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The Power of Animation

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The Power of Animation

The Power of Animation

Successful companies are beginning to use animated videos like never before – but why ?

Well the first reason is without doubt the increasing affordability of animated productions.

With the ready availability of powerful editing software and a wealth of artistic talent creating animated content, animation is far more affordable than ever before. Gone are the days when only the largest budgets could afford animations. Creative animation is now available to small and medium sized businesses.

But there are other important reasons too:

  • Animations open up a whole new world of creative possibilities – if you can imagine something, it can now be created.
  • Beautifully created animations are able to convey complex ideas or concepts in only a few short seconds.
  • Fun – animations can use humour and visual metaphor to create entertaining and engaging content that viewers love to share.

In fact a recent study reported that animated videos are shared up to 176% times more that traditional video. That’s users sharing your message to their networks.

The other major advantage of animations is that they can easily reflect your brand, style and audience, allowing a wealth of styles to be created for any audience.

Example 1: AAT

This animated video was commissioned by a training organisation to raise awareness of the wide selection of industries that need trained accountants. It was a highly successful campaign.

Example 2: Beating The Blues

This gentle animated video covers the delicate topic of mental health, offering advice to sufferers whilst respecting the sensitivities involved. It was created to respect ‘World Health Day’.

Example 3: ESQ Recruiting

This almost dream-like animation was a first in the recruitment sector, bringing a caring and long term partnership feel to their brand identity.

It’s style and impact has influenced many in the recruitment field.

A Final Thought

The power of animated videos to really engage audiences and drive new business is here to stay. For what can be only a modest investment, businesses can now employ the full potential of animations to engage like never before.

Interview Videos

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Interview Videos - The Power of Being on Camera

Interview Videos – The Power of Being on Camera

If your business provides a skilled service, no one can represent your company like you and your colleagues.

Interviews are a powerful way to represent your business to a wide audience, even if you don’t like public speaking. Even, if you don’t have any camera experience.

Interview Video Example 1: OXYGEN

In this example we stick entirely with the interview footage, only cutting once to show the location as a “board room”.

Our skilled interviewers make delivering this kind of video as easy as having a conversation. Through questions and conversation they will direct and guide you to deliver the right lines that they know our editors and the director will need for the video in post-production.

Interview Video Example 2: EPI Seismic Consultants

In this video we use more cutaways to illustrate what is being said. Sometimes animations can help illustrate more intricate points.

Music in both is used in all these examples to different effects, based on topic and brand representation; i.e. how you want to be seen.

Interview Video Example 3: Industrial Workwear

This one also uses other video elements; motion graphics, location filming and a presenter. See for yourself how the interviews play a key part in portraying the staffs’ wealth of knowledge and experience.

Speak to us about interviews with your team, or any kind of video marketing project, this month for 20% off!

Clockwork Creatives - Special Offer Feb 2016

Step 3 – Post Production: Part 2 – Titles

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Post Production Titles

For help implementing our guide please refer to these technical guides, depending on which software you chose to work with:

Software Technical Title Tutorial
iMovie https://support.apple.com/kb/PH14702?locale=en_GB&viewlocale=en_US
Windows Movie Maker http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-vista/add-movie-titles-and-credits-in-windows-movie-maker
Adobe Premiere Elements https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-elements/using/creating-trimming-titles.html
Sony Vegas http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/webhelp/vegaspro/13/enu/index.htm#Titles.htm
Adobe Premiere Pro https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/creating-editing-titles.html
Final Cut Pro X http://www.macworld.com/article/2012195/create-cool-video-titles-in-final-cut-pro-x.html

Now let’s focus on the interesting bit; using these abilities to turn a profit. What makes a good title? How does one make a good title great!?

Font & Colour:

Use your existing brand fonts if possible. You probably have 2; one for the logo itself and major titles and another for everything else. You also probably have 2 or 3 font colours, consider the primary colour for headline titles and your secondary colour for smaller/ sub-titles

Feel you should use different fonts and colours from your main brand? That’s cool, just think of the video as a sub-brand. Different rules, different look but just as consistent across where it is used, perhaps all your online videos, as any other brand you’d commission or create. 

Framing:

As with your font and colour, try to have a primary and secondary position for your titles. Keep them the same. Convention would have these to be the full screen title and the subtitle. It’s best to keep full screen titles to one line. Two at the most. While subtitles can have 3 or even 4 lines, particularly when being used literally as subtitles in the context of subtitling speech.

You’ll likely want to use the full screen/ primary framing along with your primary font and colour. And, vice versa for your secondary/ subtitle framing.

Animation:

Animating your titles can help engage your audience, winning their attention for your product/ service. Typically you’ll want a zoom or a scroll. If you’re using many lines of text typically one would use a subtitle with a scroll – this makes the iconic scrolling movie end-credits. Whereas for added impact you can use the main title with a subtle zoom in.

Other animation can be used, but try not to use it for novelty. Try to communicate something about your business with the animation. Do you offer a fast service, for example? Try the titles “flying in” from left to right, and then flying out when their done. You’ll notice if you make that kind of connection creatively then it will feel a more coherent brand and help reinforce your selling points in the very fabric of the production.

