Whether you’re working with an agency for the first time or have a long-term relationship, every project requires a concise animation creative brief. Investing time at this stage will pay off – you’ll get the most out of your animation project and avoid wasting time and budget.
How do I write a creative brief for an animation?
Start with the basics. It might sound obvious, but exploring these elements will help you focus; it will also make the briefing process run smoothly by adding clarity for the creative team. Tell us about your business or organisation so we can get a feel for what you do and the services or products you offer.
- What is the core purpose of the animation? Is it training or education-related? Will it be used to illustrate and describe a detailed procedure? Perhaps it’s to raise the profile of an organisation or form part of a broader marketing campaign, or maybe it’s to supplement an evaluation or annual report. Think about what you want viewers to take away after watching, how should they feel, and are there specific calls to action you want them to take?
- Who is the target audience? It’s important to think about who will be watching this animation and consider their level of knowledge of the subject. A professional audience with in-depth knowledge will require a different approach from something aimed at the general public posted on social media; similarly, an educational animation aimed at primary school children will have a different tone from an annual report animation used at a conference. Will it need subtitles or multiple language voiceovers if global audiences are watching?
- Where will your animation be used, and will it serve multiple purposes? For example, you may take parts and create bite-size clips or gifs for social media or use some of the illustrations in print. It’s good to know this before the creative process begins.
- How long do you envisage your animation to last? Depending on the message and its purpose, the length will vary. We can advise you if you’re not sure, but generally speaking, we recommend a maximum of three minutes for an explainer animation. Education or training-based content may require longer, and in some cases, it might be an option to create a series of short animations that work as a suite.
- When is the deadline? The process of creating a three-minute animation usually takes around four to six weeks – depending on the scale of the project, so include the date you need your finished project when you share your brief.
With the essential points covered, let’s look at some of the details that make up the creative elements.
The script is the most important part of your animation. Even if it’s a work in progress and still needs some work, if you have a base script, it’s helpful to share it with us as part of your brief because it can help us get an overall feel for the narrative. Don’t worry if you have an idea but no script; we’re always happy to offer our script writing services to help grow and develop the idea.
Applying subtitles and using speech bubbles can effectively deliver information, but we tend to recommend the use of voiceovers for greater impact. If you decide to use a voiceover, tell us if they need to represent a regional accent? Do you have a preference on age or gender? Do you need multiple voiceovers in different languages? These will have an impact on the overall budget and also the creative process.
If you have an idea of the illustration style you’d like your animation to use – and conversely, what you don’t like, let us know (you might want to look at some of the examples in our portfolio for inspiration).
How many characters will feature in your animation? Do they need to be specific – perhaps representing a particular demographic, culture or diversity?
Will your animation be used to demonstrate a physical procedure? Good choice – animations are effective at doing this, but if possible, provide us with as much information about the procedure, so we understand it well enough to translate into visual content for your audience. If you have still (static) images as examples, they can help, but if not, sometimes a Google image search can be helpful. If you have corporate brand guidelines – colours, fonts and logos – don’t forget to share them.
How much will my animation cost? We’re often asked this question at the briefing stage, and many factors impact how much an animation will cost. If you have a budget, let us know. If not, we will work through the details of the brief and provide you with a quotation. That’s why it’s essential to get the brief right so we can provide an accurate – to avoid awkward and potentially costly conversations later in the process.
So now we’ve explained the animation creative brief process, you might be wondering what happens next? Read our blog ‘How do we bring your animations to life?
How much will it cost? One of the first questions we hear when someone is exploring the possibility of having an animation created for their organisation.
Many factors influence the cost of producing an animation. Unlike off-the-shelf options you can create online, each animation we make is bespoke. This involves a complex design process, not to mention scriptwriting, storyboarding, recording a voiceover, adding music and creating sound effects.
A common misconception is that the running time of the animation is the main factor influencing cost. To an extent, this is true; generally speaking, the longer the animation, the higher the cost will be.
