How We Make Video Magic
May 25, 2022
One glance at our portfolio reveals a variety of clients and video styles – every project is something different. Whether it’s popular mobile game Coin Master or music learning app JoyTunes, it’s exciting to see which brand Igloo will help next!
But what are the steps we take towards bringing our clients’ ideas to life? Let’s take a look by using one of our favorite examples from our work with global fintech firm Plus500!
Once a client has approached us, we’ll sit them down for an initial set of meetings. Here, the key topics are the values of the stakeholder and their target audience. With Plus500, the client identified their target audience and we came up with the idea of using a set of fun blue mascots.
Crucially, in this meeting, the client also throws in their own ideas. One of the best things that can happen because of this, and throughout the other stages, is that the client discovers a new perspective on their product and a new language to express its value.
Creative Pitch Presentation
After thoroughly discussing the project, we prepare for what is called a ‘Creative Pitch Presentation.’ Here, we outline three possible creative directions, or ‘synopses,’ for the idea and present it to the client.
We often use a variety of references – such as our own primary sketches, screenshots, and even Shutterstock gifs – to help the client visualize the final video as much as possible. Typically, in these meetings, across from the client are Igloo’s Creative Director, Producer, and Animation Director.
One tricky aspect of this process is not simply presenting strong and dynamic ideas that best suit the client’s product. Often, the client only responds to specific concepts from each of the slide decks, and things get tangled if they mix and match. In this case, our expertize enables us to hone in on the client’s original objectives and re-focus the project’s creative direction.
Once the main premise is locked in, we enter the script-writing stage. This generally takes around a week for a typical video project. As opposed to the traditional screenwriting format, this document consists of a coinciding structure between visual description and voice-over.
Next to ensuring a suitable representation of the client’s brand, this format proves invaluable in allocating the timings between the voice-over and the image – what see, what we hear, and when. We also like to include further visual references and links, some of which are preliminary designs of our own.
The script stage, like the others, is limitless in terms of how many revision rounds we hold with our partners. We don’t believe in ‘too many revisions,’ and never limit our client’s participation in the creative process. When we move forward, it’s with something that everyone is comfortable with.
Storyboarding & Design
Next up, we start drafting early iterations of what will be the meat of the final product. Over a short amount of time, we create a series of animatics and a video board, which are then presented back to the client.
Animatics are essentially storyboards which have been cut together into a sequence. Although this is not the final version of the animation we will see, they are a great proof-of-concept to show our client, who is now slowly seeing their vision come to life.
Additionally, we present a few ‘style frames,’ which are representative frames from the storyboards. Combined with the animatics, this gives our client a rough idea of the style and timing of how the video will play out. And while all of this is happening, we also record a rough voice-over.
We’re also considering a new part to this stage, with the addition of a detailed reference board. This would serve as a back-up for any small design changes the client might suggest later on. Moreover, it would minimize the time spent on pre-production, so that things can be even more focused during the design stages.
When the client has signed off on the animatics, we move on to the main production workflow with our animation and design specialists. The script is sent to the animators, and the production is dictated according to budget and available resources. Here, we consider the practical aspects of the production, like camera angles, motion, and actors.
We hold a ‘kick-off meeting’ with our creative director, producer, animation director, lead designer, and animators. Once approved, the project is handed to the animation director, who then breaks it down shot by shot – the visual language of the video. We also have a production table through which the team is assigned to different shots and sequences, according to each person’s availability and expertise.
When handing the script to our team, we try to keep its visual description precise, but also ‘open to interpretation’. The key to working with our animators is in the briefing. They have to be given sufficient context to the project, so that no one strays too far from the client’s vision. But we also want them to innovate and have fun expressing themselves.
Because of our thoroughness in pre-production, we can anticipate technical problems and challenges well in advance, then estimate and prioritize which shots will require more attention. This way, we can also judge how much scope for innovation we can afford.
Meanwhile, between the animatics and the animation stages, the voice-over is recorded. We also keep a tight structure for organizing our work across staff. Generally, we export work-in-progress renders twice a week, overseen by the creative director and shared with the client.
Once the visuals are finished, the client is sent the project with the basic ‘music bed’ and voice-over attached. Sound FX is applied after their feedback, along with small visual fixes they’ve highlighted, such as text changes and transition speeds.
Because our process ensures the client is kept in the loop during the entire workflow, they usually aren’t surprised with what we deliver. Regarding the feedback we’ve received over the years, it’s always super satisfying to hear that the client feels involved and emotionally connected to the project.
In most cases, the most rewarding experience we encounter through this process is that the client ends up understanding their product and brand even better. They find a new language for expressing themselves through the videos we make.
In that sense, the key principle in the consistency of Igloo’s process is the extent to which we keep communication as one of our highest priorities. Keep the client in the loop, talk to your animators, and always ask: what does the video need?
Like the way we get things done? Check out the range of video services we provide from our reels, and let’s see what we can do for you by getting in contact with us today! As part of Magic Media we have the combined bandwidth to tackle any project, at any size, in house. Instead of using multiple studios, you can come to your one stop shop, and we can offer a range of services to ensure your project is a success. If market-leading video content that resonates with your audience is what you’re looking for, we’d love to work with you and bring your vision to life with the utmost care and attention.