1) Landing on a Concept/Script

The first draft of the script was quite different than the final product. It included the ‘Prepare The Way’ trainers, man on the street interviews, and footage or photos of various recent disasters.

However… there were some big challenges with that approach.

  • It was January & snowing, making man on the street interviews hard to get.
  • News footage/photos are copyrighted.
  • As an ad for the first training event, there’s not yet footage of the trainers.

With those things in mind, and inspired by other infographic videos, we went the route of a fully animated video that can visualize concepts without having to show real footage. This is where most of the time was spent.

2) Designing the Look/Feel
Once we had a new script, it was time to choose a look/feel/style/design/whatever that the whole video could be in. Fortunately, Kenny Barela had already designed a great logo & key elements. So we had a starting point.

Notice the flat, minimalist design, with circles being a prominent element. The colors are light & non-threatening. Using this look, we set off into the wide world of After Effects & Illustrator. We used a lot of vector images from www.all-silhouettes.com & www.vecteezy.com, while creating many by hand from reference images using After Effects shape layers (which are also vectors).

It’s hard to find an image for everything, though. So mixing in a bit of kinetic typography seemed to really balance it out. I tried to use typography by itself only when necessary. I think it works better when partnered with other images. Too many words with no images, and you might as well just read the script dramatically while listening to music. On the flip side, displaying certain key words along with an image can really pack a punch. Helvetica is the font of choice in the logo, so we used Day Roman as an opposing serif font, because it felt like it could be serious or light hearted, depending on how it is used.

I don’t think there are any colors in the video that aren’t already in the original designs. The first & second half of the video emphasize different colors. This is partially due to Jason’s style (the other animator) & my style being different, but it still works, because we’re pulling from the same color palette; and the mood changes so dramatically half way through that it seemed fitting for the visuals to change with it.

There’s obviously no right or wrong way to design something. It’s very subjective, but there are ways that work better for particular pieces. Plus it’s good to give yourself boundaries to work within, especially when collaborating with others. In this case, limiting ourselves to certain colors & minimal design elements helped keep a consistency & flow across the whole piece.

But I must say – it was a nice challenge to maintain the serious content without making it too cartoony.

3) Choosing the Audio

Jaye Thomas, with his deep, rich voice was my first choice as a voice over, and I really like how it turned out – especially after being mixed & mastered with the other audio.

Musically, all I knew was that it had to have a driving beat with the front being serious & the back being hopeful (like a mullet? No, never like a mullet :) After hours browsing stock music sites, we landed on what you hear. However, my favorite option is to have someone compose unique music for videos. So if you know anyone…

So there’s some of the thought process behind this video.

Have you had any similar experiences?

Maybe animating based on someone else’s design?

If so, how did you solve some of the scripting or design problems?

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