Graphics

Inserting graphics is as easy as loading up footage for cutting. Just Google ‘Graphic Design’ to find out more about the creation of graphics. Once your graphic is loaded into your chosen software, you should be able to resize it and animate it as you wish. Flexibility for this varies between different software suites.

Top tip: Pan or zoom a still image, such as a landscape, to create a moving shot and save resources!

Step 3 – Post Production: part 1

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Cutting your video into a sequence is one of the most rewarding steps in the production process. This is where all your hard work in planning and production will come together on-screen for the first time.

There are various software packages which can be used for this purpose;

We recommend Adobe Premier Elements to begin with as it works across multiple platforms, is stable and has an intuitive workflow.

There are many technical tutorials online and on YouTube for how to use your chosen software. We’re not going to re-invent the wheel!

Instead, here’s some tips on the creative side…

Pace – the pace of your video is important, and should be consistent like the tempo of music. Experiment with different music tracks, as they will stimulate different styles to which you can cut the video.

Continuity – ensure your shots cut together seamlessly. If you can, have just one audio track playing across all shots as often it is the change in sound, rather than visual, which makes you notice the cut.

Shots – convention would be to start with your wider shots and cut in to a closer shot. This is like meeting someone across the room and then as you go to meet them you get closer. But sometimes the reverse can work to intrigue your audience. “What is he looking at?” the audience may ask; and in those situations you can reverse this convention if desired – cutting to the wider shot to give the answer.

Music – download music for free for your video from the YouTube music library or, if you prefer to save time, you can pay to license music from Beatsuite.com which offers a more consistent quality and categorisation.

Creative Process – technically, you feel you can just put the shots together exactly as you planned. You may even have a storyboard which you can put together now with the shots you have. This is a great place to start! Do play with it, experiment and try different things out to see what works. If you feel something like “it just needs more punch” but you’re not sure how to go about it, give us a call and tell us where you’re at. It’s amazing how often there’s a technically simple while creatively genius solution!

Step 2: Production & Camera Techniques

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Production & Camera Techniques

At this step in the guide we’ll be looking at turning your script and storyboard documents into living, breathing and engaging video content.

If you haven’t already been through Planning & Pre-Production, you can read step 1 here

“What’s the difference between framing and composition?”

First, choosing & using your camera. Choosing a digital camera recorder is important. Most look good nowadays. You can generally trust Sony and Canon to deliver appropriate quality for whatever budget you have available. In other words you can use the price as a rough guide to quality.

Size of sensor will be the biggest creative decision you make. Many digital cameras now have a larger-than-necessary sensor, which mimics the size of a super35mm film negative. This gives a better “film look”. Alternatively you can choose a camera with a tiny digital sensor, which can be just as good quality but a different look altogether.

Camera Sensors example

The image on the left shows a narrow depth of field – the space that is in focus. This is achievable with a larger sensor, typically 35mm.

On the right we can see much more of the image is in focus. This is achievable with a smaller or micro sensor.

Which is right for you will depend on your preferences. But generally the 35mm looks is considered more beautiful and engaging, and gives you another tool to focus the attention of the audience: focus. The micro sensor is considered safer; you won’t accidently shoot something out of focus. And, it’s sometimes more appropriate for showing detail; cleaner shots of circuit boards or machinery.

It’s up to you.

Now, framing and composition.

It will be very practical indeed to the learn the terminology (right).

It’s convention rather than reality, in the way that timezones are, but you will find it very valuable to have a common language with which to discuss shots.

Consider each moment of the video which shot will work best.

What’s the difference between framing and composition?

Framing is how the camera is positioned, angled and zoomed for the shot. Composition is how the contents are the shot are positioned.

They work together like a two colours of a rubiks cube, so you’ll need to work them both simultaneously to get it right.

Camera Shot Terminology

A few top tips:

  • Try having any presenters, if applicable, look into the frame, i.e. turned with their back to the edge of the frame a little.
  • Experiment with zoom. The effect of whether you use a closer zoomed out frame or a farther back zoomed in frame is what makes that famous shot from Jaws possible. If in doubt, zoom in and step back a little. Try not to fully zoom out unless you need to.
Shot Example from Jaws
  • Shoot it multiple ways! Try different things and see what works in post-production. It’s a healthy part of the process.

Finally, sound recording.

It’s best to record on a separate microphone from the one on the camera, if there’s one at all. This is because the best place to hear from is rarely the same as the best place to see from.

You might be able to buy a shotgun mic, like the Rhode NTG 3, and plug it straight into the camera. Or, you might need to have a separate sound recording device such as a Zoom H4N which can both record microphones like the NTG 3 and has a built in microphone.

The only difference is that, if recorded separately, you will need to synchronise the audio and video in post-production. We’ll look at how to do this and new software which can help you in the next chapter.

Try to put the microphone as close to the sound source as you can, and adjust the levels (in simple terms volume) of the recording manually if you can. Don’t forget to also keep it out of shot!

