The Art of Making An Explainer Video
We know that a vibrant and creative explainer video is crucial to attracting clients to your business. But, in addition to being neat to watch, a good explainer video has to do just that—explain.
What makes a great explainer video?
A great explainer video should lead to increased conversion rates when executed correctly. However, it also needs to convince audiences and consumers that they should value your brand. Being lazy, cutting corners and not investing an appropriate amount of time, effort and money will result in a video that can be detrimental to your company image.
At Mude, we explain to all our clients that their explainer video also needs to serve a purpose for marketing and not just educating.
Here’s what goes into a great explainer video:
The ideal length of an explainer video is between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, depending on how much information you need to provide. The most crucial information should be provided within the first 30 seconds to get your message across to as many viewers as possible before they begin to click away. With marketing and advertisements; The shorter, the better. The last thing we want to do is drag out things that can be said in a more concise way, but that doesn’t mean your video has to feel rushed.
The best explainer videos are structured in an intelligent and sensible way. That means it isn’t jumping around from the “who we serve” points to the “what we do” points at random. It should all be focused and flow nicely. Check out this explainer video we did for one of our clients, Record Time which is a great example of flow.
Over recent years, “whiteboard style” animation (or often called “doodle marker”) has been popular. This style of animation usually involves a hand writing on a white canvas, and sometimes moving other elements around like cutouts of characters, icons, or a logo. This style of video is great for getting a message across in a simple way, but it’s become an overused and standard way of engaging audiences.
Other explainer styles include:
- Typographic: This video consists of text that is animated in various ways (words folding out, letters spinning, etc.) A typographic animation can save on costs, and since everything is meant to be read, voiceovers are usually left out.
- Animation: A great way to use characters and other elements to tell your message. Classic animation can be voiced-over or just have music accompaniment to the story. This is by far the most popular style of explainer out there. Not to mention, a highly produced animation video can do great things for how people perceive your brand. But more often then not, a standard animated explainer video will go unnoticed amongst the other thousands of explainers out there.
- Live Action: In most cases, this style of video will be the most expensive. But when executed in a smart and engaging way, will deliver results that other styles simply can’t compete with. If you value your brand in high regard, getting a live action explainer video done right will do wonders.
The Creation Process
Research and message
It is important to note that the purpose of an explainer video is to explain a companies products and services in a fun and engaging way that keeps the audience attentive. For a good example of this, check out the Slack or Xero explainer videos. At Mude, we always aim to make our videos entertaining and engaging so they can serve multiple purposes of being a good explainer video for a company website as well as marketing or advertising content across youtube and other social media channels.
Before writing a script, the details of the business/company need to be written out or discussed with all stakeholders producing the video. The creative team will turn the clients brief into a concept that helps push these key messages.
Pre-production: The script, shot list and storyboard
Just like any quality production, the first step in making a great explainer video is planning and scripting it out. Even if there won’t be a voiceover or any piece to camera with talent, an explainer video needs a storyboard before it can be created. The storyboard is an outline of each scene, angle or frame, and what point it will be trying to make. If it’s a live action video, the camera production team will also develop a shot list detailing what shots the team need to capture. This stage also involves location scouting, organising the crew and talent, and making sure there is a plan for the production stage.
Production: creating the video
The production team could be a freelance animator or video producer, creating the whole product on their own. This is appropriate for small businesses with a small budget. Larger organisations will usually bring in a production company or agency to produce the video.
The team will consist of the producer (responsible for organising everything at the agency) and they will often also provide the core team to create the video. The rest of the crew will typically be experts in their field or have a distinctive style or skill set unique to the clients needs (cinematographers, makeup artists, visual effects etc.) and could work for the agency directly or contracted in for that particular project.
Why go to all this trouble?
Explainer videos are fantastic ways to bring in new visitors and increase conversion rates. On-site, they educate buyers about products. When shared off-site, they act as advertisements to bring in new customers. An explainer video is more than just the name suggests, they are an asset to the company used to make explaining their products and services easier and increase sales in a fun and engaging way.
Most importantly, businesses should remember to update their videos as they update their products or services. And if not for those reasons, to refresh your video/s every now and then so they don’t feel ‘dated’ to audiences and customers.