However, style and complexity also play a part in calculating the cost of animation. You could have a shorter animation with more detail or a longer animation with less detail for the same budget. A two-minute animation with four characters and four different backgrounds could cost the same as a four-minute film with two characters and two backgrounds. The length of the animation doesn’t always equal a higher cost; it’s the complexity and detail that counts.
Style and detail
A large proportion of the cost will depend on the style of your animation and the detail required; the more illustrated elements – such as characters – that need to be created, the higher the cost. Will you need multiple characters creating, props, and detailed background to tell your story effectively? If you have characters and assets from a previous project – can they be used again?
Depending on the message of the animation and the intended audience, your characters may have simple movements such as blinks, eye movement, basic happy and sad facial expressions, head movement from side to side, arms swinging. However, if you’re looking to convey or explain a complicated process that has to be 100% accurate and checked by several stakeholders, in this case, the animation will be more complex, requiring greater detail and more time to produce.
In the main, our animations are scripted and narrated in the third person by one voice over artist. This is a much less expensive option than working in the first person as each character then needs to be lip-synched and multiple voice over artists sourced.
A common mistake is to underestimate the length of the script. An effective animation needs the right intonation and pauses between sentences – sometimes even words – to allow viewers to take the messages in. This means the length of the animation won’t ever equate to a straight read-through of the script.
It’s important to make sure the script has clarity and has been written with visuals in mind. We can help writing your script as part of the project if necessary.
We can’t stress the importance of using professional voiceover artists to accompany your animation. Cutting corners on this detail does affect the overall quality of your final edit. We can source and coordinate voiceovers representing a range of cultural and ethical backgrounds.
One of the benefits of animations is using the same imagery with different language voiceovers. Ensure you state this in the briefing process and whether you will need subtitles included.
Following the process
One last point is about keeping to the original brief. In one of our previous articles, we explained the animation process. It’s important to stick to this as much as possible to keep within budget. The more revisions and amends that are requested, the longer it will take for your project to reach completion – with a risk of exceeding your budget.
Medical Aid Films: Word Childhood Cancer – Communities
- Length – 3:09
- Characters – 5
- Background illustration
- Families home village
- External hospital
- Internal hospital
- Simple movements
- 30 secs of static illustrations
- French and English language versions and subtitles
Purposeful – Karo Kura: Corona lan de trut
- Length – 4:27
- First person
- Characters – 5
- Background and chalkboard illustrations
- Complex movements
- Front and profile head shots
- Arm movements
- Lip synch
This animation is more expensive than the World Childhood Cancer film because it is longer, the characters move more and it is lip-synced.
Please get in touch if you would like any more information.
So you’ve decided to create a bespoke animation to support your training or education package. But where do you start? Whilst there is a range of software out there that allows you to create your own, working with a professional animation studio is advisable. They’ll be able to make recommendations, offer advice and trust us, speaking from experience, this can make all the difference.
Where to start when creating an animation for education?
1. Establish Your Audience
The first step in creating an animation-based learning video is to research and understand the audience that will be viewing it. By recognising their level of knowledge, you’ll be able to pitch the message accordingly. Do you have multiple audiences of different ages? In that case, you’ll need to tailor the language to suit them. Speaking of languages, animations can adopt relevant voiceovers to suit the audience if your animation needs to accommodate more than one dialect. Make sure any cultural differences such as clothing and background settings are correctly depicted, though.
Once you understand your audience, you’ll have an idea of how to present the information; there are many different animation styles. For example, suppose you are educating young children. In that case, the kind of animated content you’ll make should be a style they can relate to.
It’s essential to spend time writing your script; this is one of the most critical stages. Working with specialists within the field of the subject on which you’re focusing is crucial. It’s important to have experts checking facts as you’re developing your script to ensure information is correct and not open to misinterpretation. You may go through several drafts before deciding on the final version. Your script will then need to be recorded as a voiceover to give extra information and a human touch. We recommend using a professional voiceover (VO) artist – the audio element is just as important as the visuals if you want a polished result. Again, think about your audience and subject matter when selecting your VO artist. Do you want lively and fun or a more serious tone? You may even need multiple voices for different characters if you have a complex subject to explain; this can help keep the viewer’s attention.
