Explainer Videos

If you think of your video marketing strategy in the context of your buyer journey, the explainer video production would be early in the cycle – in the engagement phase – and will frequently end with a strong call to action (sign up for demo for example).

As an explainer video production company in London, Hocus Pocus Studio is a specialist in the strategy, production and promotion of explainer videos.  Here’s a good example of an explainer we made for Intel to announce their entry into the smartphone market:

What is an Explainer Video?

An explainer video is a highly customisable 2d animation much beloved of the startup / tech world.  Voiceover driven, colourful and concise, bright and bouncy: a good explainer video is the perfect vehicle for explaining a new product or service.  You can view plenty of examples on our work portfolio page.

They’re particularly suited to helping to visualise complex concepts, as the format lends itself to simplification and demystifying. Explainers will often be character driven, as with this film we made for Bloom intelligence:

What Makes a Good Explainer Video?

A good explainer is one that entertains, engages and delivers on the call to action.  Here’s what we concentrate on to help with that:

  • Who’s the audience? Don’t try making the same film for too many different people
  • What’s your message? Define it, refine it and then simplify it.  Clarity is vital
  • Bin the jargon. Some technical terms may be necessary but please no ideating your transmedia integration verticals
  • Tell a story. Alright it’s not 2015 anymore, but stories still count.  You’re going to need a beginning, middle and end
  • Keep it short. Aim for 90 secs but please no longer than 2 mins.  It’s harder to be concise so be disciplined.  This isn’t the right format for long and subtle exposition
  • Be decisive, bold. This is easier with fewer people working on the project.  Avoid committees
  • Allow ample money and time for music composition / sourcing and sound design

Aren't Explainers a Bit 'Over'?

It’s absolutely true that there has been a proliferation of generic explainers over recent years.  The slightly ironic / approachable voiceover, the familiar character animation – yawn.  What is also true though is that voiceover led animation can still be the perfect vehicle for

telling your story, you just need to try harder to make sure you stand out.  Which is where Hocus Pocus Studio comes in.  Check out this explainer for Blackbird, where a little 3d really helps freshen the format:

How Much Does an Explainer Film Cost?

Search up the internet and you’ll find someone who’ll make you an explainer for a few hundred quid.  But – caveat emptor – it won’t be any good.  If you’re looking for a generic, template driven pile of poo then Hocus Pocus is not the explainer video production company for you.

Every explainer video project is different – or at least should be – so there’s no such thing as a standard price. As with most creative & film production, you’ll find a big range of prices and standards of videos.

We think our work is priced competitively, but we do have high standards and employ some really great talent. Our team have over a decade of working together, so we have experience of coming up with solutions for a range of budgets.

There are a few things that do influence the price of your explainer video that you might want to think about:

  1. Content. Do you have a story crafted in your head, or do you need us to start from scratch?
  2. Talent. If you want someone famous to do your voiceover you’ll need to allow extra budget.
  3. Rights and usage. If you love your explainer video so much you want to play it at the superbowl, you’ll need to agree the usage rights before.
  4. Duration. You might love your product so much you want to make a 15min film, but we’re going to persuade you to keep it short.
  5. Music. If you want Kanye to do tunes for you then it’s going to hurt the wallet considerably more than if you go for a library track. Audio is super important, so don’t skimp on the sound design, either.
  6. Schedules. Keeping the production time down can really help to keep costs down. So if you need to get everything signed off by your boss’s sister’s cat every time you amend a graphic, it’s going to really slow things down.

How Long Does It Take to Make an Explainer Video?

Of course it depends on how ambitious we’re being with the production, but for a 90sec animated explainer video we’d expect that to take around 6 weeks, or maybe 4 weeks if we stay up late and cancel fun at the weekends. Here’s the drill:

  1. Fill in the brief. Yeah I know we all want to get stuck in right away, but this initial part really helps us establish your goals, mandatory CI stuff, and anything else grown up and important we need to focus on. Write the script and visual direction. This is the genesis of the whole film, where we get the story going. Normally we can crack it in a week, sometimes it’s two.
  2. Style frames & motion test. Here we hand over to the people with interesting hairstyles and alternative life-choices to do the cool stuff. We’ll give you a half-dozen or so frames at ‘final’ quality (sorta depends on the style, but normally always final) and a short motion test. Then you lavish us with praise and we get on with it.
  1. Full storyboard. This is our bible really, where you get to see the graphics & script all laid out together. Now’s the time to pick up any significant amends.
  2. Record the voiceover. Sometimes at a studio, sometimes the artists record at home, depending on the level of direction required. Either way, we get to tweak until we’re happy.
  3. Animation. This is the part where we go into our secret motion lab that’s in a hollowed out volcano in the Alps. It’s stacked with the most talented animators on the planet – we just don’t let them leave. They do their stuff and knock your socks off.
  4. Music, sound design, mix. Get your beats on and wrap it all up. This part really does bring everything together.
  5. Publish your explainer film and wait for the awards to start rolling in. OK about this stage you’re already filling out the purchase order for your new explainer video.

You can find plenty more examples of social media videos we have made on our work portfolio page.
You might also be interested to view our latest showreel if you dare.  After all that, if you still think we’re OK then please do get in contact to say hello.