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The Animated Video Process: 7 Steps For Getting It Done Right

You just got approval to start on your animated video project and you’re asking yourself, “What do I do now?” Well, first-off, you should totally celebrate! An animated video is a great way to build up branded content and tell your company’s story in a new and excited way. Plus, it’s a fun process. Here are our seven steps for creating a great animated video.

1. Concept

The concept is the story. Without a strong storyline, the visuals won’t have any impact and won’t meet your business goals. This phase includes the Creative Brief — a questionnaire that the clients fills out. Here the video production company finds out about goals, branding, unique selling points, benefits, and non-negotiables (items or topics that cannot be cut). This is the fuel to the brainstorm where the concept is born. At VAC, we take our creative brainstorms very seriously because it sets the framework, tone, and strategy for the video. They’re also a moment to have fun with ideas and get a little playful — which might sound like we’re screwing around, but this gives the team an opportunity to change perspectives and develop bold ideas. Once this step is complete, a couple of concepts are pitched to the client. Once the winner is selected, onto the script!
 

2. Script

This is where the message is developed. Characteristics of a strong script are concise and casual language, staying on point, and having a strong call to action. Without a call-to-action, your video ROI will be difficult to measure. Typically this step only takes about 3-5 days and from there it’s open up for revisions. A big benefit of having an outsider write your video script is that it’s a new perspective. Heck, your producer could also be your customer, and a great script always keeps the audience in mind.
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3. Storyboard

  Here is where you start to see the visuals. After a concept and script are approved by the client, we draft up frame-by-frame the look of your video. Here is where you can see the beginnings of design and how the story progresses. It’s important to remember that at this phase that everything is sketched out. This makes it easier for us to incorporate your feedback and keep things moving along.

4. Style

The reason why we create each video from scratch is because each video should be unique to your business and accurately reflect your brand. A style frame is a single, full-color frame that reflects the final aesthetic of your video. They might include text, icons, backgrounds, characters, or more. An easy way to think of a style frame is your video without motion. Here is an example of what we mean:
Since an animated video requires both a designer and an animator (sometimes creatives specialize in both), it best to start with design, approve it and then move onto animation. That way if you find that you would prefer your dog character to be a cat, we can make the change before sending it over to the animator.

5. Voiceover

The voiceover. It may seem like a small part of the video in comparison to the design and animation, but it carries a lot of weight. It’s important because you need to find the right voice for you and your company. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all voice, it’s all about finding the right tone to match your brand. We find there are three basic tones to use: Excited, Dramatic, and Neutral. Your story and brand voice will help influence the tone. Are you launching a product and trying to build up awareness? You may want to find an excited voice to pump up your viewers. Or is your product or service a solution to a major problem? Using Drama can help build things up. Lastly, if you find that you need a simple video that explains a certain topic pretty extensively, a neutral tone can reduce distraction so your audience can get the full meaning of your message.

6. Animation

This is where the meat of the project is — adding motion to your video. This phase can take about 2-3 weeks but it’s important because every frame is carefully timed to make sure things are transitioning smoothly and any characters look lifelike (not robotic or awkward). There are two types of scene transitions in animation. The first is when you let the computer create in-between frames (or in the biz, we refer to as “tweening”). This allows for effortless motion between scenes. The other is traditional cell animation (think of old school illustrations such as Looney Toons). This is the preferred method when a video has a lot of characters in it. When a character moves across the screen, the animator needs to think about how their legs, arms, and torso move together. Because of this high complexity, it's done by hand and takes much longer, but it’s worth it! Accurate motion is required for making your viewers feel connected to your characters.

7. Sound Design

The final stage is adding sound. This can be anywhere from adding a song (our friends over at Marmoset have great tips on music licensing) to just sound effects.   Sound effects can make a big difference for your video. They can spice up an otherwise mundane scene or can call attention to a certain section. With the information from the Creative Brief, your producer will know what action you’re hoping your viewers take and make sure the sound design helps highlight it. Wrap Up It might seem like a lot at first, but every step in the process is important in telling your story. Just remember that if you have a solid foundation in your creative brief, animation, design, and sound are just icing on the cake. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our animation process. Also feel free to add questions or comments or tweet us! The post The Animated Video Process: 7 Steps For Getting It Done Right appeared first on Reel Marketer.
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Top 4 Promo Video Trends To Follow in 2017

Promo videos are steadily becoming a standard part of marketers online growth strategy. As the trend to broaden exposure to multiple marketing channels increases, the need for video marketing grows just as quickly.

