Moving image is a perfect way to tell a story.
It lets you communicate a message in an engaging, lively way. It lets you explain the complex step by step, over time, so you break it down to become simple. And because movement itself can express an emotion, it lets you convey how you want people to feel about what you do or offer.
So that’s what I do. I help clients tell stories – about why their product, service or business is great and what customer can do with it; about what their vision or philosophy is; about what their song means – or could mean. And sometimes I just tell stories. Because we all need them!
How I work…
I make motion graphics, animations and videos. The process for every project varies, depending on what’s needed.
This is broadly how it breaks down:
1. What is it? Where is it going? What does it look like?
The first step is obviously to establish what we’re making. What’s it’s purpose and crucially, how do we want people to feel? I say that because (as I’ve mentioned above) motion is fantastic for conveying emotion.
Where’s it going? If it’s going to end up on a TV screen, it needs to be landscape format. But if it’s going to appear on lots of social channels, the most catch-all dimension is square. If it’s going to appear in multiple locations, it needs to be designed for coherent reformatting. We also need to think about duration and file size. At the time I’m writing this, ads for social channels are best kept under 20 seconds, for instance.
And then there’s the look. Is there any existing collateral, or are we starting from scratch?
2. What's in it?
Product demo pieces tend to be fairly tightly briefed because clients generally know exactly what they want to show.
Often though, the brief can be a broad as “we want an animation to get people excited about us” or “I want a video to promote my song” or “wouldn’t it be cool to have motion on our 404 page”.
That’s when the brainstorming and the scribbling comes in. I ask lots of questions, try to extract as much information as possible and get a general sense of what the client is excited about.
There are also times when I can see where moving image could add a lovely dimension to an existing project and will suggest the idea and the specific concept to a client.
3. Let's get specific
Once we have concepts in place, I typically storyboard how things will work – either as a series of static screens or as a rudimentary animation. This moves us on to sign off on the fundamental approach so that everything can be worked up in detail.
For projects with a really loose brief – and where I’ve got client go ahead to do this – I tend to just run with it until there’s enough to show exactly what I’m thinking. It’s a balancing act. Any type of moving image work takes a long time (apart from anything else, there’s the time spent watching and replaying, pinpointing where things aren’t quite right). Obviously you don’t want to waste time by going too far in the wrong direction so I’d rather people see things as early as possible. Equally, imperfections, gaps and glitches tend to stand out like a sore thumb.
4. Perfect, perfect, perfect
Watch, tweak, repeat. Often there’s Googling and tutorial-watching because there’s always more to learn, better ways to do things, and ideas I’m trying to get to work. (I don’t charge for learning time by the way).
5. Let it fly
Once everything’s fully signed off, the final step is to output at whatever dimensions are needed.
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