music and voiceover complement Office Depot’s brand voice perfectly. In just under 90 seconds Office Depot’s explainer video introduces its exciting new services to viewers in a way that says customers matter.
BAI Learning and Development is a learning management platform that helps companies track the compliance training and progress of their employees. Using an explainer video to simplify the company’s message works particularly well because of the platform’s complex and detailed features and benefits. Rather than using characters, we focused on telling BAI Learning and Development’s story through motion design techniques and animated graphics.
This software explainer video is one part techie and two parts fun. Hip characters, background music with an indie vibe and a fresh, modern approach make this explainer video an excellent way for Alpha Anywhere to speak to its target audience. Part of what makesx this video so successful is the artistic choice to keep the background imagery clean and crisp, and the brand’s message detailed yet simple.
Just because a product or service is techie doesn’t mean the brand’s message has to be. An explainer video is a great way to simplify your message so that your tech product or service is put into language that the masses can understand. Watch this explainer video for tech to see how fun maps, slick characters and a powerful message can help engage viewers and tell a tech brand’s story.
Who says measuring learning outcomes has to be boring? This explainer video for QuestionMark is a great example of how a B2B explainer video can take a normally dry topic flavorful without convoluting the message. The choice to use stick figures keep the characters neutral. Coupling a professional yet modern voice with music that is intentionally fun creates an audio-visual experience that gets the message across while keeping the video lighthearted.
Talking about your own product in a way that outsiders understand is one of the biggest challenges of marketing, especially if you are working against the clock. Once website visitors land on your page you only have a few seconds to catch their attention and that’s our specialty. So when Symform asked us to create an animated explainer video for their website that explains how they pay their customers in bytes, we jumped at the challenge.
"DemoFlick excels in two key areas"
DemoFlick excels in two key areas, first, taking a complex technical concept and reducing it to a memorable visualization that can be easily understood. Second, by creating a series that stays consistent in voice, brand and understanding. Whether its two videos or ten you achieve the desired outcome that also illustrates an important cohesiveness.
"The whole team at DemoFlick was great to work with!
Hewlett Packard: "The whole team at DemoFlick was great to work with! We had some pretty wacky ideas for a new campaign and needed a really catchy video to draw prospects in. DemoFlick worked quickly and professionally to produce, and adjust the video in time for our launch. Very pleased with the whole process, and loved the end result!”
Product Marketing Manager
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