In 2017, online content marketing is booming like never before. Organizations of all sizes are becoming more Internet savvy and online articles, whitepapers, ebooks, info graphics and of course, videos are being created at a steadily faster rate. Because visual content is the most engaging, images, GIFs and videos continue to be the most popular content. Content is easily shared as links via e-mail, twitter, Facebook and even person-to-person through text messaging, the most personal method of sharing.

Video is expected to become even more popular as this year progresses. It has been shown through research and surveys that content marketing with specifically promotional video will be responsible for the highest share of traffic by 2019! On an average, forecasts predict mobile users spend at least 40 minutes daily watching – and sharing and engaging with – videos. So it won’t just be 2017; the popularity of promo videos trend will continue, and grow at even a faster rate as time progresses.

Now is the time to get started; here are four easy promo video trends to familiarize yourself with this year

1. Branded Promo Video Content

People today are now more inclined towards watching videos than reading online. As mobile Internet use grows, video is easier to watch than reading text on a small screen – just press play! Viewers can sit back and let the video do all the talking. All brands that aspire to better connect with their customers must be aware of this trend to video content.

Marketing departments can respond accordingly by releasing engaging, informative promo videos that answer viewer’s questions while building brand awareness. A promotional video is not an advertisement, but having the support of a brand without being overbearing is perfectly okay. If the information’s quality is good, and the production value is good, a viewer will likely be inclined to like, bookmark or share the video content with their friends and colleagues. Bite-sized videos, with time lengths of thirty seconds to no more than a minute and a half, are excellent for this purpose.

Examples of branded promotional videos can range from featuring their employees and offering quick tips to their buyers to interviewing any industry influencer with promotional voice over some video content. And, the best thing is that there are numerous platforms available for free to share these videos. YouTube and Facebook are the most ideal, and LinkedIn and Twitter have their wide popularities to draw upon too.

The easiest way for an organization to begin creating promo videos is to consider repurposing your existing written-article content into the video medium. Taking already your most-popular articles and reworking the messages for the video format will allow you to take maximum benefits from the video marketing trend while pleasing an expanding audience.

2. Promo Videos Embedded throughout the Website

As it is said images speak far better than the written word, it is proven in the case of video marketing too. A video embedded on a sales or informational page will notably amplify conversion rates in online business. Commerce websites can better inform a prospect, gain trust, build brand and reduce opposition by creating relevant promotional video content. Moreover, this can prove to be more beneficial in case of a services company as products can still be featured through images and text content.

Posting promotional videos on social platforms and linking to homepage is one of the most efficient ways to drive traffic to your website. Unlike other forms of content, videos are more engaging therefore these are more effective. If you feature a promo video on your main page or about us page, visitors tend to stay longer on your website and this may turn them to potential customers as well.

Using a promotional video content on your website to introduce your brand to the audience is a remarkable way to build relationship and trust with the customers. To start exploring promo video by using a creative brief template will help you discover the goals and needs your audience has in a video. As promo videos gain more and more popularity, you can grab this opportunity to have promo videos posted on homepages as well along with sales and landing pages.

3. Live Streaming Promo Style Videos

Sharing of live videos has become notably popular in the current years via Facebook Live and Periscope. These platforms allow the users to share real-time videos. Businesses are embracing these new mediums by being creative and utilizing these platforms for promoting products, featuring demonstrations. Also, while not a promotional video per se, video can be used for question and answer sessions too. If none of these, you can also let the audience simply know about your brand by viewing these videos.

Periscope is one of the free video sharing platforms with comparatively fewer users when compared to say Twitter, but still, it has the capacity to promote your following more quickly. Periscope is said to feature 350,000 hours of videos daily and is widely popular amongst top 15% of the brands. Above all of course is YouTube. which has its huge user base and SEO tie-in with Google, and is a must-have to be used to feature your promo videos.

Facebook Live is gaining popularity with users now as well. This platform lets an organization speak to it’s users by perhaps offering a special “behind the stage” glimpse of your company. Using an iPhone on a tripod for video can suffice as these cameras record 4K video. Reports say that Facebook users spend three times more time watching videos on Facebook Live than on any other videos that are simply shared to the site. This simply means that there is more scope that can be explored and executed into your marketing plan.

4. Email Campaign with Promo Video Series

The last big concept for promotional video use is with a tie-in to an email marketing strategy. Video is more effective and quick to communicate your ideas and concepts than written text. Embedding promo videos in e-mail marketing is proving to be an added advantage. Surveys have shown that businesses or marketers who have utilized this feature have enjoyed an upsurge in their e-mail open rates as well as pay per click rates. Also, there has been a greater count of shares and engagement once the video is being watched.

