How do you make a good explainer video, quickly? Who can help produce a video in this way? In this article we’ll talk about making explainer videos with fast turnaround.
But first, the question…
What is Fast?
A normal turnaround time is 5 – 10 weeks at most studios for a 60 sec animated video. That’s for custom design, not a template job. If you’re making a high-end, big budget video then you should expect the timeline to be longer than this. A fast turnaround time is 3 – 6 weeks for an experienced studio if the circumstances are right. What are these circumstances? Read on!
How to Make a Video Quickly
Here are our top tips for making it happen.
- Budget: if your producer has no money to fix problems then you may experience issues later without ever knowing why. As a good general rule it’s best not to push on price, timing and quality all at the same time.
- Speed of Feedback: you need to be able to provide quick, preferably same-day feedback at each step. If your own management team takes long to approve things or many people are involved in the process then you should expect delays.
- Clever Scripting: it’s best to script up fewer, simpler visuals that are easy to execute. It’s also easier if there aren’t too many characters. That doesn’t mean it needs to look bad, it just means you need to be smart with what you ask the animator(s) to do. See our article on script writing.
- Pick an Experienced Creator: Your creator needs a range of skills and resources at their disposal. They need people who can fix problems, people who can write smart scripts, and a pool of talented animators to ensure availability and to pivot in case of issues.
- Get Moving: Don’t take too long awarding the job because every half-day matters on a tight deadline!
Why does making a video take so long?
More than 150 hours of works goes into making an explainer video, plus there are client reviews. Here’s a typical schedule:
- Scripting: 1-2 weeks (1-4 days for 1st draft, the rest for client reverts).
- Style frames: 0.5 – 2 weeks (2-3 days for first draft, the rest for edits).
- Voiceover: 1 week (can run concurrently to style frames; 1-3 days for casting, the rest for recording and reviews).
- Storyboard: 1-3 weeks (1 week for 1st draft, 1-2 weeks for reviews).
- Animation: 2-3 weeks (1 week for 1st draft, 1-2 weeks for reviews).
- Sound design: a few days (1-2 days for first options, 1-2 days to finish).
It’s worth noting that there are about 12 review cycles in a typical production (2 for each of the 6 stages). These reviews are sometimes combined but even so there are 12 decision-points, so if there are a lot of decision-makers at the client side it’s easy to see how a production can get bogged down, especially if the boss chimes in at the last minute!
Don’t Push it if you don’t Have To
Picture this… an agency is tearing down walls to hit a client’s deadline burning through budget left, right and centre. Suddenly the client magically finds more time and now requires more work on the video. But the budget is spent. It’s not a great situation so open communication about the deadline is recommended. It’s also possible that certain decisions will have been made differently if there was more time, e.g. putting a more suitable designer/animator/etc on the project. Experienced creators know that the fate of the video is set during the scripting and design stages, so finding time at the last minute will very often not help that much with quality.
What are the limits Creatively?
It is a reality that certain of the more funky things are out of bounds when making explainer videos with fast turnaround, e.g. complex 3D work or fluid cel-animation. The good news is that most people don’t require these things (or have the budget anywya).
What companies that make Explainer Videos with Fast Turnaround?
Most professional video production houses will create videos quickly if needed, as will many freelancers. It’s advisable to use someone who’s made a lot of videos, and hence has a solid proven process. It’s also a good idea to ask to see videos that they have made quickly in the past.
Making good quality explainer videos with fast turnaround is possible if you follow some good practice. Get in touch to discuss your project today!