There’s a flood of wibbly-wobbly animated explainer videos invading the market, attacking us from all sides while we’re sitting there in front of our screens, drowning in a sea of soulless bumps & bobs, and accompanying animated squashes & stretches, all meaninglessly flashing by to a voiceover chorus from a person who we’d not especially ever wish to meet.
What I’m trying to say is that we’re all sick to death of poorly made explainer videos with an endless stream of off-the-shelf, stock coloured iconic blobs & voiceover that’s meant to convince me of some new idea or product that will change my life forever, become the holy grail solution to all my problems.
It just doesn’t wash any more, and I’m certainly not convinced.
What’s needed to stand out above this sea of animated corporate elements is some humanity.
In the form of a presenter, someone we can almost touch and feel.
What’s in a Presenter
A presenter is a person hosts your explainer video, standing at the front explaining what’s going on onscreen.
A presenter can be a real person, a human. Or they can be an animated character. They both serve well, as both add personality & nuance to your video, giving it a stronger identity.
And after all, people do buy from people.
Doing a real Presenter
It’s easy enough to use a presenter for your next animated explainer video.
All you need to do is follow these three steps:
1: Pick a presenter you really like from a choice of thousands, in the budget range you want to pay. Your casting agent or video producer can help you here.
2: Film them against a green screen background speaking your script into a wireless microphone. Green screen studio hire is cheap. You just need a camera operator and a teleprompt assistant to help. And a strong script.
3: Dub the presenter over your video, speaking while the action is going on behind, or to the side of them. Motion graphics is state of the art these days, so with a bit of planning you can easily sync your presenter with the animated onscreen action.
There are lots of other things you can do, like have your presenter interact with the animated objects (your products, your performance charts, your ideas), and make them grow large or shrink small, or otherwise engage your audience's attention in an eye-catching way.
What about an animated Presenter
Animated presenters work well too, both in promotional as well as safety and training videos.
What’s needed is:
1: A well designed character with a wide range of movements. Your illustrator can draw one for you, picking the right tone to adopt, whether formal, like CNN news, or casual like someone doing a demo. You can even pick their wardrobe, or their ethnicity.
2: An illustrated storyboard is needed. This is a series of images that make the storybook of your video, showing how the presenter interacts with all the other images & objects in the video.
3: An animator who specialises in people movements and lip sync so your presenter looks lifelike & credible while they’re talking to your audience.
You can see a variety of animated presenters on our website, all bringing dull safety video messages to life.
You’ll also see that some of the examples are actual real people (company directors, managers) who’ve been hand drawn in a realistic fashion, so they look exactly like the people they’re meant to represent.
Small screen devices
We need to mention smartphones and cell phones here, as everyone watches video on a smartphone these days, especially on Facebook and other mobile-focused social media, or video ads when reading news pages.
Your presenter - male or female - comes into their own here, standing out large as life on the small screen, when other detail is lost.
When you compare the impact of a person speaking on a small screen, with the endless iconic wobbles that pass for explainer video in some quarters, you’ll understand why in a second.
A word about video runtime
You might well ask how long your presenter explainer video ought to be?
Well, the longer your video is, the more likely it is that you’ll need a presenter, as a longer video needs some stronger visual engagement, which is exactly what a presenter gives.
So for a one minute teaser video, you might not need a presenter. But for a 3 minute mini-epic you probably will, if you don't want your audience to fall off a cliff while dozing off.
Use a real or animated person to tell your story, without forgoing the advantages of animated graphics & icons that come with every explainer video.
If your explainer video is 2 minutes long or more, you’ll need a presenter to sustain your audience interest.
Choose from a real person, or an animated person. Both work.
Illustrated storyboards from your video production company will enable you to see clearly what’s intended, before you commit to expensive studio time to make your movie.
Plan for viewing on small screen devices where everything seen has to be big and obvious. It’s no longer just about desktops.
Well, do animated explainer videos beg for a presenter? You tell me.