The Video Production Process
Selling for Richter, it is vital that you know our production process cold. If you do, when questions come up you can answer confidently, knowing that your answer can be easily backed up by those in delivery because it is what they’re actually doing on a daily basis.
Just as importantly, you will nor promise things that are unrealistic or impossible to prospects.
Thankfully, our video production process is very simple:
Gather data from client
No matter what else you learn about how we work, all videos are produced in this order. Each step is confirmed and approved as needed with the client before moving to the next step.
The whole process relies on doing each step thoroughly, before tackling the next one. For example, if one did a shoddy job of gathering information from the client, a great script is impossible.
If one were to get all the information and then write a terrible script that was not Richter standard, no amount of visual wizardry can turn that into a compelling video! The script must stand on its own as a brilliant and effective communciation.
Once a Richter standard script is written, the voiceover must be equal to it. Robotic or "commercial" sounding voice will just as surely ruin a video, so we get it right before an animator ever starts work.
In such a way, when a Richter animator starts work, they are set up for success because their job is to represent the same communication that's already being said, rather than have to make up for any lack in script or voiceover.
Your Responsiblity: The Sale Report Form
Once a video is sold, your first action will be to complete a Sale Report Form. This form provides our production team all the necessary information to deliver what you have sold. It IS the "hand-off" of your client and therefore must be thorough.
If the client requested a specific type of voiceover (gender, accent, style, etc), the Sale Report Form should include the detailed information needed to ensure the correct personnel are assigned.
Once the script is approved by the client, it is sent to the assigned voiceover artist to be recorded, then on to an editor to be edited.
This process happens out of sight of the client. Voiceovers sometimes sound unusual by themselves because they contain long pauses to allow for correct timing of the visual animation, but they sound exactly the way they should in context with the video. We therefore don’t share the voiceover with the client out of that context unless they specifically request it, which is rare.
If they have major concerns about the voiceover once they’ve seen their first video draft, we then immediately handle their concerns fully at that time.
Storyboards vs. the 20-Second Preview
With the exception of videos that are illustrated before being animated (whiteboard and comic book style), we do not create storyboards. Instead, as a first step of animation, a 20 second preview is created. This is simply the first 20 seconds of the video animated fully. At Richter, this step takes the place of “storyboarding” for a few reasons:
First, the work put in on storyboard slides does not translate into animation. This means any time spent on creating those slides has to be spent again in creating the corresponding animation once the storyboard is approved. In creating a 20 second preview, we’ve already animated a good section of a video and are therefore that much more efficient.
Second, the message of the video is already approved with the script, so the purpose of a preview is to approve the general style and visual concept of the video. The broad-strokes decisions such as fonts, color palette, animation style, etc. are made in this step. For this purpose, a 20 second preview provides a dynamic, real example of the final video product and is therefore a better way to judge these elements than a static storyboard which often does not show the animation concepts in a way the client can easily understand.
NOTE: When Richter first started creating animated videos, we did create storyboards because that was the standard industry practice. After dozens of clients expressed dissatisfaction after seeing storyboards our team thought were high quality, we experimented by sending a 20 second preview that brought those same storyboards to life. Client after client immediately said, "Oh, THAT'S what you meant. We love it! Move forward!". Seeing how workable this was, we immediately changed our process to focus on 20 second previews instead of storyboards.
Third, if the client is really unhappy with their 20 second preview for any reason, it’s much easier for the animator to make corrections or even start from scratch if necessary because they have not spent many hours creating a full draft.
Once the 20 second preview is approved, the animator creates a first full draft of the video, in keeping with the style used for the preview.
Live Video Scripting
For a live shoot, a script to be recited verbatim is almost never created. Instead, a series of questions to be asked interview subjects are written by our copywriter, perhaps with accompanying bullet-point notes for interviewees to ensure the key points are covered well. The nature of a live shoot is that it's a conversation, run by the interviewer on site.