Strategies like using the term ‘video' in the subject lines of e-mails have confirmed it to be helpful. The types of video contents that tend to perform the best include videos on training and product demonstrations.

Get Stared with Your Promo Video Campaign

To make sure that using video content in your marketing is successful, focus on creating quality promotional videos that are brief in length, have a clear call to action and are persuasive. Brevity and a key message is paramount. As a final takeaway, to reach a greater audience, ensure that you are hosting your videos on YouTube as well for SEO. Take hold of the opportunity and boost your organization by embracing this year’s promotional video trends!

Steven Randall is a blogger and a content manager. He is also a fan of movies, music and writing. Steven finds inspiration in reading and traveling, and is happy to answer any questions you may have.

The post Top 4 Promo Video Trends To Follow in 2017 appeared first on Reel Marketer.


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Common Newbie Video Production Mistakes: 4 Ways to Improve Production Value

You’ve got a great idea, and you know how to tell it right, and need to make a video. But your video sucks. Something is off, but it’s hard to tell what is off exactly. Does it really matter?

This isn’t really a problem, is it?

Unfortunately, I regretfully must inform you, a poor video is a poor video and likely will not succeed, even if your message is smart. Why is this? What happens if a video feels low quality?

Due to very low attention spans today, if your viewer cannot easily see, hear and understand your video due to low quality, you will lose that viewer.

Worse… your viewer will likely click away to view your competition’s video!

The Good News: The Hard Part is Already Over

A lot of people get stuck before even hitting record, overwhelmed with the idea of creating a video and worried about details. (Note: there is no reason to get overwhelmed.. there are plenty of checklists to assist with getting everything you need done! That’s what they’re there for – guiding the process, one step at a time.)

Not being afraid of the camera is great, the gusto to get up and ‘film something’ should be encouraged!

While recording video is easy, and it can be inexpensive, actually making good video that viewers like takes a little bit of upfront effort to avoid looking amateur.

Smartphones and apps and fast wireless Internet opened the opportunity for video to quit being an elite newscaster-only tool; and to go mainstream. Then with active social apps such Snapchat, Facebook, Periscope, the general population knows that video is ‘easy’ now.

Sure, video is easy, but GOOD video isn’t just as simple as pulling out an smart phone, pointing it at oneself and tapping record – that’d just be a glorified selfie.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Number 1. Newbie Mistake: Lack of a Proper Plan

An intention to record video is good, but a good camera operator and/or director knows why each video clip is being recorded and what that particular shot will be used for. A plan will cover the people, the equipment, the locations, the goals and the target audience the video will be distributed to.

Marketing Strategy

Successful video producers complete; 1st, a creative brief in advance to sort out the goals for the video, and 2nd, a script written to have an overview blue print of the project, and 3rd a storyboard and shot list to cover ALL the bases to having a good plan for each shot used in a video. With a plan, your video will be a success.

Success Action Step: Cover all your bases of Why, Who, When, What and How by using the tools of a video professional. A Creative Brief, Storyboard and Script in advance of shooting your video to have a clear plan of what your video will be do – and make it easier and more fun.

Number 2. Newbie Mistake: Not Understanding ‘Production Value’

What does ‘production value’ mean? Explained in more detail, the phrase should be ‘high quality video production quality’, or professional quality, for short.

Professional Hollywood films cost millions of dollars. This money is spent on planning and filming to make the visuals and audio sound good and look the absolutely best they can (within the constraints of the budget).

Production Value Factors:

Production value is an assortment of variables, and here are some of the following aspects that play a role in the quality of a video.

  • Video Resolution Quality (4K, 1080P HD, 720P, frame rates,)
  • Camera Operation (stability, exposure, leveled, focus, movement)
  • On-Location Sound Quality (clear voice, noise, levels, background sound)
  • Image Quality (grain, noise, color correction, compression artifacts)
  • Lighting Effectiveness (3-point light setup, quality, intensity)
  • Sound Mix Quality (music, narration, background, sound effects)
  • On-Screen Interviewee (professionalism, eye contact, speaking ability)
  • Message Effectiveness (clear script, easy concept, call to action)
  • Graphics and FX (design principals, balance, quality, professionalism)
  • Distribution (ads or no ads, social sharing, effective channels)

Built-In Video Camera MicrophoneBuilt-In Video Camera MicrophoneAudiences are accustomed to spending as little effort as possible to watch and listen to video of this caliber, so the worse the visuals and sound are, the harder a video is to view. This is important because if there is a similar video with a similar message, but it looks and sounds better than yours, viewers will watch the better looking of the choices.