3. Creating the animation
Now you’re ready to begin the creative stage, where your vision will come to life. Firstly, based on the script, a storyboard will outline the visual structure of the animation. Then the detail of characters will be created, backgrounds etc. A draft voiceover is often used here to make sure the visuals roughly align with the audio. Once the storyboard is agreed, comes the technical part of animating and bringing the final voiceover together. It’s at this stage special effects are added to really bring your animation to life.
Read our animation process blog here if you want to understand the technical process.
Although there was an increase in the use of online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve seen this trend on the rise way before the pandemic. As educators look for ways to make their learning resources more engaging, integrating animations into courses adds to the quality of a programme’s content.
Animation-based learning uses animated videos as a visual aid to facilitate learning and improve performance. This approach is very effective across all ages: from primary school to adult education.
Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of using animation in education for learners and educators:
Simplifying Complicated Information
A complex subject can be difficult for the mind to comprehend. Combine this with ‘traditional’ learning tools and an audience and can quickly lose interest. Animation-based learning allows teachers to easily describe or explain complex topics that most learners find difficult to understand. Using animation enables students to visualise and understand complex subjects or processes.
As well as simplifying messages and complex subjects, animation-based learning can also help improve learners’ retention. Our brains can process visual information efficiently and quickly. According to Hubspot, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. However, combining audio and graphic learning material is an even more effective approach for easy learning retention.
People learn in different ways. While some of us like practical learning, others prefer reading, and some are visual learners. Animations enable different kinds of learning styles to be catered for.
Attention and Engagement
Learners often find reading text uninteresting and not particularly engaging. Some may spend hours reading without understanding the information or absorbing it into their long-term memory. However, animations offer a faster and more entertaining way of learning. Using this learning approach can help increase students’ attention and learning rates.
There’s often a perception that creating a bespoke animation can be costly, but look at it this way: your investment will result in effective, good-quality learning material that can be reused and repurposed. What do we mean by this? For a start, if your audiences include people who speak different languages, the same visual elements of the animation can be adapted with relevant dialect (or voiceovers). They have longevity and can be broken down into bite-size clips that promote a course or programme through various digital channels, including social media. Learners can also watch videos at their convenience – and repeat if they wish.
If this has whet your appetite to add an animation to support your education portfolio, the first thing you need to consider is your audience and what you’re trying to convey. Set out clear aims and objectives; what’s the message you’re trying to communicate? The key to a successful, effective animation is thorough planning and preparation.
Read our article ‘How to Create an Animation for Education’
Games can be used to educate, train and promote, whilst being fun at the same time. The mobile games and apps market is vast and increasing daily, with the most successful games being downloaded millions of times worldwide, but why choose HTML5 games over apps?
HTML5 games are playable on desktop, tablet and mobile with no upload to Apple or Google App Stores necessary (therefore saving time and money).
Because there’s no need to download an app to play an HTML5 game, they are simple, cost-effective and offer instant access.
The games can be played directly from your website, engaging users with interactive content and providing feedback and data on key issues. Google Analytics can be added to the game so stakeholders can see exactly how successful it has been.
Here at Alternative View Studios, we designed and developed a suite of games for learning for the Cambridge University Press & Assessment English Language Teaching (ELT) department to help students learn English as a foreign language.
CambridgeOne provides accessible teaching and learning materials in one place across multiple devices – desktop, tablet and mobile, including the games we created for them. This way, Assessment & Press has full control over its content without going through App Stores.
You can find out more about the games we’ve made here.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
You can turn almost any website into a PWA, this means you can build a PWA much quicker compared to a native app that can be tricky and time-consuming to develop. Plus, you can offer all the features of native apps, like push notifications, offline support, and much more, without needing to maintain a presence in an app store. Read more about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) here.
Want to know more about HTML5 Games for your organisation?
