Explainer Videos, what are they? Websters dictionary describes them as "The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary." But personally, I believe they are short informative videos that are animated that keep the viewers attention and convey a message.
Now, I say "animated" but what I really mean is "stuff moves around just enough to keep the viewer interested." To fully animate an explainer video would take a significant amount of time and is largely unnecessary for what you're trying to achieve. Unless you're making an explainer video about advanced animation techniques, you will probably be fine implementing the techniques below.
A trick I like to use is "bouncing" from one still to another.
I could have animated the transition, or just left it as one image changing to another, but what I have done is added 2 extra frames between the cut. The first frame is of the character shrinking down ever so slightly. This is an animation technique of showing anticipation of movement. The second frame shows the momentum of the move by over shooting the final frame ever so slightly. This way she bounces back into places from the sudden movement and your brain fills in the rest.
The other big aspect of explainer videos is the motion graphics, and this is basically most of the work you'll be doing when making an explainer video.
Movement is key and the more things you can have moving around the screen (so long as it's adding something to the message you're trying to convey and not just moving for the sake of it) the better.
Another thing to consider when making the motion graphics for an explainer video is "easing". When you move, you don't start and stop with no momentum build up like a robot, you ease in and ease out of movements. The same should apply to your motion graphics. By having them slowly start to move, speed up in the middle, and then slow down to a stop, your eye finds this much more appealing and the graphics look much more fluid. This isn't a time saver, but it is easy to do. It is definitely worth the extra time and makes your explainer videos much more professional looking.
The next tip has to do with the script. Get that thing locked down tight! Especially if your client is prone to last minute changes. There's nothing worse than spending hours on something and having the client want to change the shot. You need to make clear that this is a time consuming process and to re-animate anything is going to be a significant amount of time, and time is money.
Background music is another thing to consider for your explainer video. Unless the video is for a band or something that music is a key part of the message you're "explaining" you should stick with what works. Corporate music is a thing and it all sounds the same BUT it fits really well with explainer videos and corporations love it.
This is my personal opinion and by no means a set in stone rule. You can use whatever music you like, this is just what I've found works the best for our explainer videos.
Speaking of audio, you're going to want to get someone with a good voice to record the voice over for your explainer video. This is very important as a bad or boring voice makes for a bad and boring video. Keep it upbeat and clear, not too fast and positive about the message. If there is a character in your explainer video that is acting as the narrator, try to match the voice to the character. In this explainer video I drew a cartoon version of Eve as she was providing the voice over.
The last tip is timing. You do not want to bore your audience with a 35 minute explainer video. First of all, no one wants to watch a 35 minute explainer video anyway, and secondly, no one is going to remember anything they were told for that long. Keep it as brief as possible. 3 minutes is my personal max amount of time and anything shorter than that is a plus. If you can't get your whole message out in under 3 minutes you might want to consider breaking the video into two parts. Two 3 minute videos is better than one 6 minute video.
Here at Media Melt, we can make an explainer video to suit your style and budget. We're based in Dunedin but as there typically isn't any filming involved, we can take clients from anywhere around New Zealand (or the world). Being a video production company we have the tools and expertise to get the job done in a professional and timely manner!
That's about it, if you have any questions about explainer videos leave a comment below.
Media Melt is a Video Production Company based in Dunedin, New Zealand. If you have any enquires about a motion graphic for your company or logo, feel free to contact us here