Photo courtesy of Pathloom

Your First Animated Explainer Video

Brett Stanton, the head of marketing for Pathloom, was kind enough to explain the creation and use of their first animated ad.

This was my first introduction to the field. Despite having a very limited budget, and themselves having relatively little experience with this, they were able to create an impressive video that they were very proud of.

It always impresses me how extra diligence and creativity can make it possible to get better results than could ever be imagined. The total cost was well under $1,000 not including staff time.

Courtesy of Pathloom

Actual Time Spend from start to finish was 6 weeks (roughly 2.5 hrs/week) including two iterations, planning before, and getting feedback in-between.

  • 3 hours — Storyboarding + scripting
  • 2 hours — version 1 — animator selection
  • 1 hour  — iterative discussions with animator
  • 5 hours — feedback about the first iteration (15 minutes from about 20 people)
  • 2 hours — reviewing the feedback + updating storyboard and script content
  • 1 hour — engaging Yuliya Patsay for v.2 video voiceover
  • 1 hour — version 2 — animator selection — AlbertAnimation
  • 1 hour — iterative discussions with animator and Pathloom core team

They made two iterations of their 40-second video.

Seeing the first iteration allowed them to clarify their thinking around styling and about the required production values. When I look at the two, I myself, see the difference in style, but not any substantive difference in quality. (One more reason why you should never rely on my taste or worse yet, my sense of style.)

They found both animators on Fivver and had a relatively limited choice based on their budget.

The whole process took about a month and they were pleased with the resulting video.

For me, the big surprise was the typical cost for voice-overs. While it is obvious in retrospect, it just hadn’t dawned on me before Brett mentioned it.

Medium surprise, it took much less money and much more time (both calendar time and staff time) than I would have expected.

Not at all surprising to me was how much higher quality they were able to achieve with a professional than I have gotten trying to do such things on my own.

Not much risk of Russell-created animations showing up on this series anytime soon.



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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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