These 5 Bullets on Content Production for Marketing Will Save You a Pretty Penny.

August 22, 2022
 · 
4 min read

1. Get to Know the Animation Content Production Process

Unlike live-action timelines, animation timelines require better pre-production, because they have less "we can fix it in post" magic. It's important that the choices you make during pre-production are adhered to during post-production to avoid delays and overages. Thus, there are several rounds of pre-production feedback, more than you're used to. Animated marketing videos follow this best-practice process:

  1. Script: A detailed script should not only outline the voiceover or dialogue but also what all text will be tied to visually. In a two-column script, Column 1 describes the visuals, and Column 2 contains Text-on-screen (TOS) and Voiceover (VO) or Dialogue.
  2. Style frame: In parallel to script work, we will send you some examples of finished frames. Your opportunity to determine animation style will likely involve 2-3 rounds of feedback.
  3. Storyboard: Once you approve the script and style frames, a storyboard will be created. Your storyboard will show the complete narrative. Feedback may take up to three rounds. Changing storyboards after approval can get expensive. A great tool for storyboarding that we use is storyboarder.
  4. Animatic/Motion Test: In order to give you a better idea of how the animation will look, we will show you a brief clip. This is sight, sound, and motion, so nailing how things move is just as critical as how they look (expect another round of reviews).
  5. Voiceover: By this point, you'll need a voiceover so we can time each vignette.
  6. Animation: Often, this is the longest part of the process (surprise, surprise!).
  7. Soundtrack: We can either compose a completely original track for the sound bed, riff off of an existing track, or use stock audio. If stock audio is used, we will need audio in stems to be able to time music better with animation.
  8. Delivery and publication: We will deliver slated .MOV files for TVC, and normally .MP4 files for web and social media as they are lighter in file size.

Do you need help with Animation Content Production, please get in touch with Blacksmith.

2. Pre-production animation: Start with style and tone

Style frame by Blacksmith

The process of animation is so flexible and offers so many options, it's hard to know where to start. Start by looking up examples of animation styles you like. Check out Behance, YouTube, or subscribe to our pretty newsletter BRIEF for animation examples. This will help you communicate what you're picturing, as well as identify some visual styles you like. Do you like hand-drawn animation? Are you into 2D animation? Is it 3D?

2D Animation Examples.

It's helpful to support your written descriptions of your target tone with visual examples (including images or videos) that capture the look and feel you want. Also, identifying your music early on is key, since it'll dictate the pace. Sound effects and music will be added after the animation, but any tone inspiration you can provide will be enormously helpful.

3. Voiceovers are part of animation pre-production

Voiceovers (we like voices.com) are usually afterthoughts with live-action productions, but with animated marketing videos, they've got to happen at the beginning of the process - which means getting your script written, approved, and locked early on. With the script and your visual examples, we'll create a style frame and storyboards, which ultimately dictate what's on screen. Your timeline can get derailed if you change your script after the animation phase starts.

Do you need help with Animation Content Production, please get in touch with Blacksmith.

4. Make sure you know what platforms you're going to use

There are different requirements and limitations for different platforms, including the runtime and aspect ratio. In post-production, live-action footage can be optimized for platforms by cropping, editing, and adding graphics. With animation, it's rarely the same. It can be difficult (and costly) to change aspect ratios after the animation phase has started or reorganize animation to make it :15 seconds instead of :30 seconds, since animation tends to flow seamlessly between scenes.

5. Know the cost drivers in animated videos

You can spend a lot on animated marketing videos if you're not prepared from the start and need revisions once production is underway. When it comes to animated content, the two biggest costs are the length and human figures. Your finished product will cost more the longer it is. Getting creative in the concept phase to get rid of any representations of humans will help reduce your production budget. However, human representation is a significant driver of engagement.

Example of product-focused animated content vs. human

Do you need help with Animation Content Production, please get in touch with Blacksmith.

Blacksmith creates interactive, short- and long-format video content for any sort of rectangular device or screen. Content production includes TV commercials, theatre, YouTube, Facebook & Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Metaverse, and web.

If you have questions feel free to contact us.

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