From initial ideas through to finished video, the process often involves a number of steps to make sure we end up with the thing we set out for at the start. Measure twice - cut once.
You tell me what it is you want, how much you want to spend, where it will be seen and most importantly what the goal of the project is, whether it's to raise awareness, increase click throughs or just sell more product.
The concept stage is where one thinks of the best ways to answer the brief - how to get the message across. Not all pieces need a big idea/story. Training videos and product demonstrations don't generally require it.
Once a concept has been decided upon, writing the script usually the first “physical step. The script drives the whole piece and will determine the pace of the action, as well as what needs to be shown on screen. It will also set the tone of the piece. Normally the person to do this would be a script writer / copywriter.
4. Style frames
Sometimes at this point it may also be necessary to produce a few “style frames”, these can help in deciding on a visual look to the piece. These are stills that would be done before storyboarding commences. The idea here is to give a fairly clear idea of how the piece will look before actually doing the storyboard, which itself can take quite some time, particularly if illustrations need creating or sourcing.
Once the script & style frames have been approved things really start to get moving. The creation of a storyboard allows you to preview the piece as a whole, but without spending weeks animating it. Depending on the desired approach this might be: hand drawn scribbles, fully illustrated, photographic or using stock imagery (depending on budget). If the piece is to be voiced over, it's generally a good idea to get this recorded now.
6. Voiceover
Most modern videos will utilise audio. Personally I would always recommend voicing over a film unless there is a really good reason NOT to. It allows the film to proceed with pace. The alternative is normally to have the words on screen, this of course involves the viewer spending time reading when you might actually want them to be looking at a diagram or your product. The overall effect of this is that the piece has to be slowed right down so the viewer has time to read all the messaging and digest any other visual content. It can end up looking like a PowerPoint presentation! Ideally, you want to make your content as easy to digest as possible, if the viewer gets bored they will stop watching.
If it has to be a “text on screen” approach, then the text needs to be in very small manageable chunks so it can be digested easily. This approach is common when the film is to be viewed in places where audio is not possible, like at an exhibition where the film is on a continuous loop on your stand, or digital signage that is outdoors.
7. Music
Most pieces are improved by having some music in them. In an ideal world this would be thought about prior to production, but it can be added on at the end, providing the animation does not have to match specific parts of the music, or be on the beat.
Music is a very subjective issue. People often have vastly different ideas about what music should go with a piece. For this reason I prefer to let the client source this. I can do it, but searching for tracks takes time, I do have to charge for that. 
Once the storyboard is all approved and I have the recorded voiceover I can get going on the production. As I am working with the recorded voiceover, items such as animation, text, footage, music and sound effects can all be placed to exact timings. Some of these items may need searching out and purchasing. Depending on what is required this phase is normally the real meaty part of the job, sometimes taking several weeks. During this time I regularly show where I am up to, so you don't get any nasty surprises right at the end.
Hopefully you will be delighted with the final piece. On rare occasions there may still be some things that for one reason or another have changed slightly from what was agreed earlier. It may be that other people in your company have had further thoughts, or the legal department has decided a certain thing cannot be said. At this stage changing things can be much more time consuming than it was earlier. It might mean getting the voiceover re-recorded, or re-animating something.
Often when working with creative agencies, all the ideas and storyboarding have been done by in house staff and they only require myself to do the production elements using their supplied assets.
Sometimes on relatively simple projects it can be easier and more cost effective to just go straight into animating/production. This is more common on product demonstration pieces, or jobs where you have to have a bit of a play to see what happens.
I’ve worked on all kinds of projects over the years and am happy to do as much or as little as required on each job.
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