Creating Motion Graphics Case Study: Mobile Web Revolution Video

Mobile Web RevolutionFrom the very beginning when I started working on my Mobile Web Revolution video, I had the idea to capture my process of how I created the motion graphic video as I went along in order to share it online with others as a resource for learning motion graphics. I wanted to be able to show not just the final video, but the script ideas, the rough brainstormed sketches that lead to storyboards and mock-ups in Apple Keynote.

I’ve outlined my basic process of creating simple motion graphics videos using Keynote previously in another post. For this project I wanted to primarily use Apple Motion. Keynote is great for simple basic animations, but can’t compare to infographics animation in Apple Motion or Adobe After Effects for complex motion graphics.

video storyboard

Storyboard

My process was somewhat iterative but the basic flow was:

  • Ideation – come up with the idea for the topic
  • Topical research – gather information and data about the topic to use in the story
  • Identify a visual style and tone for the piece, create a mood board
  • Write the script
  • Brainstorm and sketch visuals to accompany the script and tell the story
  • Create rough storyboard
  • Create mock-ups or more refined storyboards in Apple Keynote
  • Create graphic and image assets in PhotoShop, Illustrator and Keynote
  • Production of scenes in Apple Motion
  • Assemble rough cut in Final Cut Pro
  • Narration
  • Edit scenes to narration
  • Edit audio in Soundtrack Pro

The presentation below contains scans of my sketches and hand-drawn storyboard as well exports of Keynote storyboards and mock-ups. Those interested in the process can compare the original sketches and storyboard with the final video. Some portions came out very similar to the original concept but I found that a lot of my original ideas where difficult or time-consuming to produce. So, some portions of the final product are very different from the original idea.

And here’s the finished video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRB__lVXxHs[/youtube]

 

Lessons Learned

Perhaps the biggest lesson learned was one I’ve come across before. You need to spend a lot more time refining, distilling and honing the script up front before you jump into production or even storyboarding. It wasn’t until I was well into sketching and storyboarding that I realized my script was too broad. I initially started out with a broader idea of discussing the trends of what some people have termed the Post-website era, but it turned out that there were too many issues at play for such a broad topic and so I decided to narrow it down to the mobile revolution. I think the video still suffers a bit from this mid-course correction, not being as focused as it could be.

Another  key lesson learned here is to generate several alternative visual ideas to explain a given element of the video and to be flexible and not too locked on to one particular graphic or edit idea. You might have an idea for a really cool transition from one scene to another, but it may be technically difficult to produce or may not add to the effectiveness of the explanation.

Apple-Motion-Screen-Capture

Apple Motion

The project turned out to be a fantastic tool for learning Apple Motion. I had used Apple Motion before in other projects, but not for anything near the scale of this project. If you’re just starting out creating motion graphics or animated infographic videos, whether you’re going to use Apple Motion, Adobe After Effects or even Keynote, writing, editing and producing your own video on a topic of your choice is a great way to not only learn the process, but also the software tools you’ll need.

One aspect of the video I’m least satisfied with is the narration. Many people aren’t really satisfied hearing themselves speak, and that certainly applies to me. Beyond that, I’ve learned from narrating several videos over the past year just how badly I tend to slur words together in my normal speech. It takes quite an effort for me to slow down and enunciate.

Additionally, if you’re going to be narrating your video, I think it would be useful to do at least a rough narration early on the project before getting too attached to storyboard and visual elements. By laying down a narration track early on, you can get a better of idea of the timing of your animations.

A good example of this in my video is at 0:40 in the video, talking about mobile becoming “integrated into our lives.” The scenes showing mobile being an integral part of daily life had to be sped up to match the pace with the narration. Of course, I could have slowed down the narration or left a long pause, but I wasn’t happy with that result either. Had I layed down even a rough narration earlier on, I would have realized that wasn’t much time to visually show much here and could have come up with some different concept for depicting that.

These are just a few of many lessons learned throughout the journey of this project. There’s a quote by American author Greg Anderson that applies here.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

If you’ve got some key lessons learned from creating animated infographics videos, please share by commenting below.

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10 Responses to “Creating Motion Graphics Case Study: Mobile Web Revolution Video”

  1. Tania January 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm // Reply

    This is great…a little above my multi media challenged head right now but will definitely bookmark for later. I’d really like to add a mix of media to my blog in the future.

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  2. JeffBennett January 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm // Reply

    Thanks Tania. Multimedia is definitely a good thing on any blog – adds interest to readers, and Google likes images, video and other “engagement objects” as well.

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  3. Courtney January 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm // Reply

    Like Tania, this post is also OMH… but there are some other posts of yours that may be better suited for my skill level.

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  4. JeffBennett January 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm // Reply

    Yeah, the post is mostly targeted for people who may be wanting to get into creating their own videos. Videos are a great way for businesses to quickly explain what they do or what their products do, so I’m a big fan of business owners getting involved with video.

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  5. Roxanne Darling January 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm // Reply

    Jeff, Fantastic. I am not at all up to your level, but having done a little bit of storyboarding and concepting, I really appreciated your dual focus. One, I know all those lessons you learned – and it is so helpful to keep remembering one as the mind does want to say, “Next time it is going to go a lot faster.” Inn reality, it may go slower as we gain skills with each iteration and can try more advanced things!

    I also want to thank you for being your own witness to your process. It takes a lot more time to document what you are doing along the way. But that is the way we get to enter in and be with you and learn. I loved the slide show around 36 – something mysterious became instantly clear and dramatic.

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  6. Jim Nakama January 5, 2012 at 1:19 am // Reply

    Hey Jeff, a great illustration of the workflow and thought process. In particular I appreciate the identification of the different tools utilized at various phases of the design/development process.

    Like software development, spend the time up front to really hone the overal tone and purpose of the end product. It’s so easy to gloss over the detail that can be major stumbling blocks.

    Prototype, Prototype, Prototype. At the storyboard phase, throwing things away and starting from scratch is relatively inexpensive. Throwing things away that the Final Cut Pro phase is expensive and emotionally hard to do..

    I know what you mean about narration. I worked with one guy that did voice overs for radtio commercials. Its amazing how quickly he can snap into his broadcast persona and read from a script on cue.

    Thanks for the insights into video production. This is an area NARD LLC will be getting into. I hope to product product videos and technology tutorials. This will definitely help.

    Best Regards,

    Jim

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  7. JeffBennett January 5, 2012 at 7:02 am // Reply

    Thanks Jim and Roxanne for the kind remarks and the additional insights!

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  8. Chris January 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm // Reply

    Wow, Jeff! Your video is flawless and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your process!

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    • JeffBennett January 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm // Reply

      Wow, Chris. Very kind. Thank you.

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  9. Lena Castles January 6, 2012 at 11:08 am // Reply

    I agree with Courtney and Tania…seems very technical, but I am totally open to cool new things for sure!! Thanks Jeff for posting!!

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