Using Flash instead of Video – 2

Q: We’re interested in creating a short animated flash or video presentation to introduce an overview of our IT product:

overview
benefits
features

2-3 minutes long with voice over

Director of Marketing
Maryland USA

A: contd/…

Producing a flash with lots of animation and voiceover and images is similar to producing a video. A lot of time has to be spent scripting and storyboarding the production, requiring anything up to three meetings.

This time is well spent, as the script has to be flawless, immaculate and riveting.

The danger with most scripts is saying too much. This applies to video as much as flash, but I think with flash it counts even more as audiences are less patient with flash. It’s perceived as a “web thing” and the expectation is for “instant gratification”, rather than “considered viewing”.

A flash storyboard only needs to be very simple stickmen sketches. It’s certainly possible to produce a detailed storyboard, where everything is drawn in advance, but this costs money and will push the price of the project up – unnecessarily, in my opinion.

A “stickmen” storyboard with all the captions and voiceover script mapped out in detail, plus accompanying notes to describe what’s going to happen, should be sufficient.

This storyboard is very important as all the key executives in a company have to buy-in to it, and approve it. Why is this? Well apart from the obvious reason that it essential for plans to be approved prior to production, any mistakes made in flash can be expensive to correct.

For example, take a animation comprising, say, 5 scenes.

If one screen requires a major redraw, then potentially the budget is out by 20%, which is unacceptably high. Or if it’s later found that actually a 6th screen is required, then likewise this can affect budget by 20% or may be more.

By comparison, a few additional video edits in a video production might only cost 2-3%.

So with flash it’s important to get the planning right, as planning errors can prove expensive.

Other things to check on prior to actual studio production is that all the key images, such as logos, livery, corporate style, and other particulars of a company, are all agreed and supplied in advance. For example it’s no use coming in at the end of the project and saying to the flash animator “our vans are Citroens, not Fords – like you’ve drawn” and expecting the animator to smile.

Once everything is agreed and approved, the style of the work is very much down to the flash animator or designer.

Some clients expect day-by-day rushes to be uploaded so they can view work in progress.

This is unrealistic.

And it’s nerve wracking for the designer who feels that someone is constantly looking over their shoulder, constantly adding suggestions while they’re trying to get on with the next scene, picking on little details while the designer is trying develop an overall visually stunning entity – a masterpiece.

This is where the client has to trust the designer to do the job as specified, and to do it in their own style. This trust comes from seeing examples of the designer’s work first and liking the style enough to have the confidence to let the designer do the job.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible to request day-by-day rushes. But the result will be changes made on the way, and these will need paying for. So expect to pay more for the extra changes you request.

Once the animation is produced and agreed it should be a beautiful thing, something that delivers all the business needs, and is eye catching, exciting and compelling, that you can play almost anywhere.

So next time you need a video, don’t be shy of thinking about web animation. It may be just what your clients are looking for.

 

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