Success Action Step: Watch videos similar to one you wish to create to see what works – and what doesn’t! Write down the aspects that are important on your Creative Brief to help guide the process.

Number 3. Newbie Mistake: Improper setup of camera

The camera is the first link to the video – it acts as the eyes and ears of the viewer. Even if the camera is a high-end 6K camera, if it’s being used as a handheld camera, and shaky and bumpy will not make for a good viewing experience (and if it’s an online video, the viewer will likely stop watching and watch your competitors video instead!)

In comparison, a well-mounted iPhone filming in HD set on a stable level tripod with a smooth camera operator will make a world of a difference – the video will be far more pleasing, and the viewer is far more likely to continue to watch rather than jumping away to another video.

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod

Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod with Carrying Bag

Manfrotto MVH500A Fluid Drag Video Head with MVT502AM Tripod and Carry Bag

The Manfrotto Compact Action tripod offers basic adjustment. Be sure to get a smartphone or tablet mount if shooting with those devices. Not useful to pan or tilt with though. This is a portable, high quality tripod. It will work with smartphones and high-end production cameras. Very smooth pans and tilts. Great bag too! This is a high-quality, heavy duty tripod. It can handle a light-weight “backpacker crane” jib system! Included spreader with the legs also supports more weight.

Success Action Step: Use a tripod – there is a variety available, here are three different tripods for different budgets. Rest assured – all are professional, and all will help make your video better.

Number 4. Newbie Mistake: Failure to use sound and light properly

Any camera – be it a 6K RED or a regular iPhone – only capture two human senses – sight and sound. Modern cameras, while very good today, still cannot filter out background noise or poor light like our human brains can when we’re there, in a room with another person.

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Rode SmartLax+ Lavalier Microphone

Polsen Lavalier Microphone

Sennheiser EW 112-P G3 Wireless Lavalier Microphone Kit

The SmartLav+ is a quality wired lavalier clip-on microphone that works perfectly with an iOS device without needing an adapter. The Polsen OLM-10 wired lavalier microphone offers great audio with no noise feedback. If used with smartphone, needs an adapter.
This Sennheiser lavaier is a wireless microphone set. The EW 112-P G3 is more expensive because due to it's very high quality and being a two-part kit.

While a human can easily have a conversation with another person on a busy subway platform and filter out all the background noise, hums, and uneven light, a camera will have difficulty. Setting up a camera in the best location possible for good light and sound will make a world of difference. With the first step, the planning stage, the best location to film will have been chosen to maximize the quality of the video.

 

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Raya 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc

Impact Qualite 300 Focusing Flood 2 Light Kit

Ikan IB508-v2 Bi-Color LED 3-Light Studio Kit

Success Action Step: I encourage you to try this: record a test video clip in a busy location like this (dim light or nighttime too if you can) of a person speaking to the camera, and then record an alternate clip in a quiet – and well lit bright area. Play back both clips one after the other and see for yourself the differences.

Number 5. Newbie Mistake: Ineffective Distribution

‘Work’ is important. GSD (getting stuff done, or the other variation on the acronym). How does this tie in with distribution? An analogy I like to use is absolutely everyone is creative and most people have great ideas, but what separates people that are considered ‘creative’ from those who aren’t creative is that the creative people actually sit down and MAKE the idea happen. Without that step of the work, no good would come from the idea – it wouldn’t even exist.

Online Video Marketing

A plan for a video is just an idea, just one step in the process. A video that is recorded is one more step too – it's not completed. Even a video that is edited is still not safe – unless the video is shared – and shared properly – it won’t ‘work’. Getting that video out there is a hugely overlooked step. Too often businesses invest in video – good video – and then have no distribution plan to get it seen. Marketing is key – ensuring that the video is put online, and in front of the correct eyeballs, is important.

Success Action Step: Your Creative Brief will address all the aspects that you need here too. It will help you to plan out who will see your video, and where they’ll see it, and what they’ll do after they view your video. Easy, right?

So as you can see, the first step sets all the other steps in motion in the planning stage. The channels for distribution will be chosen, the best locations for sound and lighting will have been identified. The camera will be setup correctly with a tripod, and a script, storyboard and creative brief will be on hand to guide the process. Oh, and have fun.

The post Common Newbie Video Production Mistakes: 4 Ways to Improve Production Value appeared first on Reel Marketer.


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