Keep the microphone in front of people’s mouths, albeit above or to the side.

Handle with care. Microphones can pick up handling noise very easily. Look at using microphone stands, boom poles etc. The boom poles used professional use what’s called a shock mount to insulate the microphone at the end from the handling of the pole at the other. It’s like suspending your microphone in a web of rubber bands.

Avoid the wind! In fact, if in any doubt, avoid outdoors and open windows altogether. Even a gentle breeze can destroy your audio recording. Wind protectors rarely work unless very premium. The best ones create a cyclone and effectively put the microphone in the eye of the storm. But this is patented and expensive design technology.

Listen to it, while you’re recording it. You wouldn’t operate the camera with your eyes shut, so listen to the audio you’re recording.

Written by Chris Harvey – Head of Research & Development

Clockwork Creatives : Chris

Step 1 – Planning and Pre-Production

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Pre-Production is the name given to all the work which takes place between a production being given the green light to go ahead and a camera being switched on.

There is no set process as each production is individual and unique, however we’ll cover a 3-step process which will work for you as a framework for your first production.

1.  Initial Planning

Assign this stage to a small, clever team.  Let them work privately on this stage and present their ideas when ready.

First, make two bullet point lists.  The first will be a list of points you need to make in the video; keep it blunt and short.  The second list will be attributes of your target audience.  Age, gender mix, income etc.

team planning

Now, create the structure which will convey all those points to that audience.  Will it be a presenter speaking to them?  What age or gender should that person be to best connect with your audience?  Or perhaps a scene with several characters in which something is done either right or wrong will work best.

Unlike most mediums with video you can show as well as tell!  Embrace the visual medium; show and tell your points in a way your audience will understand and appreciate.

example script

2.  Scripting & Feedback

Now that you have your structure, script it.  You can read about the formatting of screenplays here, and it has been worked out pretty well.  You only need a basic office app like Google Drive.

Did you know?  A properly formatted script will read 1 minute per page.  The longer the script, the more accurate this becomes

Once your team has produced a script they are pleased with, let them present it to the team.  If there are multiple characters try reading it together in a meeting with each person taking on a role.

Give the creative team your feedback and then let them work it into the script.  The feedback will be a whole bunch of creative problems which they’ll need to fix and give some proper thought to.  Although this will invariably make the overall production much better, don’t expect all the solutions to be apparent immediately.

Repeat this process of the creative team writing, team reading and feedback followed by more writing until you’re happy with the script.

3.  Storyboard & Shot Lists

Now we’ll storyboard certain visuals or sequences of shots.  If the script reads:

John gets out of his car and walks into his office

example storyboard

Then is this one scene ? or does he get out of his car and walk toward his office; then cut to the office and he walks in?  This would be two separate scenes

Be sure to plan everything shot-for-shot.  Two different people reading a vague/ non-storyboarded script can both feel they understand and yet have totally different ideas of what will be created.

The storyboard will follow the same process of being written and reviewed.

That’s all for now !

Please do send in your questions.  We’ll answer and try to help in any way we can.  If you call us we’ll give you free support.

Increasing Website Response

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Having a website for any business is important, however, if you have a website have you looked at whether it’s helping to bring you new customers? As every business owner or marketing manager knows; the response from the website is the most important thing. However, knowing how to reliably get increased results can be difficult.

The first thing we advise our clients to look at is whether you are getting enough visitors to your website. If you are and you’re not getting the enquiries or sales you think you should be getting then we are confident that we can help. From our experience, the likely cause due to lack of enquiries via any website is down to user engagement which is where having a quality business video present can really help.

Here at Clockwork Creatives we provide website corporate video production services to businesses all over the UK and further-a-field. We don’t just create videos well, we always have the end result in mind which is to help obtain more customers. From our years of experience we will work with you to have a video on your website that adds real benefit.

For information on how we can help you, please contact us..

Video Top Tips

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At Clockwork Creatives, whilst our main offering is providing quality, bespoke videos to businesses, we don’t just stop there. We want to help make sure that once you have your video from us, it adds real benefit to your business and brings increased enquiries and sales as a result.

With the above in mind we thought for this article we would come up with our three top tips on how to effectively use your video once you have it, which are as follows –

1) Your Website – One of the first places we advise our clients to have their new corporate video present is on their website. As mentioned in previous articles, to help gain more enquiries via a website we’ve found that the more engagement encouraged then the more interaction this promotes which is why a video can be vital.

2) Social Sharing Sites – Along with your website it’s also completely free of charge to upload your video to social sharing sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Once your video is live on these types of sites the viewing potential can be huge! Sites like YouTube have proven to be extremely effective advertising tools, so take advantage!

3) Email Marketing – Finally, our least piece of advice is to embed your video into an email campaign which you can send out to previous and potential customers. At the moment videos in emails aren’t used on a large scale. However, from viewing the statistics the results are really impressive.

We hope you’ve found the information above helpful and if you would like some more advice then you can contact us.