By: Steven Cotroneo
August 17, 2016explainer video
Keep it Short
Think of your explainer videos as your company’s elevator pitch. The original “elevator pitch” comes from the studio days of Hollywood, when a screenwriter would catch an executive on an elevator ride. The screenwriter would then “pitch” an idea to the decision-maker, in 30 to 60 seconds. This length is the sweet spot we found to capture your audience’s attention. In fact, the shorter the video the more likely your audience will continue watching. The fact is, if you don’t capture the attention of your viewers within the first 10 seconds you will already have lost 20% of your audience.
TIP: When writing a script keep in mind that 150 words equals around a minute of voice over.
This is where it all begins. Without a well-written script you won’t have a foundation for your video. In my experience, it’s almost always better to hire a scriptwriter. Some companies like to try to write their own scripts, but if you’re not familiar with the process you can wind up wasting time and effort. Using a writer allows you to be direct and to the point and stay on the right track. The first few seconds are the most important part of a video, and a script writer can help you create a hook to grab the viewer’s attention.
Scriptwriters have a good sense for how much time to allow for pauses and breaks, leaving breathing room so the message can be easily retained.
TIP: When reading a script, allow for pauses–a few seconds for an interaction and a few seconds for the call to action. If you don’t account for this time in the scriptwriting stage it will most likely require additional budget.
A storyboard is a key element in video creation. Storyboards are a series of slides with text descriptions to define the look and feel and animation style of the entire video. For a 1- to 2-minute explainer video this might include roughly 24 still images with text descriptions. This will help you better visualize the entire video and save you time in the animation stage.
TIP: When creating the storyboard try to be as detailed as possible to ensure less backtracking.
Use a Professional Voice Over Artist
The right voice will help keep your video interesting and fill any dead spaces or pauses in your video. Voice over artists record themselves in a soundproof room and have equipment to edit out any type of irregular sounds. If you were to try to record the script yourself, you’d most likely end up with irregular tones, pops in the audio and background noise. Unless you are a professional VO artist with a soundproof room there’s no need to record it on your own. Years ago it would cost a few thousand dollars to hire a professional voice over artist but today there are several online options with costs ranging from under $100 to just a few hundred. It’s as easy as going online and picking the right VO for your video.
Grab the Attention of your Audience
As you may have noticed, there’s running theme about keeping your video short. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to grab the viewer’s attention as early as possible. There are several ways to do this.
• Teaser: If you’re selling a product or service you can mention that a particular piece of info will be revealed later in the video.
• Simple Language: Try not to get too crazy with the professional lingo. Keep it conversational. The goal is to explain your product or service as quickly and clearly as possible.
• Use typography: Even if your video includes voice over, it’s always good to back that up with some overlaying text that points out the major points of your product or service.
• Keep the video moving: This is my biggest pet peeve and why most whiteboard animations don’t work. Your audience will surely drop out if they are looking at the same old graphic or repetition of animation throughout your video. Always changes things up to keep it interesting. This is what really separates us from other explainer video companies. Have a look at these examples to get a better idea.
Live Action Isn’t Necessarily Better
One of the biggest misconceptions in creating a video is that it’s very expensive to do. Many people think of video as live footage, but around 90% of our video work is graphics and animation. By using typography, photos and illustrations, you will achieve the same effect of a live video and save yourself thousands of dollars as well.
It’s pretty amazing how background music can bring your explainer videos to life. Music helps fill in any pauses in the VO or animation and keeps your video interesting from beginning to end. It also sets the mood for your video, so choose carefully! Is your video funny? Serious? Is it for a corporate presentation? Picking the right music will help hook your audience. These are some of our favorite music sites:
TIP: When using music with your explainer videos VO keep it very low volume so it doesn’t interfere with the talking. Listen to the VO and music with and without headphones so you can better determine the correct audio balance.
Keeping these points in mind has really helped us in keeping on target with our clients. We’re always improving our process so if you think I missed anything please give me a shout!