// 6 mins read
1: Creative Brief
Before jumping into design, we start with a creative brief. This ensures our team and our client are aligned with our strategy for the project – what are we presenting, who is it being shared with, and how will it be displayed. This step solidifies the tone for the project and tells how our audience should feel after watching this video.
2: Mood board
While the copywriter works on the script, we nail down a style for the video based on the goals set in the creative brief. We display this style as a mood board with a collection of found images and video screenshots with a unified theme in mind. We share this mood board with the client to give them an idea of our direction for the video. Mood boards can come in all shapes and sizes, but we are partial to Invision’s mood board feature. It allows our team and clients to comment on specific images within the mood board for direct and productive feedback.
3: Preliminary Shot List
After developing the voice-over script, we create the preliminary shot list. This shot list gives a scene-by-scene description for the video. I like to read line-by-line and highlight, scribble, or circle around important words and phrases. Letting the key messages of the script guide our visuals bridges the gap between strategy and design.
4: Sketched Storyboard
At this point, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and sketch each scene based on the descriptions developed in the shot list, keeping in mind the style approved in the mood boarding stage. We usually only spend 1-2 minutes per sketch, nothing fancy. We use PowerPoint to compile the sketched scenes, which allows us to add short descriptions to each and allows our clients to easily make comments.
Some agencies opt out of this step for time’s sake, but we find that quick sketches of each scene actually help clients understand our ideas before spending tons of time on a digital storyboard that may or may not end up matching what the client had in mind. It just takes the mystery out of the equation.
5: Digital Storyboard
After the client approves the sketched storyboard, we create the assets for each scene, using the style approved from the mood board as a guide. We basically break down each scene and create the individual elements that will be animated, adding the colors, textures, and styles described in the mood board. Depending on the technical requirements of the style, this step is done in either Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
Again, we send the client comps in Powerpoint by exporting each scene to an image file and adding our descriptions with the corresponding piece of script. Once the client approves these designs, we can hand off to the animator.
6: Animator Hand-off
Before letting the animator loose, we walk them through each scene of the storyboard, noting how elements should animate and discussing the best way to handle each asset. If there is a specific effect you want to achieve, this is also a good time to share reference videos and images that better describe your vision. Without this stage, the animator may have a hard time interpreting how to execute the ideas presented in the digital storyboard.
Unless you also happen to be the one animating, what follows is some waiting, reviewing, and revising until, finally, that sweet moment when your designs come to life.