We recently delivered a series of animated e-learning videos for a client, and wanted to share with you how the production process works.
Animation is a fantastic way to engage with your audience, and when we were invited to pitch for this project it seemed the most simplistic way to communicate the organisation’s brief.
When we’re tendering for any project we’ll produce what’s called a creative treatment. This will be our thoughts on style, content and the feel of the production, and most crucially it will detail resources and budget so all parties clearly understand the process. We pitched a 2D animation featuring moving characters and iconography elements.
INITIAL CLIENT MEETING
The first stage in any animation is the concept development which is where we get together with the client to hold initial discussions around the look of characters, scenes etc. For this project we worked with three consultants to advise on content so our producer Tom, along with consultants Neil, Andrew and Rachel, met at our client’s London office to gain a clear vision of the client’s needs, enabling us to start development.
SCRIPT AND CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
Our writers can now begin scripting, creating a document that has the words for our voiceover artist, whilst our designer Angel hand-sketched individual storyboard frames, based upon scenes the director has outlined.
All these elements will be combined in the script, which also details the timings of each scene. We’ll then share the script with our client and go through an agreed number of amends, re-writing and tweaking the script, until everyone’s happy with the document.
Alongside the storyboarding process our designer will have started to create illustrations for the animation. These are all the elements that appear on screen and each one has to be individually drawn with computer software. Again there’s a process of feedback at this stage sharing the images with our client, making sure the look and feel of the design is correct. With animation it’s important to get feedback each step of the way and often clients really enjoy being involved in the creative process, suggesting different hair styles, items of clothing etc and seeing a character come to life.
At this stage we get our voiceover artist into the recording studio to lay down the talking elements of the animation. This is key to helping time the video as the animator will work to the speed of the artist’s voice. We work with a team of professional voiceover artists, who prepare demo reels for our producer to share with the client and help decide upon the right accent, tone etc that best fits the video or animation.
Each video is divided into sections of script; our animators then take each composition scene by scene, working closely with the director to bring the video to life.
POST-PRODUCTION AND SOUND DESIGN
As the scenes are individually animated it’s time to go into the edit suite where our editor can begin to assemble the video, as per the script. Edited to accompany the voiceover, our producer selects a background soundtrack they think will complement the style of the video.
This is also the stage in the process where the sound design is completed, this is the creation and mixing of all the sound effects that complement our animation and help it to come to life. For example, in a scene where a character is walking down a street, we’ll add the noise of cars and background noise, or when drafting a social media update you can hear the noise of typing on a keyboard.
With our edited animations complete it’s off to the client for review. Feedback can be on any element of the video, but having held the client’s hand through the entire process with regards to the design, illustration and script there shouldn’t ever be any nasty surprises. In this instance there were a few replacement lines to record and tweaks made to a few of the animated scenes with alternative words etc and the whole project was signed off and delivered within the 10 week schedule, and most importantly on budget.
If you’re contemplating using animated content as part of your marketing strategy, get in touch.
We’d love to start a conversation with you.