How to lower the cost of animated explainer videos

costs for animated explainer videos

Significantly lower the production cost of your next video production.

The secret to web video success is delivering valuable content and convenience in the forms of animated explainer videos. Providing your viewers with a choice of how and where they want to consume the video content depending on what is on their minds. (e.g. desktop, smartphone, laptop, or tablet). Ideally, a video for all your core web pages and your socials media channels.

Animated video explainers are the most effective form of presenting ideas and concepts quickly. This is particularly true for the technology and software development industries. In these industries abstract concepts are often challenging to describe in text form. What may take a person 20 minutes to read about could be explained with 2-minute animated explainer videos.

Other industries such as manufacturing and healthcare are also excellent candidates for explainer videos. If you are unfamiliar, I invite you to review our animated explainer videos client page.

Animated explainer videos can vary widely depending on severals aspects. There are two basic production paths a business may pursue with their video production company. The first path is an end-to-end creative solution where your video production company will create all aspect of the video production including:

  1. Concept development and style
  2. Script and storyboard development
  3. Video production and animation
  4. Final delivery

The second path is a collaborative creation process. During this process the client will assist in creating parts of the production. This path will result in lower production costs and are explained below.

Tip 1: Research animation styles or concepts in advance

The first path is self explanatory, but it’s the second path where cost saving can be realized.

Knowing exactly what you want and who will see the video is an important first step. Clarity about your objective will help in reducing the required time in development. Your video production company will also suggest a number of creative directions to help narrow down the choices.

Additionally, search YouTube and Vimeo for styles that appeal to you. 3D character animation, whiteboard animations, or motion graphics are all different in style. Not all styles will work for all businesses. A medical device company may be interested in 3D animations created from CAT diagrams. A software development company may benefit from motion graphics. Motion graphics are sometimes lower in cost than full 3D animations. Most video production companies will offer a selection of choices. If you are not sure don’t hesitate to ask for options based on the industry of your company. Regardless of which path you choose, it is always recommended to ask the video production company for advice, after all, they do this for a living and offer valuable experience.

Tip 2: Develop a script draft in advance

Video production companies have talented script writers but they may require a significant amount of time in researching your specific market, product, or service when drafting a script for you. If you approach the production company with a script draft, that will directly reduce time spent by the script writer. The video production company will be able to help fine-tune the script and let you know what will work well in a video. Presenting them with a draft will result in lower costs. (Note: read the draft aloud, record yourself. Spoken words can come across very differently than reading text.)

Most animated explainer videos have a runtime between 90 seconds and 3 minutes. The word count is approximately 125 words per minute. Again, the production company will help polish the script, but the word count will help in guide the script development.

Cost is mostly determined by the runtimes, so keep your script as short as possible. Often less is more when drafting an explainer video script. However, once a script has been fully approved do not change it as that will incur additional costs. Each change directly effects the animation and the voice over narration. The script is done first, then the storyboard, voice over, followed by the animation production.

Voice over narrations are an important aspect which helps in setting the professional tone and delivery. Your video production company will have agreements in place with a variety of professional voice actors and actresses to choose from. Professional voice overs add a significant amount of production value.

Keep the video as short as possible. A shorter script will equal a lower costs.

Tip 3: Assist in the development of the storyboard and production assets 

A storyboard puts images and visuals to the spoken words. Search sites such as Adobe Stock for images similar to your vision for each scene. You may use a simple two column word document with the text on the left and visual representations on the right. Provide ideas in the form of images or descriptions for each sentence or paragraph of the script. A rough storyboard will also help save the amount of time spent during pre-production phase.

Your company may also consider providing the animation company with graphics which you already own. Perhaps you are able to create product graphics or photos in house. The production company will let you know which formats are best. These pre-production steps will also help bring the cost down.

60-70% of the explainer video production time is spent during the actual animation of the graphics. That is where the magic happens and your script, graphics, and voice over narration all come to life in a captivating video. This is why you are hiring the video animation company.

Let’s summarize

1. Decide in advance which styles you like. There are plenty of quality examples on YouTube or Vimeo

2. Write the first draft of the script yourself and have the production company polish the script.

3. Create some of the graphics elements in house (e.g. Photos, logos, CAD diagrams, other graphics)

I hope you found this blog post helpful. Feel free to get in touch with us if we can provide you with advice on your next video production or animation production.

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