If you find yourself searching for a new product or service you recently heard about, there’s a high chance that you will find a video for that. And that video will oftentimes be an explainer video.
Explainer videos are the go-to medium for companies to help demystify their products/services when they have information to share.
This short-form video that highlights a company’s product, service, or business idea compellingly and effectively is an explainer video.
You’ll see most businesses host explainer videos on their landing pages or feature them on the homepage of their website. Some also use explainer videos to advertise their products and services on social media websites.
Why use an explainer video?
With explainer videos, people gain a better understanding of a product or service, because once they either see or hear someone explaining how to use it, and how that product works, they develop a better understanding overall.
An explainer video helps you to connect better with your potential customer by explaining to them what your business can do for them, and why they should choose you over other competitors.
Our Explainer video production process
Every company’s explainer video production process may vary to a certain degree. At MotionCue, we like to keep things simple and streamlined. After considerable tweaking over many years, here’s the process that has worked really well for all our clients:
At this stage, you discuss the objectives and needs of your business with our team. This includes finding answers to questions, such as
- Why do you need this video?
- Who is your target audience?
- How (and where) do you plan to use it?
- What business metrics will determine if this video is a success
- What is the mood of the future video — is it going to be dominantly corporate or more casual and informal?
This is the stage wherein we help you figure out what type of explainer video you need: if it is going to be an animated explainer video, or a screencast video, etc.
Also, at this stage, we ask you about your main competitors and brands that you consider as the top role models in your niche in terms of their video marketing. It will help us shape a clearer understanding of your needs and preferences.
The success of your explainer video hinges on quality planning. Given that there will be a lot of interlinked tasks, you must collaborate without rushing or falling behind.
In other words, you should create a detailed scope statement, a clear project outline, and a robust timeline for your project.
Having clarity is the key, as it will help you accurately outline your needs in terms of resources and team members.
Check out this video that covers some important points about clients and first meetings.
The script is the most important element in creating a good explainer video.
Your explainer video can have the coolest graphics accompanied by a Morgan Freeman-esque voice over, and it wouldn’t mean a thing without a solid script.
During the pre-production stage, scriptwriting is where we spend a good part of our time and energy.
We love for our clients to be actively involved in the scriptwriting process. The reason for this is that you know your target customer’s concerns and pain points better than anyone else. And the video is where those concerns need to be addressed.
So you need to answer these questions in your script, like
- What freaks out your potential customers?
- What confuses them about your product or offer?
If you haven’t already done background research to answer these questions, you should go back to step one and consider surveying your target market to figure it out.
Once that’s sorted, your formulated script will offer a quick overview of your product and what it does.
It will introduce the problem your viewers are already facing, and then answer this problem with your solution (your product or service).
Ideally, it will broadcast trust signals, such as testimonials from well-known clients, showcase awards or write-ups, etc. Finally, it will have a call-to-action (e.g. ‘sign up for our free trial by clicking here’).
As we bring together all the research and answers, we will then work on creating a script that ticks all the following points.
- It is generally short — 60 seconds seems to be the sweet spot when it comes to explainer videos.
- You should give your key message value proposition within the first 30 seconds. Don’t keep your viewers wondering.
- Speak in 2nd person by using words like ‘you’ and ‘your’.
- Keep in mind the tone you want for your explainer video. Most videos opt for a casual, conversational tone.
- Try a touch of humor. Videos that evoke an emotional response tend to be more memorable.
Once the script is refined and finalized, our team prepares a few stylistic variations of the first few scenes of the client’s video to give them a sense of what the end product will look like.
This step also helps our clients get a grasp on what the character in the video will be like, the color schemes that will be used, the tone, etc.
Once we get the feedback, we take the input and make the necessary tweaks and revisions and the once it’s all good, we move ahead.
Here are some style variations we made for one of our clients:
A storyboard is a series of sketches that represent the individual shots you plan for your video, film, or commercial. They often include directions of camera angles, pointers and adjustments for lighting, and transitions between scenes along with dialogue and other important notes.
Just like most professional writers begin their works with outlines, great marketers also begin their videos using storyboards.
What are the steps involved in creating a storyboard?
- Establishing a timeline
Storyboarding is all about structure. So, first off, we figure out the sequence of events for your video by figuring out your narrative style.
