Engaging with a production company – 5 frequently asked questions clients ask.

What Should be the Length of Your Next Animated Explainer Video? - PitchWorx

Frequently Asked Questions: 1. How long can the animation/film be to keep people engaged?

It comes down to how much time people are willing to commit. The biggest contributing factor is context – where will the video be seen? Will it be playing on social media where you’ll be competing for attention? On your website, where visitors have set aside time to find out more? Or maybe you have a captive audience, say in a sales meeting? As a rule of thumb, adverts work well at lengths of 30-60 seconds, whilst a good length for a conversion tool is 90 seconds.

2. Who does the scripting?

A voiceover script is very different to how web or magazine copy would be written, and so the agency should always lead on script. The way people speak isn’t always grammatically correct and a script should be conversational. It’s also important to think about the visuals that could work alongside the script, so you’re not overloading the viewer. For example, if you want to convey “We work all over the world”. You don’t have to say that in the voiceover, you can show that visually instead.

3. What will it look like?

For animations, part of an agency’s process is creating design styles. These are usually one or two sections of the script brought to life. They aren’t rough guides, but instead a full visual representation of the animation. Once you’ve agreed a style, the creative team get to work on a visual storyboard. It’s important you see what the animation will look like before it’s set in motion, so any changes can be incorporated and you can gain buy-in internally. Film storyboards are a little different. The agency should provide you with sketches of scenes, so you can understand how the video will flow. Here’s what a visual storyboard for an animation looks like.

4. Will there be music, voice over or sound effects?

It comes down to context. For example, some videos work very well with music; especially more emotive pieces. Others work less well i.e. technical explainers which are trying to get across something difficult to understand. Speech/voice over brings another dimension and shapes how people perceive your brand personality. The agency will give the artist direction, like who they’re talking to and the feel of the company and you’ll be sent examples to choose from. Sound effects usually add to an animation/film, although how they are used will change the feel of the video.

5. Will it work without sound?

Many people worry that using voice over will restrict their use, with office workers not able or willing to turn on the sound. Whether to use text or not, comes down to the subject and context. If you want to explain how quarks work, then visuals alone probably aren’t going to cut it. Although more simplistic animations, say poetic brand videos, can be beautifully executed using just visuals and text. With corporate videos, sound does become integral because it’s formed around the passion of the speakers. The agency will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of going with or without sound before embarking on the creative. Remember that sub-titles can always be developed alongside the video.

Most common mistake

Crucially, the thing to avoid is trying to cram too much information in. The key to an effective video campaign is getting the viewer to understand enough to pique their interest and take action – be that a call to action or downloading a guide. By not putting everything in, viewers are left with questions, giving them a reason to engage further.

Curveball Nicola

Nicola worked in digital marketing in-house for big-name publishing companies for 20 years (Amazon, Bloomsbury, BCA). She came to work for Curveball Media, after becoming a convert to video, and advises clients on strategy and approach.

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