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Why Use Animation: Beyond The Basics

You’ve already heard it all when it comes to using animation for a project... “You don’t need a shoot!” “We can work on this remotely!” “You can create anything you want!” “You can get your message out there!” And these are all certainly benefits and really good points, especially right now. But I’m really going to get into why your upcoming project may be better suited for animation. When you start thinking about your video - you might think interviewing some experts will get your message out there. Or filming your product or facility in a flashy, high-end way is the only way to go. And you’re pretty sure there’s no way of doing it other than filming. And no one is here to say filming is a bad way to go for some projects. It works a lot of the time!  But there are true transformative properties that occur to your video when animation is used. Something really magical happening. Now, you’re thinking about Disney and Mickey Mouse, maybe Fantasia. But the sort of magic I’m talking about is the underlying effect animation and motion graphics have on a viewer. Just seeing it used in a creative, clean and effective way can stimulate the minds of your audience and really resonate your message by subtly illustrating things into the subconscious. And our subconscious is the part of our mind that is in there secretly influencing our actions and feelings. Your top purpose when needing a video is because you want a person to feel a certain way when watching and, perhaps most importantly, do a certain something after seeing it. So, I want to get into two quick excuses to make a video-only project and turn them into examples of how animation can be used to enhance the message and encourage viewers to take that next step...  

"Interviewing experts will get my message out there"

This is certainly true. Sometimes, we need to see a key figure delivering powerful and meaningful statements not only to drive the story, but also to give information. But what we often don’t think about is how sometimes a “talking head"-style video can get repetitive and the b-roll seems to be, well, exactly what they are talking about. We are basically getting two doses of the same information. When animation is supported through a voice over or interview audio - it opens up the possibility to illustrate the message and give some added value to the expert voice. Let's say we are working on a piece for a specific college (something we do quite often), and the passionate interviewee gets into how there are some bright individuals who are showing academic promise, and if they get on the right path, they can blossom. Now - if this section is handled with traditional b-roll, we might see a cinematic shot of a student walking in slow motion toward the campus - which is fine and certainly inspirational! But what can’t be shown in video footage is that initial feeling of leaving your hometown, choosing between the right college and the emotion you feel when you finally know.  Here, we can use animation to illustrate the subconscious and have a student confidently walking from their home and seeing two paths. They choose the path toward the campus and the scene blossoms with flowers and sunshine. Much more impactful, right? And on the creative side, we see the brand colors and assets. Animation is a great tool to help reinforce your brand - which is crucial and important because (here's where that whole subconscious thing comes in again) it makes a memorable impression on your viewer, helps distinguish you from your competitors and also helps clarify your values and message. Sometimes this is as simple as the color of the graphics or style of the animation. In some cases, it helped provide specific character to the video. A video shot of a student walking toward a campus can certainly be any student at any campus. But talented graphic designers, illustrators and animators can create that scene - and more! From iconic education buildings, hundreds of students, beautiful firework displays - all in the same shot and all showing how that affects not just the community, but the entire region. Think about how difficult this type of video shot would be to coordinate! But how unique was this message to illustrate instead of just hearing someone say it. Sometimes it's the ideas of the message that can come to life through animation.  

"Filming my product, facility or story is the only way to go"

And in many ways - we couldn’t agree more. We have some of the best equipment and most talented shooters around. And we make sure the video quality matches the quality of your product or demonstrates the richness of your story. Trust us, we love video shoots. 

Adding Animation to Pre-Existing B-Roll

But maybe you already have some great video clips or photos you want to use. (And if you aren’t repurposing footage from previous projects - you are not getting the most out of your content. But that is a whole different blog...) Maybe there are some shots that weren’t used or were cut short. Or maybe what was seen wasn’t explained as clearly as you would have liked. Maybe the shots are so awesome you have to show them it again. While you are reusing these clips - what helps keep the shots fresh and really get the message across is adding motion graphics to illustrate core concepts and stylize the footage in an eye-catching and engaging way. When the viewer sees the kinetic text and style, these visuals can resonate subconsciously with the viewer as they absorb the content and are already forming a brand awareness of your company. We did this with a video for Ultra Tech Machinery. This automation company had a collection of video clips of their machines and wanted to repurpose the content to use for a trade show. And with trade shows, the room atmosphere is noisy and can be difficult to hear a voice over. So, that was a no-go. But they still needed a way to provide information, identity their brand and attract people to the booth. So, we used high-end motion graphics to highlight their machines, reinforce their messaging and get conversations going. We shot no footage, but the clips looked brand new and served a brand new purpose as well.  Sometimes the footage alone isn’t enough to tell the story or to get the point across. Motion graphics can help enhance the overall video content and can provide information that is difficult to articulate just with b-roll alone. You can see how this approach works for Alpha Technologies and even on the 3D side with GE. Sometimes filming a product itself isn’t enough to showcase the sleekness of the design or reinforce the brand messaging.  

The Logistics Are Too Complicated for a Shoot

There’s also the logistic side of production that might be difficult to coordinate. For instance, a project we worked on with Akron-Canton Airport - they wanted short social videos to promote how you are just one-stop away from beautiful destinations like Punta Cana, London and more. Instead of traveling to these locations, which would have been a little complicated to say the least, there are countless gorgeous stock images available to show these areas. And - coupled with engaging and stunning text - is a really good substitute to make the viewer feel like they are on the beach but also feel how easy of travel this would be. (Yes, these videos are just animation. Really.) 

Making It Easy to Understand and Approachable

That’s the purpose of animation - to simplify concepts and bring ideas to life. Like this video we did with DRB for their Uptime Solutions brand. Something as complex as car wash equipment and monitoring services can certainly sound complex and machine-y. But they wanted to reenforce their simple. friendly and responsive approach. This was better handled through simple animation vs. filming car wash troubleshooting and customer service. And their brand was represented through the style of animation - so the viewer easily understood the attitude of the company and also what distinguishes them from the competitors.   

But Animation Doesn't Have to be Simple

But not all animation and motion graphics need to be simple! Especially with some tremendous imagination and some ideas that cannot be articulated through filming alone. This is where animation can really shine and, in the most simple way, subconsciously make people feel in awe or wonder. In our sports projects, we are able to transform a desolate desert scene into an ice rink with the energy and impact that matches. We are able to burst flames behind basketball players right as those lyrics of the song hits. And, on the side of wonder, we are able to put Santa relaxing on a chimney enjoying a cookie and some milk. These ideas cannot be done without imagination - and they cannot be done without animation. On the surface, it's easy to see what animation is and how it’s helpful. But it’s more important to realize why animation is effective underneath it all and why it can lead to greater results when it comes to a viewer taking action or feeling an emotion. Because animation really can be a little bit of magic!   

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