- Identifying key Scenes
Then, we determine the pivotal points of your video. This is where we zoom-in on differentiating features of your products, create a montage of customers using your product, or capture a grand opening shot.
Essentially, we focus on incorporating scenes that will engage your viewer and drive them to take action.
- Deciding on how much details to add to each scene
Do you want to take a cleaner approach like Dropbox and Facebook, which focuses on cut-out animation or screen shots?
Or do you prefer the busier sales-pitch approach, where you see the salesperson walking you through using your product? Or maybe you want another concept entirely.
- Detailing your script in the storyboard
Whether you’re relying on dialogue, voice overs, or a combination of both, the script outlines all the spoken words for the video. In a later step, we overlay the audio on the corresponding thumbnails.
- Sketching out your thumbnails
Illustrators will draw out characters and backgrounds. Stick figures and simple geometric shapes denoting objects are also used.
- Annotating each scene with details
A storyboard is a visual tool; you need to add in the non-visual details to make it come to life and deliver best results.
So, we add dialogues from the script to each thumbnail. Add directional notes for people who will be working on the video, such as desired lighting and camera angles.
5. Voice-over recording
Animated explainer videos rely on engaging visuals and a simple and concise message to capture audience’s attention.
Once we have the perfect script to deliver that message, we now need to find the perfect voice to speak it to your audience.
It is important to note that the voice-over needs to be recorded before the animation process can start.
By knowing the exact tone you want for your voice, you can make the entire process a lot easier for yourself and your voice artist.
- We typically share several voice-over artist demos with you so you can listen and select the artist that you feel is going to be the best representation of your brand.
- When selecting a voice-over artist, it is best practice to get an artist with the right accent for your explainer videos. The right accent for your video is based entirely on your customer base.
For instance, if you are launching a product in Asia or Africa, make sure your voice-over artist has a local accent. Not only would your customer base find it easier to relate to that voice, but they are also prone to find you more trustworthy.
- Your voice-over should use the right style and language to appeal to your target audience. Think of it this way, if you are pitching to boardroom suits, being too casual and using a lot of slang may be disadvantageous. Conversely, sounding too formal would appear uptight to younger decision-makers.
- Plus, it should follow the mood and style of your video. It should correspond with your video’s tone and content. Where the video relies on humorous situations and exaggerated animation, a somber and serious tone will seem out of place.
- Make sure that your voice-over emphasizes the keywords. It’s important that your voice-over has requisite emphasis on certain words and phrases.
Once the script and storyboard are approved, we move on to putting words into action. Here is where we start animating your concept.
The animation and motion graphics phases involve building the necessary images to go with the message. This phase requires great attention to detail and each step ensures that the visuals created in the production stage reflect the initial concept.
Here’s the finished explainer video we made for our client:
7. Music and sound effects
The next step is adding music and sound effects. Music adds flavor to explainer videos.
It can turn a monotonous video into an upbeat and fun watch. It can also alter the feel and pace of your video. For example, adding powerful and fast-paced background music would help to make the video livelier. On the same note, sound effects make your video come to life.
Watch this to find out where to find sound tracks and music for your video:
8. Post-production and revisions
This is the stage where you give a final look to your explainer video.
Post-production involves a complete overview of the entire process of editing and mixing sound, tweaking background music, altering graphics, and including lower thirds. Once you are done with your thorough video editing and revisions, you are finally ready to share your video with the world.
9. No limit on revisions
Finally, what sets us apart is that we don’t restrict the number of revisions at any stage of the process. So, you will get unlimited free revision until the completion of your video.
And step-by-step, you unfold your masterpiece — a concise explainer video that introduces your idea, product or service to the world.
If there is an instance where our client approves a deliverable but later in the process wants to make changes to it, this may result in an extra fee.
Say we’re at the animation stage of the explainer video production process, and our client wants to make some substantial changes to the script.
This will mean that we’re going to have to go a few steps back and make all the subsequent changes in the storyboard and voice-over to implement changes into the animation.
This could get complicated for us and the client, which is why both company and client need to work together every step of the way to create the final piece. It helps to keep things simple, steady, and on track,
Though explainer video production may seem like a complex process (which it is), your animated explainer videos are worth it in the end because they can attract new customers, diversify your content, and propel your website to a whole new level.
Get in touch if you want an explainer for your business.
Want a video for your business?