Animation allows your message to be illustrated in a completely unique and easily processed format.
As a leading Sydney Video Production Company, Laundry Lane has brought to life the visions of clients such as the Australian Cyber Security Centre, Sydney Trains, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Breast Cancer Trials, Hays Recruitment, Abbvie and the Department of Jobs and Small Business.
As well as being a stylistic choice, Animation not only helps your videos stand out but can also be a useful and engaging medium for unpacking complex concepts.
Laundry Lane Director Alexandra Cordukes talks through the process of commissioning animated content.
1. The Production Process
The Animation process is very collaborative – most successful projects come from higher client involvement.
Collaborating at key points ensures the visuals and messaging remain on-brand. So, we don’t want our clients to shy away from the process but to have input at all stages.
To run you through the process I’m going to use a video we created for the Australian Cyber Security Centre, which explains the purpose of their Joint Cyber Security Centres. The process can change slightly depending on the project, but this is generally how it goes.
Scripting can refer to spoken dialogue or text on screen.
We always suggest that our clients keep it simple, short & avoid repetition. Not only will this ensure that your script is more effective in communicating your message and keeping the audience engaged, but it will also save production time and costs.
It’s also important to remember that visual images simultaneously reinforce messages and will help to communicate what you’re trying to say so you can pull back on the script at times and let the images do some of the talking.
TIP: Read it out loud to see if it flows well and to get an accurate timing.
3. Style Frames
Style frames create the look and feel for your animation.
It’s great at this stage to let the agency know any branding requirements to incorporate – such as fonts, colours, iconography etc.
We often create two style options for the client to choose from, and these can be tweaked as well. The client receives a few style frames to represent a few sentences or ideas.
The Storyboarding process involves a lot of creative concept development. Each message of the script is represented visually and every layout of the entire video is included in the storyboard.
Once the storyboard has gone through a few rounds of feedback and changes with the client, it’s vital that it receives final sign off before moving into the animation phase. This will save a lot of time down the track.
Because the storyboard represents each layout of the video, there should be no surprises upon final delivery – except for added touches like the transitions.
In this example, we have 29 layouts for a 50-second animation. This took 5 full days to design.
All storyboard layouts are edited together in sequence to make a video, with a guide voice over and sample music added.
An animatic indicates pace and timing – which gives client a better understanding of the final product and instils confidence to move into animation the phase.
Motion is added to the still designs.
Only minimal changes take place at this stage – so when the first draft is delivered, there’s no nasty surprises.
Our animators use the programs After Effects and Cinema 4D. Once they’re finished, they have to render the file, essentially compressing and exporting the video. For example, this animation took 3 hours to render.
7. Voice Overs
The producer will discuss your preference for male or female, age bracket and tone, and then send through a few demos for the client to choose from.
We’ll the have the artist come into our studio to record and then we’ll edit the recording. The complete voice over then establishes the pace of the animation.
The timeframe of the project typically depends on how long the script is, the style of animation, and what’s involved – such as voice-over, SFX, 3D animation, the client’s internal approval systems.
An Animation will take longer than a film-based video of the same length. For a 1-2-minute animation, we advise allowing 4 weeks.
Voice-Over vs. Text Driven
So, when commissioning an animated video, something to think about is when to use animated text or when to use voice over, or possibly both to deliver the script.
Psychologists have proven that pairing language with images, whether spoken or written, makes a message more memorable. But when is it more appropriate to use text, or voice-over or both to drive the messaging?
Text on screen can be more cost-effective as you eliminate recruitment and talent costs, recording and editing costs. So, when do you invest in a voice-over? We also advise using voice-over when your message requires a human element –when the tone and relationship to real people is important in conveying your message.
It’s also important to remember text on screen can compete with images e.g. when watching a subtitled movie, you’re constantly swapping between reading and viewing the action. So, you want to avoid competition between images and text.
Our animators spend a lot of time designing the animation so that the audience’s eyes are directed in a particular way and on the right places, and there’s not that competition between what to look at.
Another point to make is that it’s particularly impactful syncing the dialogue to the text as it reinforces key messages. But it’s also good to remember that 80% of people watch videos on social media without sound. So often we advise using text AND voice-over, so it’s beneficial on both levels – whether full captions or just key words and phrases, it makes sure that that muted audience are still absorbing the messages, but you also get that extra impact if they are watching with sound.
- Voice-over is particularly great for longer, word dense scripts, and for forming human connection
- Text-on-screen should be short and simple, mainly key words and phrases (unless they’re for full captions or quotes)
- Syncing dialogue with text on screen adds extra impact
- When commissioning an animated video, you might want to think about factoring voice-over into your budget, and what key words and phrases you can have animated on the screen.
- If you do choose to use text think about this upfront so it can be worked into the creative designs nicely and not just plonked somewhere on the screen as an afterthought.