The process for producing an effective explainer video

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The number one question we hear from clients is “how much does an explainer video cost?” For our purposes here, we’re talking about a 60-second animated explainer video, which is typically the most popular offering. As you’d probably expect, you can find a wide range of prices out there, anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000. The amount charged depends on a wide variety of factors, including script writing requirements, style and if you want a voice over.


A lot of people are surprised, even shocked, when they first hear how much an explainer video can cost. But if you don’t understand the amount of time and effort that go in to producing one, it’s hard to wrap your head around just what your money is buying. So here’s a quick run-down of the explainer video production process and what happens at each stage.


A well written script is the foundation of a great video. But it takes time for writers to fully understand your company, product, or service and synthesize it into 150 words. And don’t forget that each video requires a creative direction and storyline, something that can take time for all parties to agree upon.


In most cases, all of the characters and assets in a video are illustrated by hand, scanned into a computer, digitized, colored and so forth. Some illustrators like to do everything digitally with a tablet. During the style stage, the illustrator will create a few variations of characters and assets to show the client.


With a final script and style in place, the illustrator assembles a storyboard. The storyboard is a static scene-by-scene representation of the video in its final, animated form.


Based on the script and storyboard, a professional voice artist will record an audio version of the script. Typically artists provide multiple takes so the sound engineer has options to work with.


The most time consuming and work-intensive part of the process is the animation. At this point, an animator is taking all of the finished assets, like the illustrations and voiceover, and importing them into a piece of software like Adobe After Effects (AE). Once in AE, the animator spends hours assembling the assets and making each movement just right. There’s no “Auto-Animate” button…yet.


Last but not least, a sound engineer mixes the sound together, including the music, voiceover, and sound effects. Nothing ruins a video like poor sound quality, so never underestimate the importance of a professionally mixed voiceover, music track, and sound effects.

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