Process

Regardless of whether it is a live action or animated video, the principle of having a robust process in place ensures that we end up with the very best video production possible, and happy clients each and every time. We don't waste time or budget and aim to keep you involved every step of the way. We do this because we don't want the edit to go off in a direction that isn't optimal for your audience, or to cause delays and higher than expected costs.

Step 1 - Initial Meeting

When we create any video it’s absolutely crucial that we have a process in place so that we can make the very best production for you possible, but importantly by having this process in place it ensures that we don’t spend lots of time on a particular stage which isn’t to your liking and then have to go back and do it all again differently. The way we work, step by step, allows you to feel much more involved in the project and by ensuring we get sign off after each stage, it means the project is really efficient and no time, and therefore money, is wasted.

The first step is almost always an initial meeting with you and your team where we learn more about what you do, the character of your business and who your customers are. Once we know this we will produce an initial proposal that gives you a clear indication of the broad visual style we think would work best and the budget that will be required. If you want to know more about how we cost out videos, you can read our blog on pricing here.

Step 2 - Production Meeting

Once you’re happy with the initial discussions, proposal and budget, we set up a production meeting where we really drill down into the detail of the project. We try to understand in far more depth who your customers are and the specific audience for this production. We want to establish what they want to hear, where they will be looking at the video (for example on Facebook or at an exhibition stand) and what we want them to do after they watch the video. We also get a much better understanding of your business, your brand values and the tone that you want to communicate in, along with obviously the specific messages you need to get across.

Step 3 - Script Writing

After the production meeting we write the script, as all the visuals will revolve around the words that are spoken. We write the script ourselves in the first instance to balance the right level or detail, length and language which sometimes is hard for clients because they are so close to and passionate about what they do, sometimes over complicating the message. We usually make quite significant changes in the second version of the script, but generally the versions thereafter involve quite simple tweaks around specific language or terminology. In some cases, such as exhibition videos, there is no voiceover and therefore no ‘script’ however often there will be text that shows on screen. As such this is the stage where we refine those key messages that you want to deliver.

Step 4 - Voiceover Selection

Once the scripting is completed, we work with you to find an appropriate voiceover artist to record the script. This is the only element of any video project that is outsourced but we have connections with freelance artists and agencies to cover pretty much most bases in terms of finding a ‘voice’ to match your brand.

Step 5 - Storyboarding

While the voiceover is being recorded we move on to the storyboard phase. The storyboard is a sequence of sketches and drawings which show in detail what is happening and how throughout the video. We base this on the initial agreed concept but really get down to the nitty-gritty of the action scene by scene. This is sent over in digital form and any amends required are discussed and changed where required until the storyboard is approved and we can move to the next stage.

Step 6 - Asset Development

The next step is to take the create the graphics that will actually be animated on screen, as anything visual that you see on screen, has to be designed, whether that is in software like Adobe Illustrator or in the actual editing software - Adobe After Effects. Before we work up all the graphics however we send you a ‘stye tile’ which has a selection of some of the graphics on so you can approve the style and approach before we create the entire suite. With animation, everything on screen has to be designed and set up for motion which means that the assets have to be layered, so all the parts can move independently of one another. This is a level of complexity that is added with animation and why creating graphics for a video takes much longer than making graphics for a brochure or a website for instance.

Step 7 - Animating

The main step is obviously animating and once all the previous steps have been approved, we can begin this process. We generally edit in a sequential order and time it to the voiceover and the audio bedding (soundtrack) so everything runs in time. As a rule of thumb, we can edit between 20 - 30 seconds of footage each day depending on the complexity of the scene, the amount of assets on screen at any one time and the number of layers each asset has that need to move. The complexity of animations is huge which is why it is so time consuming, and if you cut corners, it is very noticeable, very quickly.

Step 8 - Feedback and Amends

When the edit is finished we send it over to you using a piece of cloud software that allows you to watch the video and make comments at specific time-codes rather than mucking about flipping between YouTube and a Word document! We make any amends that you would like and then export the video in whatever format you need it, however this is usually an MP4 which has been compressed for web use, but we’re happy to do whatever you need.

Step 9 - Completion

The reason we have this process is because animated video can get very expensive very quickly if a sensible, step-by-step approach isn’t adopted. If we agreed to do a video and the next time that you heard from us it was complete (an extreme example we concede), there are any number of things that would likely be wrong - the script, accent of the voiceover, scenes that are inappropriate, types of graphics, length, audio….well everything. To change one or all of these things has a knock on effect to everything else and means a huge amount of additional time that is needed to rectify them and therefore cost, either to us or to you….neither of which is ideal! By using this process, we can work to a fixed cost, you feel far more involved and hopefully enjoy the experience not just the outcome and we can ensure that we’re on the right track and not imposing our vision on your business.

The Three Stages of Production

Filming a video is split into three stages: pre-production, production & post-production. The actual filming phase, in many ways is the shortest element of production. But the success of the final video is really down to the foundations laid in the pre-production, and that is the stage that unfortunately many people overlook.

Step 1 - Production Meeting

We start with a production meeting, where we discuss every element of the project and what we want to achieve. We nail down the purpose of the video, your target audience, how it will be deployed and the key messages you want to get across, so everyone is on the same page.

Step 2 - Storyboarding

The next stage is to put together a storyboard. What we want to avoid is turning up on location and just wandering around filming stuff that looks interesting. You see producing a great video is like cooking a great dish. You decide on the recipe and then go and get the perfect ingredients to make it, as opposed to opening the cupboards and trying to hash something together with what you’ve got. That’s why having a storyboard in place is so important, it means we go and get the right footage to tell the story we’re trying to tell. We know what the video looks like, what shots, props and people we need before we even get the camera out of the bag.

Step 3 - Production Schedule

Once the storyboard is approved, we put together a comprehensive production schedule. This is the document that everyone follows on the day of the shoot. It contains all the information on the shoot, including logistics, location, security, key contacts and even parking arrangements, so that there are no surprises on the day, and not a minute wasted.

Step 4 - Production

The next phase is production, where we turn up on site to capture the footage agreed in the storyboard and production schedule, using all the professional equipment that we have in our armoury that is relevant to the production and needed to get the shots we want.

Step 5 - Post Production

The final phase is post production, where all of the footage we gathered is edited into the final video. Our editor lays out the production in-line with the the storyboard and decides which shots make the cut and which shots get binned. This process is really important creatively and can’t be rushed, as every piece of footage has to be watched and considered in the context of the whole edit so the right decisions are made. Most videos have a soundtrack which is over-laid at the same time, so everything fits together nicely. We also add lots of additional value in this stage, through colour correction and grading, and advanced post production techniques such as on screen graphics, motion tracking and rotoscoping.

Step 6 - Feedback and Amends

When we have completed the edit we send it over to you for your feedback and amends, and when all of these have been actioned we provide you with a final master edit and help you to push it out to your target audience and get it working for you.

Our robust video process, whether live action or animated, guarantees a great outcome and ensures that no time, budget or effort is wasted and you get a great edit first time.

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