Chances are you already have a good script, either in your head or written down and ready to take shape into a video.
Our job in this stage is to drive the message home, as effectively as possible, using a convincing narration and compelling visuals. If you've ever listened to a video without watching the screen, or seen an animation on a muted TV, you know that in order to get the full idea of what's happening, you need both. Video is a multi-sensory experience, so we'll make the most out of the audiovisual communication through your script.
It is fundamental that the script is reviewed and finalized before moving forward in production, because any changes to the script will trickle down the workflow, adding tons of rework that increases production time exponentially and can greatly delay a project.
As mentioned above, having the script by itself will hardly tell your story. Now we need to complement it with visuals, which come alive in the form of a storyboard.
These will be sketches that illustrate the main sections of the script, and some description to specify camera movement, transitions, builds, scene movement, etc. The storyboard is an essential counterpart to the script, because neither one is complete without the other.
From this point on, every step of production relies on the previous step, so hopefully you'll start to see the importance of signing off on each item before moving on to the next step.
The voiceover can be recorded while the storyboard is being designed, although certain performances can benefit from having a visual guide of what will be on screen.
We hire the best voiceover talent and provide close direction to make sure the tone and pace of the clip follows your expectations. This is another reason why the script must be nailed down early on: voiceover artists' time is valuable, and doing retakes often means hiring them for additional time, takes, and pickups.
Once the voiceover is recorded, we start working on the audio mix, looking for music options, and ideas of where sound effects might add to the narrative.
The animatic is -in a sense, the first "version" of your video that will be created. It consists of the storyboard frame sequence, timed to the voiceover recording, placeholder music, and tentative sound effects.
Let's say it's a rough preview that will let you visualize the content that will be shown, at the right pace. This step helps iron out details such as adding pauses to the voiceover, allowing visuals to remain on the screen longer, or vice-versa; cutting out some visuals if they end up being too much content for a short period of time.
In essence, with a little imagination, you'll be seeing your full video, before any of the time-consuming animation takes place. This steps lets us make changes to the timing and visuals in a fraction of the time that it would take to update fully-animated scenes, and that's why it marks the end of the pre-production phase.