Animation Production: A Commissioner’s Guide Pt 1
Understanding the Production Process
When animation production briefs are being written for upcoming projects, they are often (mistakenly) lumped under the same category as video production, but they are a vastly different beast! In some areas of video production, there is the opportunity to be a little more fluid with the various production stages (not too fluid, mind you!), but with animation production, a rigid formula and process must be followed, with any variation potentially resulting in costly time delays with huge budget implications.
Animation is Methodical
With animation, each stage of the production process must be locked and signed off before you can move on to the next stage. We call this gate posting, and the order of these stages is slightly different to a typical video production commission. For example, with animation, a voice over will be recorded much earlier in the process, as the animator will need to use the timings of the speech to animate to. This is also true for music track selections, which is usually one of the later stages of post-production for video projects.
In terms of 2D motion graphics, depending on complexity, you can produce between 10 to 30 seconds of animation a day. With the average animated explainer video coming in at around 2 minutes, those costs can quickly rack up, so it’s imperative that you have the right processes and systems already in place and that the production is tightly managed. But if you have no experience in producing animation or motion graphics before, where do you start? Being the helpful chaps we are, we have put together a little guide on how to commission and manage animation projects, with a useful guide on the distinct stages that animation will go through, during the various stages of production. So sit back and enjoy our guide on animation and animated explainer video production.
First Things First… Why Animation Production?
That’s a good question and one that should always be asked before any animation project begins. What can animation and motion graphics do that video production cannot? We are not going to sit here and knock video; we absolutely love filmmaking but there are some areas where animation production and motion graphics might be a better fit. For example, an animation is easier to update; if there are a few small tweaks that need doing, it is much quicker and cheaper to adjust an image or a graphical asset than it is to organise a film crew to come back, and to round up interviewees, etc. Animations do not date as quickly either. People and circumstances change, and videos and stats can sometimes age quicker than you would like. Contributors may leave the organisation, statistics or research might change, and again, it is easier to adjust an animation to accommodate this change, rather than go through reshoots.
They can also be a much quicker and more reactive solution. This may seem surprising but if an animation is well organised during production, it can actually be turned around quite quickly and may require significantly less logistical planning than a video production shoot. Likewise, you do not need to account for filming days, and it is no surprise at all that during the pandemic, the rate at which commercial animation was being produced soared like never before!
Finally, alongside it being an incredible engagement tool (who doesn’t love a good animation!), it is useful in explaining ideas and concepts or visualising things that either don’t yet exist or are implausible to film (such as an unbuilt facility, a macro research graphic, etc.)
First Things First… Why Animation?
We’ve run out of space for this week, but next time we’ll go into further detail by looking specifically at the six-stage process of animation production, alongside giving you some tips on how you can make the process run a bit smoother for yourself. See you next time!
If you have a project or idea that you would like to discuss, get in touch with our team at [email protected]
So that’s it for this week, hopefully, there are some tips in here that will reassure you that a video commission can be turned around in just four weeks. It’s certainly not ideal, and not the best option if more time is available, but it is ‘doable’. In our next article, we’ll be looking at what’s involved in commissioning animation, motion graphics and explainer videos, and how the process can differ from traditional video production.
If you have a project or idea you would like to chat to us about, get in touch with our team at [email protected]
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