So that’s an overview of the benefits of HTML5 games. If you’re thinking of creating a game for your business or want to speak to us about exploring game options, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.
We couldn’t create engaging animations without the use of specialist software, so we thought we’d give a brief insight into some of the tools we use.
Designing and creating
Adobe Animate – formerly known as Flash – is Adobe’s longest-running program for composing traditional and digital animation.
We often illustrate scenes and characters in Animate as well as create the animation although we do sometimes use Adobe Illustrator too. Animate allows us to create bespoke, professional animations – back in 2007 we created a 30-episode TV series for CBeebies called Tommy Zoom using Flash/Animate and we continue to use it for our explainer animations.
Design Buckle provides some interesting reviews of Animate and After Effects. We often illustrate and animate characters in Adobe Animate and then export them as PNGs or PNG sequences before compositing the scenes in After Effects.
After Effects allows us to add 2D and 3D camera movement to scenes, as well as transitions and spot effects to add flair to the animation.
We have also been able to emulate different animation styles using a combination of textures, effects and compositing techniques in After Effects. Recently we have been experimenting with combining 2D animation and 3D scenes using After Effects integration with Cinema 4D and were happy with the results in this project for PV International and TICAH.
Bringing animations to life
We’ve built up a huge sound effects library over the years and use it along with music purchased from music libraries such as beatsuite.com. We edit the clips and refine voiceovers with Adobe Audition
One of the great features of Adobe Animate is the Lip-Sync feature which allows us to match mouth poses to sound inflections. We used this feature on an animation project we delivered for Purposeful, a feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls. As you can see, by syncing lip movements with the voiceover the characters really come to life.
Working with our clients
While we spend time at the beginning of each project to understand the brief and the aims of the animation, we work closely with our clients throughout the development process. Vimeo’s review page is a handy collaborative tool that enables our clients to view the progress of their animation and make comments on specific frames by simply clicking on the animation at the relevant time. This is particularly useful when there are multiple members of a team who each need to share their feedback.
So there you have it, some of the essential tools to create animations that we use.
If this has whet your appetite to explore animation options for your business or organisation, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
Covid-19 presented unprecedented challenges to countries throughout the world. With the need for “social distancing” imposed in the space of weeks, schools and education providers worldwide had to find ways to deliver most of their learning activities online.
The demand for online learning for primary, secondary and university students and training has accelerated, but has this changed the way we learn and how education is delivered for good?
There’s no doubt online learning was already increasing pre-Covid-19. Over recent years, here at Alternative View Studios, we have seen changes in digital learning trends and a rise in requests for education-based animation, video and games content.
One example is a series of games we created for Cambridge University Press’s (CUP) Cambridge One platform, which offers easy access to teaching and curriculum-based learning materials. The customisable HTML5 game templates are easily edited and include various game types that can be adapted to a wide range of learning outcomes and age groups.
Kerboodle is Oxford University Press’s (OUP) online teaching, learning and assessment service that works alongside student’s course textbooks. They seamlessly integrate quality digital resources into lessons. As with all Kerboodle resources, the KS3 history animations we developed for OUP can be accessed both in school and at home – encouraging remote learning.
What about digital learning in groups?
Shared learning experiences are indeed beneficial to many students. Throughout the pandemic, in attempts to maintain curriculum delivery within group learning environments, teachers’ classrooms relocated to living rooms and kitchens. Staff embraced various online teaching tools and methods: Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, to name a few. However, vast numbers of UK children and young people found themselves without access to digital devices and technology to complete their homeschooling.
This situation is not unique to the UK. Even in the wealthiest EU countries, social and digital inequalities persist. Beyond Europe, some 50% of people (more than 600 million individuals) in India don’t have access to the internet, and in many African countries, the percentage is much higher. For these millions of people, remote working or education is little more than a fantasy. In India, classes have been delivered by a loudspeaker in some rural areas*.
