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What is an Explainer Video?

The Explainer Video has it’s root in cell animation going back decades– before the use of computers.  Educational films, both for schools and industry would be an animated, cell by cell, to demonstrate the subject.  Once computers became available, animation migrated over to that platform.  Today, computer generated graphics is the basis for an Explainer Video.  

So what is the Explainer Video?  An Explainer Video is a short 2D animation that demonstrates your product or service on top of a voice over with sound and music.  The style can be cartoonish or text driven, and can be very simple or complex depending on what you need and how much time it takes the animators to do it.

How Do You Make an Explainer Video?

  1. Script – The first step in an Explainer Video is to write the script.  It is the blueprint for the construction of the video.  
  2. Voice Over (if needed) – Then the script is voiced.  Sometimes, an Explainer Video will not have voice over, but instead will rely on text and images to tell the story.  
  3. Then samples of the animation style are created and approved by you, the client.  
  4. Animation Begins– The animators then begin working, usually by creating all their assets first.  Then after they have all their assets and elements, they begin do the motion, the animation.  When that is complete, the video is rendered out.  
  5. Music and Sound Design– After the animations are complete, sound design and music are added (like this video here).

And one thing to keep in mind, depending on the complexity, animation rendering can take a long time.  3D animation can take several days or more of just rendering.  (Like this 3D video here).  So keep that in mind for your deadline.  But usually, Explainer Videos don’t take as much time as say, 3D animations.  We had one project of a 40 second video in 3D take two weeks just to render because of the huge complexity.

Event Editing onsiteAlso when creating the animation, some things that look very simple can be extremely time consuming (and costly) while other things that look complex can be easy.  For instance, a simple line drawing cartoon might look overly simple when there might be hours of work the animator has to do to make it look easy.  Whereas, a full color cartoon, like this one, doesn’t move every frame, so it’s not as time consuming.  A good rule of thumb is that the more motion you have, the more time consuming it will be.

And one style is really grabbing people’s attention is to combine live action with explainer video animations like this one.   In this case, the explainer video animations become elements for the live action and can be a lot of fun—which leads to better viewer engagement and stronger education recall.