Animation Production (part 2)

Debut Animation Production

This year more than any before has taught us to consider constraints in our video production process. Rather than dwell on what we can’t do, we’ve found opportunities to flex our creativity; restructuring a live action shoot or reimagining a whole campaign to work as an animation instead. Each and every video production has required a new and unique approach, and in finding each new approach we’ve found new ideas. Here’s a few of our ideas built into an animation showreel.

We’ve seen this same shift in our clients as they have had to contend with brand new considerations for each of their campaigns where previously they had not. As clients have looked to find new ways of keeping their video productions on track, a truly rewarding experience has been producing animations for clients who have never considered an animation before. Collaborating with a client on an animation for the first time is a joy as we carve the mammoth rock of boundless possibilities into a refined bespoke piece that leaves our client wondering why they haven’t considered an animation production before.

Video Production Possibilities

The same as all production companies in Manchester, part of our job is to take a concept and devise the plan for executing it. With any production we tell our clients not to worry about the ‘how’ of the project and focus more on the what and why of the concept without giving too much consideration for the practicalities. That’s our gig and we’re good at it. Never is this more true than with an animation. Anything is possible. Collaborating with a client for the first time with such freedom is a singularly liberating experience that comes with animation but that doesn’t mean it is always easy.

Endless Animation Avenues

Sometimes the limitlessness of producing an animation can be what stymies the development of an initial concept for the client. The blankest canvas is the most intimidating. The sheer expansive potential of the production can sometimes make developing creative for animation feel directionless. When anything is possible, everything must be designed. This can be daunting.

No Constraints Collaboration

If a team are used to working to the (admittedly still vast as you’ll see in our showreel) limitations of a live action production the challenge of creating and designing every tiny detail from scratch can seem like a mountain to climb. That’s where we come in. As with any video, our creative team work with our clients every step of the way throughout to create a commercial concept that exceeds the criteria of the brief but also exemplifies and embeds their brand. It’s especially rewarding creating concepts with an animation as we know that the only production constraints are those of our collective imagination.

Animate the Abyss

With experience, the abyss of possibilities brings comfort rather than uncertainty. The beauty of animation is that we get to populate the abyss entirely. From the smallest detail to the overarching message absolutely everything in animation can be designed and tailored to the client’s brand and campaign. An animation gives us the chance to take an audience anywhere that we want to take them. We work with clients to create a universe that epitomises their brand, down to the last detail. This is the aim with any video but when working with a client on an animation it’s a particularly rewarding process as we work on a project that will become an absolute cornerstone of their brand identity.

Animation Production Process

It starts with writing a treatment for the animation. We produce a written version of the video along with style references, a sample script and anything else that will help the client see as clearly as possible how the animation will take shape. This is the first opportunity we have to showcase the difference in what is possible with animation in comparison to live action video production. We aim to make this treatment as detailed as possible, driven directly by the brief while offering our creative input, and direction for the animation.

Style Frames

From here the animation team will start creating style frames. This is my favourite part of the process as it is where the world of the concept is created. The style of the animation is the design of the drawings, illustrations, shapes, real objects or whatever else happens to be the component parts that will make up the animation. This is where creative choices are made and first come to life on the journey to the final video.

Delivering the style frame to the client is great as they are able to see for the first time the unique creations that have been developed for their animation. It’s at this point that the final product comes in to focus. It’s like examining the stage, props and actors of a play before life is breathed into the performance. The style frames are definitely the moment at which a client who is new to animation starts to get very excited. This is where they start to see character, brand identity and craft.

Animation Anticipation

Even having seen the style frames, written the script and developed the treatment there is still always a sense of anticipation and wonder waiting to see the first cut of an animation. On a live-action shoot you see shot after shot going in the can there is still a sense of magic getting those shots in to the edit suite and starting to piece it together. You may have done it a thousand times and know exactly what shots you have and how they will cut together but there is still an exhilarated tension as you start to see the production take shape. For me this is even more intensely true with an animation and greater still if it is the client’s first animation production.

Animation – A First Look

When a client has been on set for a live action shoot they have a reasonably good idea of how the edit will look. They have seen through their monitor what is being captured. With an animation they haven’t yet seen the motion of the piece. The pace, the sound design, the interaction, the delivery of the script, the transitions. With animation the first cut can be much more of a reveal moment than with live action. So many elements of the production are being seen for the first time. When it is also a client’s first time having an animation produced it is doubly exciting.

To Shoot or Not to Shoot

Despite our best efforts to ensure that our clients concern themselves only with working with us to develop the perfect concept, and to not worry about the production of the piece, we are having more and more clients bringing briefs to us that include the question “how can we shoot this at the moment?”

Fortunately, we are able to shoot again and it’s a pleasure to reassure clients of that fact but when safety is understandably at the forefront of a client’s mind it’s nice to be able to answer the question “how do we shoot this?” with the question “do we need to?” This starts the conversation about just how perfect an animation can be for more campaigns than they’ve ever realised before. Whether you’re ready to shoot again or you’re interested in having a conversation about how an animation could potentially do everything a live action video could for your campaign, or even more. Contact us at Groundbreak HQ.

If you’d like to learn more about the animation process, please click here.

Posted in AnimationCommercialCorporate