Mobile learning opportunities
In developing countries, mobile presents huge learning opportunities to connect with communities. At the end of 2019, 477 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa subscribed to mobile services, accounting for 45% of the population. The region’s mobile market will reach several significant milestones over the next five years: half a billion mobile subscribers in 2021, 1 billion mobile connections in 2024, and 50% subscriber penetration by 2025**.
The increase in mobile users in Sub-Saharan Africa means educational content can be more easily accessed by members of rural communities.
Using animation for health education and training
Medical Aid Films (MAF) uses innovative media and digital channels – including mobile – to transform women’s and children’s health and well-being around the world. We have been creating training animations for MAF for fourteen years. This most recent project – supported by the British Medical Association – provides valuable information on Covid-19 to communities in the UK.
The animation shares important information on medical rights, protection and self-care strategies during this time of great uncertainty. One of the many benefits of animations is the option for the content to be translated into different languages. As well as English, the film is translated into three languages with subtitles (Punjabi, Urdu, and Arabic).
Another practical approach to digital learning is using interactive infographics; they allow multiple layers of data to be displayed in a visually engaging way. Pre-Covid-19, we created an animation and two interactive infographics for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Disease Outbreaks in Low and Middle-Income Countries course for people working in or studying global health. The Disease Outbreaks course is available for free on the FutureLearn*** platform.
The long-term outlook and digital learning trends for online learning were undoubtedly accelerated by Covid-19. But the future doesn’t have to be about PowerPoints accompanied by voice-overs or pre-recorded classes. Professional, effective and engaging learning tools and resources – for individual and group learning – can be created quickly and without breaking your budget.
Sources and info:
***As well as offering MOOCs (massive open online courses, run entirely online, with multiple numbers of people learning at the same time), FutureLearn hosts academically and professionally accredited programmes and entire online degrees.
Online games can provide a unique opportunity to encourage learning while also being entertaining, engaging and enjoyable.
Our recent series of games for learning created for Cambridge University Press (CUP) has been used to consolidate language learning, gain feedback on users’ understanding and provide rewards at the end of learning modules.
Designing a good game
Creating an effective game requires a detailed plan from the start; covering gameplay, layout and design issues at an early stage will save a lot of time in testing and development in later stages.
Key steps in the design process:
Generally, a simple concept will work best for casual games. There’s plenty of inspiration to take from the vast range of online games and apps as well as classic old arcade or home computer games. It is also essential to consider how the learning outcomes will be built into the game mechanics and the balance of skill versus education you would like to achieve.
Documenting how a game will work will help to develop the ideas and to see where issues may arise quickly. The specification should cover any interface elements required, the game controls, the content needed as well as all aspects of gameplay mechanics.
Strong visuals are important to make the game appealing to the target audience and in supporting the intended learning outcomes. It is also a good opportunity to see how the game concepts will work practically. Consideration should also be given to how the game will be displayed at different screen sizes.
It is a good idea to document how the game will be built to anticipate any challenges in the development process. This can include the technology that will be used, any dependencies (such as external libraries or frameworks), coding standards and management and which browsers and devices will be supported. It may also be useful to create diagrams of how the different game components will be divided up and communicate with each other.
Flexibility and reusing core content
Games are relatively involved in creating, so where possible it can be a good idea to consider how to maximise their potential or to explore ways in which they can be repurposed.
For the CUP project, the intention was to create a large amount of flexibility and reuse. This was achieved in several ways:
Different sets of images, sounds, fonts and colours could be created for each game and packaged into a theme. This meant that the same game could be presented in very different ways (for example an underwater theme, space theme or fantasy dragon theme) and targeted at different audiences.
Because the text, image and sound content used in the games could all easily be changed, an endless variety of learning objectives could be supported. This project included vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, reading and listening skills for different age groups and abilities.
To support both of these features, AV Studios created a content editor website that allowed users to quickly and easily combine different themes and content to create almost limitless new variations of games. Once completed, these game packages could be downloaded and added to the client’s website for players to access.
Other key considerations
Games can be complex to create, and there are a wide variety of issues to consider to ensure that they are robust and provide a positive gaming experience. It is crucial to have a plan in place for how to identify and rectify these issues.
