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Mixed media explainer video example

What is a mixed media explainer video

A mixed media explainer video is based on stock footage video clips combined with your application’s screencasts or existing graphics, plus animated icons and captions, all narrated by voiceover.

Animated icons or captions are used to highlight key messages. Doing this adds to the seamless flow of images, and an engaging experience for the viewer.

There's a mixed media explainer video example at the top of this blog.

What makes mixed media different to other explainer videos

Mixed media explainer video primarily uses video clips to tell the message, rather than animated cartoons, which are the mainstay of most explainer videos.

Using stock video clips to show people, places and activities makes the overall video more real
- and capable of showing the human & emotional impact of your technology or app.

Combined with screencasts of the actual package, the message is related in a real world way that isn’t dependent on cartoons.

Adding infographics, icons and captions as animation serves to add further visual interest to engage the viewer

- as well as highlight key messages they’ll need to remember.

In a marketplace that’s flooded with low end, me-too cartoons, mixed media explainer video offers a viable video marketing alternative to promote your app or solution.

Infographics, icons and captions with mixed media

Mixed media explainer video -

The Pros

1: The suitability of film: Filmed footage readily lends itself to portraying an engaging message. Film has been around over a century.

2: Lower cost: When you don’t have the budget to develop an original-looking, animated explainer video, mixed media video may offer an alternative to a big design spend.

Use existing vidsual assets
Showing emotion in mixed media

3: Adaptability: In the hands of a good video editor, any type of image can be blended with any other type of image, which offers you great visual flexibility. You’re not locked into any single style,

eg, your existing visual assets such as screenshots or screencasts of your package can be incorporated into a mixed media video, as can existing graphic design or motion graphics, or even a clip from that whiteboard animation or 3D explainer video you produced last year.

4: Emotion: Stock footage clips show emotion. You can harness this emotion power. Show happy users, or users facing a problem, or users collectively working out a problem using your app, and other images people will spontaneously relate to.

5: Intelligence: Film stock can show people’s faces registering thought, or groups of people making decisions, and other intelligence-driven processes. By comparison, an animated explainer often makes characters look a bit dopey.

6: Places: If you need to show a place, such as a downtown cityscape, or a solar panel field, or a transport network, stock footage can do it. There's a lot of stock to choose from.

7: Activities: People like to watch other people doing relevant activities, whether work or social. Stock footage covers many of these human activities from making mobile call, to sitting at a desk viewing data, to engineers or constructors at work on a site. Whatever you can imagine there’s probably stock footage available to show it.

8: Human storytelling: Mixed media can tell an appealing story with more richness and depth than is usually found in an equivalent budget animated explainer video. You’ll need a good script to tell a people-relating story, but it can be quite easily done.

9: Differentiator: Mixed media will stand out as different if many of your competitors are using 2d animation, like cartoon animation or other animation video styles.

10: Vertical markets: If your video is targeting a vertical market, you can show footage from that market.

11: Realness: Sometimes you just want stuff to look real.

12: Originality: Stock footage selected from a good stock library can give your video an original look & feel.

Vertical market stock footage

13: Social media: Mixed media is great for social media video as it projects mood and feeling. You might need to re-edit your video to make a social media version.

14: Foreign languages: To reach international markets with your mixed media video, scripts will need translating to another language, and a suitable foreignspeak voiceover sourced.

15: Brand: Your exact brand typography can be used for captions, so brand awareness & consistency are sustained.

Brand awareness with mixed media

The cons

16: Needs outsourcing: It takes a good video designer and editor to make all the different mixed type of images flow seamlessly, and not look like a barrage of unrelated pictures, or other clunky sequence.

This skillset probably needs outsourcing, which is a cost.

Only the simplest mixed media videos are within the skillsets normally found in-house. And the chances are, even if you have a good in-house video editor, there’ll be a 3-6 month waiting list.

17: Higher cost: Some stock footage sites are relatively expensive to use.

There are free stock sites available, complete with AI explainer video software, such as Lumen5 but they can be very me-too, or restrictive in their choices of footage available.

You have to shop around carefully, as costs multiply quickly once you need a number of clips.

18: Restrictions: There may be restrictions on some stock footage use, which may increase the price. You need to check this.

19: Brand clash: Mixed media may not always suit your brand style.

20: Too much compromise: Stock footage is limited compared to going out and filming live action video exactly what you need. You may find some compromises unacceptable.

Complex ideas with mixed media

21: Complex ideas: Mixed media video is less suitable for explaining a complex idea.

22: Public domain stock: Many marketers turn to public domain stock footage as a cheap solution. Unfortunately so does every other company in the world that's strapped for cash. The business viewing public gets to see the same tired clips over and over again. Good footage has to be paid for.

What to consider when creating a mixed media explainer video

The rules of video marketing start with closely considering your potential customer, specifically the target audience for your video.

For example if your solution is aimed at:

- Agri-business it should show fields of crops, combine harvesters, silos and similar

- Wall St Brokers it should show skyscrapers, smart execs, busy traders in front of many screens and similar

- Big Pharma it should show industrial scale pill production, laboratories, technicians in white coats and similar

- Site engineers it should show a comparable plant or site, or engineer travelling between sites, or hotdesking with a laptop.

