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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Production Costs For Animated Video
11/18/2012 at 1:53 PM ET
I am responsible for marketing for a small company that sells equipment into a B2B industrial marketplace. We want to prepare a short (90 sec?) video, with some animation (of characters, not the equipment) to tell the story of a new product we offer. We want something more engaging than a straight features-and-benefits product video. First, I'll need some help with story refinement/creative for something like this, and then I need the video/animation skills. I have no idea how much to expect such an effort would cost. Second, am I likely to end up with a mess by relying on student help to keep costs down, or am I likely to get a fresh, motivated help? Third, how do I find and qualify talent for a project like this that we have never done before? Finally, am I nuts to be considering such a project with a small company marketing budget?
11/18/2012 at 4:23 PM
There's an age-old saying that goes something like this: When ya pays peanuts, all ya get is monkies!"
My suggestion is to either do it right or not at all...and "right" usually costs a bundle.
You might also want to ask yourself how many people are gonna see the finished product. I once worked for a company that sent $260,000 on producing a commercial but ended up with no money to buy time to show it.
The frank and honest answer to your final question is Yes, I'm sorry to say.
11/18/2012 at 5:48 PM
Firstly you could post this on the "Post a Project" in the Hira an Expert and simply ask for a quotation and some ideas as to how to go forward.
Once you have that - then you come back and say "Right, everyone - we have this, and we want some really great ideas to put some pepper on the roasting joint".
That way you get rock-solid production AND smashing ideas.
I'm sorry not to have answered your question fully, I am not an animator and I don't do piecework. I hope the little I have offered will give you something to gnaw on!
To your success,
11/18/2012 at 6:20 PM
I'd break down your question into separate questions:
1) What's the best way to tell a new story to your target market? It may be animated, it may be voiceover, it may be something else. But it all starts with what you've got to show and why your audience would care.
2) What's the best way to have your audience know about the story? Are you planning email, TV, social media, live event, webinar, and/or something else?
3) What's your budget for this campaign? That'll drive a lot of the decisions, talent, and timeline.
4) Who should execute this campaign? What resources do you have? What resources will you need to outsource? Will this be a one-time campaign, or is this the first in a series?
5) How will you measure the effectiveness of the campaign? How will this compare with the effectiveness of your existing marketing?
In summary: don't focus on the animation just yet. Figure out what the story is first, then your goals, then identify the right tools to achieve your goals given your resources.
11/18/2012 at 6:38 PM
I agree with Jay's answer to your final question, YES a small budget will not work for an animated solution (at a past agency, we produced a 90-second video for a leading tech company - budget $70,000 and that was on the cheap). There are better avenues for your budget(?).
For your interest, here's a link to a video production firm that does good work at fair prices.
11/18/2012 at 6:46 PM
oops, I agree with both Phil's and Jay's posts.
11/18/2012 at 9:24 PM
I'm with Jay. The medium/production shouldn't drive the marketing decision. Real animation will cost quite a bit if you do it right, and doing it wrong is a total waste of time and money.
Go back to the marketing objective and answer the questions Jay has asked. That will help frame the issue more clearly.
And if video is the right answer -- animated or otherwise -- Jay is the reigning expert on that subject. (He's produced several dozen episodes of a television series.) And I've recently finished a low-budget positioning video that turned out really well. We can probably help you through this.
11/19/2012 at 12:34 PM
Here's an online service that could save you tens of thousands of dollars:
11/19/2012 at 2:27 PM
Mark me as another supporter of Jay.
Other thoughts once you have a plan-
We hired a summer intern that was majoring in video production at a local university. If you ask for someone who as FinalCut expertise, that could help. With the explosion of YouTube popularity, 'home grown' production is acceptable, in some formats. Could you film with a Flip camera, edit with FinalCut, post on YouTube and launch a campaign that either takes folks to YouTube or they are sent a disk with your video?
How many sales folks (or familiar company faces) do you have? If your customers know/respect/trust the star(s) of the video they will pay more attention.
This does not touch on the story component. My thought is - if you don't have your story, how do you know video is the best way to tell it? (You may have a great response but since we are not conversing, I'm simply sharing my thoughts.)
Please remember - whatever you do it's not about what you want to tell the customer. It's about telling them "What's In It" for them. Then they will be engaged!
11/20/2012 at 5:46 AM
Sounds like you might be in a little over your head. Here's a way out: Speed-drawing animation. This is the illustration technique that uses Sharpie-style drawing at fast-forward speeds to make your points, coupled with music and professional narration.
Agencies that produce such videos have greatly reduced their prices over the past year or two and are probably in your budget range. I'll include a link below, and you can Google "speed drawing animation" or "whiteboard animation" for more options.
Although they promote low starting prices, by the time you incorporate your product photos and get the assistance your company needs for shaping the message, scripting, editing, etc., you'll need to budget up to $5,000. Less, if you're well organized.
The advantages of this approach: Speed drawing videos are engaging and memorable; revisions are relatively easy; you can bypass the entire film crew/production scenario; you can easily imprint your brand into the imagery; and you'll find significantly more affordable pricing.
Here is one link, as an example, to get you started:
I recommend that you do your first project with a U.S.-based agency like this -- one that specializes in serving small businesses -- rather than hiring a video animator from a freelance internet site. The guidance you'll receive from the agency will help to educate you in this area, whereas hiring an overseas animator works better if you already have experience in the field (because you'll need some expertise to direct them).
11/21/2012 at 8:46 AM
Thanks to all respondents. I especially appreciate comment from those who suggested ways that we might be able to accomplish our communications objective within a small-company marketing budget.
Several respondents apparently took my comment about needing help with the story as meaning I had no story in mind. I know the story I want to tell; I just need help with how to do it with the most visual impact and concisely. I also know why I want to use animation; we have a utility product that needs to get the attention of creative types (architects/designers) in the construction marketplace - folks who need to understand the benefit without having to fully understand the technology. I believe a creative visual presentation is more likely to engage this audience than print or even nuts-and-bolts video.
It could be that live video will be much less expensive than animation. I just can't think of how to make that as engaging to the audience I am trying to reach.
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