Key considerations include:
Game functionality should be systematically tested across a wide range of browsers and devices. As well as physical phones and tablets a service such as BrowserStack can be useful in providing fast access to different platforms for testing. Provision should be made for the reporting, logging and fixing of any problems.
To ensure inclusivity, game design and development should consider players who may have a variety of physical or cognitive impairments. The W3C, BBC and others have created guidelines and suggestions for how to address these issues and to make sure games can be played by the widest audience.
Alternative View Studios’ games
We have over 20 years of experience in creating games and interactive content. We have adapted to continuously changing technological requirements and built on our conceptual, architectural and design knowledge to deliver a variety of fun and educational games.
For businesses looking to create, manage and modify content on their websites without the need for specialised technical knowledge, WordPress is by far the most preferred choice for CMS websites.
Used by around 41% of the web, it has a market share of approximately 65% of the world’s CMS-based sites, compared to the nearest rival with a 5% market share. The number of WordPress websites in 2021 is 708 million.*
Some of the key benefits of WordPress include:
- Established technology that will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future.
- A multitude of possibilities to integrate with other online tools, sites and social media (such as MailChimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc).
- Many established tools for extending functionality or adding new features (e.g. membership, shopping, etc), or these can be developed to match specific requirements.
- Comparatively easy to inherit sites from other developers.
WordPress is also free and open-source which makes it a cost-effective solution to many website requirements.
Designs and themes
There is an abundance of ready-made themes available for WordPress that can be used to create a functional and appealing website relatively quickly. For many clients, however, it’s often preferable to create a custom theme.
*Website designed by Friend Studio and developed by Alternative View Studios
This has many benefits, including:
- A unique design that embraces company branding and content.
- Tailored templates that keep presentation consistent throughout the site, making it easier to maintain the content or to create new pages.
- A leaner codebase (a collection of source code used to build a particular software system, application, or software component) that only includes what is necessary for the site.
Content management and editing
WordPress’s user-friendly admin interface and popularity make it familiar to many content editors; its editing options can be customised to accommodate a range of approaches to content management.
When setting up the admin sections of a site it is important to achieve a balance between flexibility and usability. Usually, the best approach is to create a clear and logical content structure which then utilises standardised component templates to construct pages. This allows for a rich variety of presentation options while maintaining consistent design and functionality considerations, making it intuitive for non-technical editors to achieve strong, coherent layouts quickly and easily.
Where necessary, it can also be useful to add help or information pages within the WordPress interface itself for easy reference or to provide training sessions with content editors.
When creating a new version of an existing site there are tools that can be used to transfer data across from previous sites (including WordPress or other platforms). This can help save time, especially when there is a lot of existing content.
Development, testing and responsive design
A vital aspect of modern websites is ensuring the presentation and functionality works effectively across all available devices and screen sizes.
*Website designed by Friend Studio and developed by Alternative View Studios
Consideration of different screen sizes and interactions should be present from the design stage and revised throughout the site build and testing process. As well as testing on actual phones and tablets, services such as BrowserStack can be invaluable in allowing fast and effective testing across a wide range of hardware, operating systems and browsers.
Separate versions of the website (e.g. development and staging) are useful to continue the development of a site without deploying new features until they are complete or for editors to experiment without affecting the live site. Version control (e.g. git) is also useful to maintain code revisions and to automate deployments where needed.
Optimisation and accessibility
Following the approaches outlined above will ensure a project runs smoothly and make it easier to optimise a site so that it loads quickly and performs well.
- Only loading the tools and resources necessary for the site.
- Optimising images to maintain clean design layouts and efficient file sizes.
Following key accessibility guidelines will also make sure a website is available to the widest possible audience and to maximise user experience.
Tools such as Google Lighthouse can provide objective feedback across a range of areas to ensure that a site is performing as effectively as possible.
WordPress also makes it easy to follow Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices and for editors to prepare and assess their content for discovery and search ranking.