Capture the look and feel of your marketplace with mixed media

Use stock footage video clips to capture the look & feel of your marketplace with images your target audience will relate to.

You’ll need good captioning skills to highlight key messages so they’re quick to grasp and delightful to look at.

If you want to show screenshots of your package, you’ll need to ensure the data onscreen is meaningful to your audience, and not merely an incomprehensible screed flashing by at high speed.

It’s also quite acceptable to show full screen animated icons to make a break from showing video footage. After all, it is mixed media.

5 Mixed media production tips

1 - Script: Getting an explainer video script right is as crucial to mixed media video as any other form of video.

If your script content isn’t structured to engage and win your target audience, your marketing video will likely underperform.

2 - Storyboard: Always develop a storyboard document. This doc shows each required image or video clip adjacent to its supporting line of script. Use thumbnails of your clips or images so you can see your video content at a glance.

3 - The 3 second rule: As a rule of thumb, if a video clip stays on screen for more than 3 seconds there’s a danger the viewer will become bored and abandon, or the video magic otherwise lose its spell. There are many exceptions to this but 3 seconds is a good starting point, especially with fickle youtube or TikTok audiences.

4 - Use hires graphics: When you use graphics or artwork in your video, you’ll need 1920 pixel resolution as a minimum. Ditto for any screencast video material you may wish to incorporate in your video. Lower resolutions make your video look bitty & amateur.

5 - Social media versions: Allow time & budget for square or 9:16 vertical formats suitable for different mobile devices or different social media platforms like facebook, instagram, twitter or youtube, especially if these feature strongly in your digital marketing plans.

Consider caption-only versions for twitter, especially if your product is aimed at fintech.

Mixed media - caption only version
Brand awareness with mixed media

What budget do you need?

Generally a mixed media explainer video will cost around the same as a low cost animated character explainer video, ie, under £1,000 per 60 seconds.

Using public domain footage and a low cost freelance editor can reduce this cost even further.

Planning a mixed media video budget

You first need to consider your marketing strategy, the overall picture of how many videos you really need to go forward with your marketing plan.

Few companies end up with just one video although everyone starts with just one.

In all likelihood you’ll need a series of videos, such as an overall top-of-page short intro video to your proposition & benefits, something like a movie trailer.

You’ll probably also need an in-depth explainer or demo video which might be a mixed media video with screencast shots to highlight key features.

This second video is particularly important to SAAS vendors as the whole subscription process is automated, with no person-to-person exploratory meetings to answer common questions, which is more typical of enterprise-scale platform sales.

For SAAS vendors every question has to be answered, so a second, third or fourth videos may become necessary to cover all the doubts or queries a subscriber may have before they summon up the confidence to buy from you.

Some or all of these videos are very suited to the mixed media video style as the costs are generally lower than full-on animation.

Say you need 3 mixed media videos over the next 3-6 months, with a total runtime of 5 minutes.

Allowing up £900 to £1,000 per runtime minute for quality video

- you should allow £4,500 to £5,000 overall, spread over 1 or 2 quarters

- or an average of £750 to £1,600 per month, depending on how you want to spread your time and budget.

This is often the more realistic picture.

In depth explainer with mixed media

Should you outsource to a freelancer?

Yes - if you’re confident you can write the exact right script unaided.

No - if you feel you need the comprehensive service a video production company specialising in mixed media video provides.

How is a mixed media video produced?

The creative process - explainer video

Whether you outsource in part to a freelancer, or in whole to a video production services company
- you need to follow the above process

- which ensures you approve the content at each stage of the production.

A failure to follow this process or a very similar process may well lead to mistakes slipping through
- which will delay delivery

- and possibly add extra costs as major revisions, such as voice changes (and their costs), or adding-in new scenes, or deleting or replacing existing scenes.

The above production process also ensures you remain in control of what’s happening to your project, because you understand and approve at every stage.

Is it worth the trouble?

Trouble means money, effort and time.

The extra sales you might not otherwise have won are always worth it if the video cost is reasonable and ROI is satisfied.

In terms of effort, making any video will keep you busy no matter who makes it, so you need to allow time in your schedule.

If you're planning on a series of videos, then scheduling becomes a critical activity.

Allow extra time to cover your approval stages. It’s not good enough to, for example “hmmm .... I’m busy today ... the script looks about right. I’ll approve it,”

The script has to look dead right today, and you need to allocate the time to ensure it is.

Is mixed media worth the trouble?


For the marketer, mixed media video is cheaper than many animated explainer video styles. It's a relatively low cost video marketing solution compared to custom animation.

It puts real people, places and activities up front and centre.

It's inherently flexible so you can include video clips, screenshots, existing graphic art, captions, and set it all to voiceover.

Media media video can differentiate you from competitors.

It’s more expensive than the lowest cost video options, unless you’re sticking to public domain stock footage.

You probably can’t make it in-house.

It doesn’t suit all brand styles.

Overall, a mixed media explainer video presents a welcome alternative to sea of animation, for a reasonable cost.


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