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How to make a good explanatory videoHow to make a good explanatory video

How to make a good explanatory video

Nowadays, in the IT industry, it's almost impossible to put a new product on the market without a good explanatory video. If you are a graphic designer, who is responsible for creating explanatory video, this article will guide you through the process of this advertising method in order to properly present a new product in an original, ingenious, funny or serious way.

There are three points in time during the lifecycle of a product where such marketing video can be created:

  • Before creating a new product - to get funding or first potential customer’s feedback. In this case explanatory video is actually a MVP of your future product.
  • Along with creating a new product
  • After creating a new product

In most cases, the video is produced after a new product has been created.

Preparation

First of all, you need to choose one or more applications/tools for making your video. In our case we decided to use several Adobe CC applications:

  • Adobe Premiere for the final video editing and production
  • Adobe After Effect for animation
  • Adobe Illustrator for drawing of elements we will animate later on

After you have chosen a proper set of tools, you need to make further preparations before you can start editing video in Adobe Premiere:

  1. Define the duration of the video
  2. Choose the video type
  3. Define the advantages of the product and disadvantages of similar products on the market
  4. Write the screenplay
  5. Prepare all elements: buy existing or make your own video clips, photos and music, draw and animate video segments - for an animated video.
  6. Add sound effects
  7. Edit video: Put elements together, make corrections, add special effects, etc.

Duration

At the very beginning, it is very important to define approximately how long your explainer video will last. Some research shows that explanatory videos shouldn't be longer than 90 seconds. After 90 seconds, viewers start to get bored, and in most cases, they turn the video off. Optimal duration is around 60 to 80 seconds. In our case, the video lasts 75 seconds. In this time interval, you have more than enough room to present your product in the right way - if you have organized your information and material correctly.

Video type

There are several ways to present your product through different video types:

  • Live Action video: Non-animated video with actors.
  • Animated video: Today, this is the most popular way to present your product.
  • Whiteboard video: You create a video by drawing and erasing content on the whiteboard.
  • Kickstarter video: This type of video tends to be longer because it not only presents the product but also the team behind it and some company’s core values.
  • Combination of two or three types

For our product, we made two versions, the live action video (non-animated video clips, without sound effect, only background music with visual effects on textual contents) and the animated version with sketched drawings. In the animated version, we added some sound effects to emphasize key video parts. Although the live action video is as powerful as an animated video, we decided to continue with the animated version, because it gave us many ways to express our ideas with unique promotion material.

Market research

Conducting a market research and outlining user’s pain points and your product’s advantages over competitors’ products is a very important step in the video production. In most cases, at the very beginning of your video, you should point out the disadvantages of competitor's products or nonexistence of appropriate solutions for user’s problems.

Best practice in video production is to show pain points in the first 20 or 30 seconds, and after that present the benefits your product is offering. While researching always keep in mind how to trigger emotional reactions in potential clients. Emotions like pain, frustration, relief or happiness are very important triggers in advertising products. If you succeed in this task, your marketing campaign will have direct and very positive impact on your sales performance.

Screenplay

After you have set the target duration of the video, chosen the type, and collected all crucial information about user pain and your product’s key points, you are ready to start writing a screenplay.

If you don't know the exact time interval for each video segment, don't be bothered. In most cases, you are going to have modifications on your segments while making the video anyway. A good practice is to write down and sketch a plan on something which every team member can see all the time - like whiteboard. In the image below, you can see a plan that helped us writing our screenplay.

Screenplay on the whiteboard

While writing the screenplay you need to think about implementing a proper viewer's journey:

  1. Show pain points (What is bothering your potential clients with similar products or are there no solutions yet?)
  2. Outline the solutions your product offers.
  3. Call for action

Be careful about using textual content. You can achieve great results if you use simple language with short and clear sentences.

Element preparation

After the screenplay is finished, you have to prepare all the materials that you want to integrate in your explanatory video. You can buy video clips or hire actors to create your own. If you want to create abstract video clips, you need to use additional applications (which we mentioned earlier) to express your ideas. The image below is one video sequence from our explanatory video.

Example video sequence

As you can see there are several elements in this sequence:

  1. The title "Search" has been created with the specific font.
  2. The magnifier was drawn and animated by moving it back and forth through the title. The magnified letters got a different font.
  3. List of search results - combination of basic graphic elements and chosen font. They pop up one by one while the magnifier moves back and forth.

Video editing

For video editing we use Adobe Premiere Pro CC. This application offers many options for visual and audio manipulation, such as:

  • Basic editing of visual elements (crop, cut, slip, ripple, etc.)
  • Advanced editing (e.g. color corrections)
  • Add background music and manipulate its intensity
  • Add special effects

Application startup interface is the same as a startup in other Adobe CC applications. Workspace is user-friendly and easy to learn. It is divided into four basic parts:

  • Source monitor (with effect and sound control)
  • Project panel
  • Program monitor
  • Playhead (with tools and timeline)

In the image below you can see Adobe Premiere Pro CC interface.

Adobe Premiere Pro screenshot

Special effects

Using special effects, you can emphasize some parts of your video. The effects can be visual (applied on the video) or sound (applied on background music). The best practice is to use a maximum of 5 effects (visual and sound) for transitions between two video sequences or emphasize some parts (with sound effects like pop up sound, or visual effect like a glitch, etc.). For our video, we used a simple cut transition between different sequences and sound effects for emphasizing elements when they popped up, moved or crashed.

Be aware that using a lot more effects, in most cases, can look like a big mess of music, sounds, and videos.

Conclusion

Creating a great product requires a huge amount of creative energy, considerable financial investment and lots of time. In order to market the product properly, your job as a graphic designer is to make promotion material that puts your product ahead of competitive products on the market.

If you have any further questions or comments, please contact us.