WordPress attracts a lot of attention from hackers and spammers because of its popularity so it’s recommended security issues are reported quickly to ensure any problems can be fixed quickly and transparently.
WordPress can be as secure as any other CMS as long as security recommendations are followed:
- Considering security during the setup process – setting database table prefixes and using one database user per database, setting file permissions appropriately, disabling file editing and installing a security plugin.
- Good user protocol – account naming, enforcing strong passwords and limiting the number of administrators.
- Site maintenance – regular updates and backups and keeping plugin use to a minimum of well-maintained add-ons.
- Installing an SSL certificate.
Maintenance, updates and enhancements
It is important to regularly monitor, backup and update WordPress sites to ensure they continue to function smoothly and receive the latest security and functionality patches.
The best approach is to schedule maintenance time at specified intervals. During this process, available updates can be reviewed, documented and tested on a development and/or staging version of the site before making any changes to the live site. This systematic approach means that if any fixes are needed they can be carried out with minimum disruption.
Regular maintenance may also include a limited number of development hours to add new features or enhancements as needed.
By following best practice guidelines, an experienced team can put together an attractive and functional website that satisfies all kinds of requirements with a strong design and easily updated content.
Example WordPress websites
Take a look at some of the WordPress websites we have recently developed:
As Covid-19 continues to spread, and people are working from home where possible. This presents challenges but also opportunities to embrace new ways of connecting with colleagues, and clients.
After receiving a number of enquiries about the best way to create video-based content, we’ve put together some basic tips outlining how you can produce something that’s professional-looking, without requiring technical expertise.
Firstly, it’s best to get a tripod for your device to sit in like the pic above. You can improvise with books etc. but a good tripod will set you back around £10 – £20 and can be bought from Amazon.
Sound quality is often a problem when DIY filming, so investing in an external mic or lapel mic to plug into your phone is advisable. Make sure that you get the right connection to suit your device, i.e. iPhone or Android.
Ready for action
With your kit prepared, you’re now ready to film. Where you position your camera can make a big difference to the quality of your film. Make sure the light is in front of you, not behind, and, if you can, set up in a small room without too many bare walls. Books and curtains are great for deadening the sound and making sure it doesn’t bounce around too much. Always film in landscape, not portrait, as that’s the standard format.
If you have an iPhone you will be able to edit the film using the iMovie app which comes as standard. If you’re on Android, there’s a range of free apps available that allow you to easily edit your content, including adding effects.
To make the film look more professional consider including some good quality stock images, footage or animation. These details can really help break up a head and shoulders shot. Adding branded titles and a professionally animated intro and outro can really improve the quality of your film. Get in touch if you’d like some help with this.
Ready to share
Editing complete, once you’re happy with your film, there are various ways to share it. If you would like your colleagues to review and comment on your creation before releasing to the wider world Vimeo Review is a great tool and comes with the Plus or Pro Vimeo membership. This tool allows people to add feedback to specific sections of your film.
You can also upload to Dropbox or Google Drive if you have downloaded the apps and are logged in from your phone. The same goes for YouTube and Vimeo. Once you have uploaded the video you can copy the embed code and add it to your website and on social media.
Need a little help?
Here at Alternative View Studios, the team are working remotely, creating high-quality animations, so if you need some help adding animated content to your film, we can help.
Scriptwriters Daniel Tatarsky and Sally Edgar can work with you to develop the content and script, and we have a huge sound effects library and can purchase music from sound libraries, such as Beatsuite.com.
We also work with a range of voice-over artists who have professional sound recording studios at home, including Nicky Lloyd Williams who has worked with us extensively for Oxford University Press and Cris Ramos-Stovin who voiced an animation for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
So there you have it. We hope the thought of producing a great-looking film isn’t quite as daunting now. If you do need some support, we’re here to help.
Want to find out more?
We’ve been doing this for 20 years, working with international clients including BBC, Cambridge University Press, News UK, Medical Aid Films and Friend. Your creative projects will be in good hands with Alternative View Studios.