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Comparing the costs of budget and custom animated safety video

Don't know the how and why of safety video cost differences?

Learn to buy smart, get more and pay less.

One of the PLAIN ANSWERS series by Producer Kevin Rossiter

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Comparing the costs of budget and custom animated safety video



We'll look first at budget safety animation. Budget safety animation is built from prefabricated animated modules, which your animation studio will help you select from a library of good but limited choices.

So for example, if a workforce character is needed to walk across the front of a work scene, then a plug-and-play workforce character module can be used.

It's generic, but it can be customized to your brand's style, and other features such as the degree of control over the look and type of the character, their age, their gender, their ethnicity, their movements, or what they wear, and their expressions.
You get a lot.

This approach is obviously a big cost-saver.

It's still generic, and the background work scenes and tools are generic, too.

Budget safety animation won't show complex or specific work-related actions.

For example, it won't show how to foot a ladder while a colleague correctly ascends the ladder, maintaining three points of contact at all times then safely removing tools from their belts, to installing, say, a roofing safety system.

The same problem occurs with most permit-based activities, such as hot work or asbestos in wall layers, and things like that.

But there are workarounds, which I'll come to in a moment.



Custom animated safety characters, workplaces, and tools are originated from scratch.
I.e, the character is first drawn, then rigged for animation, then animated in a custom way so the character can perform the specific actions you need to show.

These actions might include

  • handling equipment correctly, like an angle grinder
  • simulating a specific incident such as a struck-by or falling incident
  • show multiple locks to demo isolation procedures
  • showing special types of moving vehicles, their particular hazards and controls

Whatever is specific to your site and workforce can be custom-drawn, but it comes at a substantially higher price.

Need a price?

See our Safety prices page for actual project costs of our best-selling video products.

Why guess? See what we charge.


Budget animation uses template characters, workwear, expressions with standard motions - together with template workplace scenes, signage, and objects such as basic tools.

Add professional voice-over, caption support, and animated highlights.

The budget style ensures the safety message is clear and unambiguous.

This makes budget animation a lot cheaper than custom animation.

Remember, it's telling your story, showing your safe systems of work, all professionally-scripted and voiced.

This is a big step up from off-the-shelf video, which may be too generalized or inaccurate to be effective.



By comparison, custom safety animation is based on original drawings of whatever is required.

It's exactly what you want to show on your plant or site - your equipment, your hazards and controls, your workforce.

Obviously, custom animation costs a lot more, as it's a lot more time-intensive to produce.

It requires more advanced illustration and animation skills - a higher level.

It's also slower to produce, taking longer to deliver, but it's perfect. It's exactly what you want.


There are halfway house solutions available.

For example, a small amount of custom animation can be added to a budget production.

Let's say that budget modules cover most of your video, except an essential part, showing exactly the right thing, such as
- an excavation with specific barriers and safe access
- or specific types of moving loads with trained competent operators
- or an automated robot area with exclusion zones and related safe behaviours

You have the option to buy in an original custom section.
It'll add more to the overall cost, but it'll still be miles cheaper than originating everything from scratch, and it still won't take so long to produce.

On the other hand, if your budget is really tight, and you still need to show an excavation access, or a specific moving-load hazard, or an automated robot area in close proximity to operatives, include a photograph or an existing video clip.

You've got loads of these.

It'll be 100% accurate and still look good if your animation studio know their business.

Many customers, large and small, go for a 50-50 blend of custom and template to solve their cost problem.


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Okay, now you know the differences between budget and custom safety automation costs.

Back to work.


Author Kevin Rossiter has been producing business video for 30 years, won 14 awards, worked in many countries around the World, and is a regular blogger on business video topics.



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