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A Step-by-Step Guide to Producing a Charity Animation

Animated video is a great way for charities to communicate with their communities in a dynamic, colourful and attention-grabbing way.

Animation has become an increasingly popular solution for charities looking to communicate with their audiences during the pandemic, when in-person filming became a little trickier to achieve.

Whether an animation explains the mission statement of your charity or a complex topic, these videos can be particularly engaging and effective by providing lots of visual freedom to simplify complex ideas and abstract topics.

Animation is also great for instilling visual brand identity, as the medium allows you to incorporate the brand colour palette and visual style into the imagery.

Ultimately, though, animation provides longevity as a timeless visual storytelling tool. Animation can have a much longer shelf life than traditional filmed video which can feel dated as camera technology evolves. This means charities, who frequently need to watch the pennies, can end up getting more bang for their buck.

If you’re looking to wrap your head around the animation process a bit better, have a look at our step-by-step guide to producing an animated charity video.

1. Start with a Solid Script

After an initial briefing and kick-off call, we like to land on your key messages: the big ‘why’ of your animation video. This can be a list of the key messages in terms of who your organisation is, what is does and who it helps – in the case of a brand animation – or a bullet point list covering the complex topic you want to explain.

From these initial lists and notes, we write a visual script. This is a document comprised of a table of two columns: one for the words of the voiceover, and one for the proposed visuals that will accompany the words. It looks a little bit like this!

2. Style it Out

Animation is ‘top heavy’ process, so a lot of work goes into getting everything right in the early stages, as things get trickier to undo and rework the further into the process you get. Nowhere is this more important than with the design.

Once a visual script is signed-off, we produce some style frames which are mock-up designs for how the animation will be illustrated. We provide multiple style options, though it’s often helpful for the client to send us some example styles that the love the look of, as well as their brand guidelines. The client can then cycle through our style frames and let us know which style they like the look of the most.

3. Picture the Product with the Storyboard

Once an overall style is determined, we go on to storyboard the full script. This means drawing each scene in the animation.

This is when you can start to really picture the final product and imagine it coming to life. Second to receiving the final product, getting to see the storyboard tends to be a client’s favourite moment!

4. Finding the Voice

Once we arrive at the storyboarding stage it becomes important to think about the voiceover. Here we go through the casting process. We ask you which kind of voice you would like – for instance, are there any genders or any accents you would particularly like delivering your message here? When you have a rough idea in mind, we can provide you with voice artist reels to listen to from the actors on our books.

Once the voiceover artist is cast, we will work with you to determine the direction to give the artist (such as tone of voice, pronunciations) and we will record the voiceover track in our studio with our sound engineer and the artist.

5. “Well, What the Heck is an Animatic?”

The word animatic is a really confusing one for anyone not in the know – I mean, what the heck does it mean?

Let me help you out: an animatic is simply a video file which shows all the storyboard frames (scenes) timed to the voiceover. At this stage nothing moves (nothing is animated) and you just see the static frames overlain on the voiceover. The purpose is to determine pace and check that each scene doesn’t last too long or isn’t over too quickly.

It’s a little hard to imagine, isn’t it? Have a little look at this.

6. Get Things Moving with Animation

We’re then, finally, onto the animation stage. This is the most time-consuming stage, which often means radio silence for a couple-few weeks while we get our heads down doing the fiddly jobs of making characters eyes blink and hands wave!

However, once we come out of the other side, we’ll have a fully animated video!

7. Finishing Touches... et Voila!

Once the client is happy with the animated video, we can add finishing touches like sound effects, background music and subtitles.

And et voila – the animation is complete, and you have a sparkly, dynamic, and engaging film to share with your audiences across all your platforms.

Some clients have described seeing the final product as ‘a bit like Christmas Day!’

To set your animation plans in motion, get in touch today:

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