Animation, Video, and the Power of Visual Explanation | Lee Lefever

What makes a strong explainer video? The sort that will get your level throughout quick, with out confusion, and equips the viewers with all they should know.

There are lots of parts that go into an excellent explainer video. Lee Lefever, Co-Founding father of Frequent Craft, breaks them down on this episode of The Visible Lounge.

Frequent Craft excels in creating easy animated movies to clarify ideas appropriate to be used in on-line displays, programs, school rooms, and extra. With a refreshingly easy animation type, Frequent Craft’s movies focus completely on the viewers and the content material whereas additionally telling a narrative in a novel manner.

In addition to being the Co-Founding father of Frequent Craft, Lee can be the writer of two books – ‘Large Sufficient’ and ‘The Artwork of Rationalization.’ He’s labored with shoppers akin to Google, Intel, Lego, Microsoft, and extra.

This episode covers plenty of floor on every thing it’s worthwhile to know to craft a profitable explainer video. You’ll hear why all of it begins with the viewers, why holding it easy is normally greatest, and the best way to inform a terrific story.

You’ll be able to watch the video on this subject on the prime of this put up, to take heed to the podcast episode, hit play under, or learn on for extra…

What makes an excellent explainer video?

Anybody can put collectively a video to clarify one thing, however a very nice explainer video has a couple of widespread components.

As Lee explains, a very powerful factor is that movies ought to give attention to the viewers. Explainer movies are designed to switch data to an viewers within the hope that they’ll retain it. So, it must be tailor-made to that viewers. Explanations don’t work in a vacuum. It’s all about context.

“If I walked right into a convention filled with physics PhDs, who have been doing displays about physics, I would suppose, oh god, these explanations are horrible. I don’t perceive any of this. However the fact is, it’s simply not for me.”

So, step one is to think about what the viewers is aware of and what they’ll perceive. Your language and the way you clarify issues ought to sound acquainted to your viewers.

The following factor that Lee mentions is that explainer movies have to set clear expectations. A typical entice individuals fall into is worrying that they’ll sound condescending. However Lee thinks this may be mitigated should you set an expectation in the beginning.

“I’m simply going to take a few minutes and speak about this from a quite simple standpoint in order that we will all begin on the identical web page.”

The third factor Lee talks about is context. If we all know a topic very well, we generally assume the viewers has the identical expertise and information. That is generally referred to as “the curse of data,” and it will possibly make it actually troublesome to show somebody one thing.

Nevertheless it’s vital to not fall into the behavior of speaking about ideas or terminology that the viewers received’t perceive.

“Typically taking a step again, speaking concerning the large image on this planet the place this concept lives might be actually highly effective.”

Getting acquainted with an unfamiliar viewers

So, if familiarity is essential, what in case your viewers is completely unfamiliar?

If you happen to’re ever pulled in to create an explainer video for an exterior firm, chances are you’ll not know your viewers properly in any respect. This could be a little bit of a roadblock, however Lee has some tips about what you are able to do about it.

He says that the simplest manner round it’s to speak to individuals in that viewers. Attempt writing a primary script that features the language you suppose the viewers will use and get somebody to have a look over it. Ask them what they suppose sounds acquainted or bizarre to them and tweak it.

If the corporate has current explainer movies, have a look on YouTube and familiarize your self with the viewers’s language.

What to incorporate in your movies

Your personal video type could also be private to you, your model, and your viewers, however take a leaf out of Frequent Craft’s guide. In keeping with Lee, all Frequent Craft movies are made in the identical manner.

They began out with bodily paper cut-outs, cease movement animation on a whiteboard, and it was that manner for a few years. Finally, the instruments modified, and so did the method. Every thing turned digital and created by software program as an alternative to make it extra environment friendly.

Nevertheless, it’s the identical clarification type, voiceover, art work that you simply see of their movies in the present day.

Consistency like that permits you to give attention to the content material and the message relatively than the type or the branding. One in all Frequent Craft’s objectives is to make issues comprehensible for a common viewers, and so it’s simpler to stay to a easy type you should utilize for various situations.

One factor that Lee emphasizes is that explainer movies must be very “low noise.” Which means nothing is on the display that doesn’t must be there. There’s not a lot distracting animation, eye-catching graphics, or brilliant colours to distract you.  

The good thing about this low noise strategy to visuals is that it helps to scale back cognitive load. With fewer issues to focus on and get distracted by, the message behind the video is less complicated to soak up.

“The big goal for us is to make something understandable for a general audience.” - Lee Lefever

Deciding what goes right into a video

It’s really easy to get carried away and embrace a number of various things in your movies. However usually, this finally ends up as a long-winded video that might have been two minutes lengthy as an alternative.

At Frequent Craft, they prefer to maintain issues brief and candy, beginning with the script. Lee goals to have a script that’s simply 450 phrases or so, which interprets to 2 or three minutes.

Throughout the script, he tries to establish two or three key factors that he needs the viewers to recollect as soon as the video’s over. This helps to get across the ‘curse of data’ drawback that plenty of explainer movies endure from.

When you already know the topic properly, it’s at all times powerful to try to train it to others who don’t know what you already know. However holding your movies brief, structured, and easy, you’ll be able to keep on job.

The function of storytelling

Too usually, individuals overemphasize what storytelling is within the explainer/tutorial video world. It doesn’t need to imply a protracted sweeping narrative or a Hero’s Journey-type epic.

Lee likes to consider it in a less complicated manner. He says that the second a human is in a state of affairs, it turns into a narrative. You’re watching this human change and expertise one thing.

“The fundamental construction is principally, meet Bob. Bob has an issue. Bob feels unhealthy. Oh, look, Bob discovered an answer. Bob feels nice. Don’t you need to really feel like Bob? In order that’s actually the construction of it. It’s simply exhibiting an individual making an attempt to resolve an issue and discovering what the answer to that drawback is.”

Typically that answer is a product, generally it’s an concept or a method, or generally it’s an enormous image factor. Taking Lee’s instance, there’s no have to know way more about Bob than that. You don’t have to learn about his childhood or his favourite colour. All it’s worthwhile to know is he’s an individual.

What it’s worthwhile to make an excellent explainer video

We’ve talked just a little bit concerning the content material, however what about behind-the-scenes? Lee says that enthusiasm from whoever is creating the video or doing the voiceover is essential. It’s “infectious,” which can assist to inform the story.

One other advice from Lee is to speak slower than you’d like. It is a widespread drawback for these new to creating movies. They usually discuss manner too quick and attempt to get the data out too rapidly.

Lee says that it’s worthwhile to clearly enunciate, communicate with enthusiasm, and likewise discuss slowly. Whereas it could really feel bizarre to you, you’re not the viewers.

“What sounds weird to you sounds natural to the audience a lot of times.” - Lee Lefever

Don’t confuse advertising with explaining

Lee’s closing phrases of knowledge are a reminder to not confuse advertising with explaining. A typical factor that companies do is that they’ll create an explainer video which is only a advertising tactic in disguise.

“Typically they name issues an explainer when actually it’s actually simply an commercial.”

It’s comprehensible that companies need to promote their merchandise, however Lee says try to be cautious concerning the tone and intent of the video. Typically a video that has a powerful advertising message doesn’t sit proper with the viewer.

“You’re promoting to me, like I assumed this was going to be one thing that I used to be going to study from, and clearly, you simply really need me to purchase one thing.”

To listen to extra knowledge from Lee, you’ll be able to watch or take heed to the total episode on the prime of the web page. Or, for extra recommendations on creating explainer or tutorial movies, head over to TechSmith Academy for extra episodes and assets like this.

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