This past week, Jeff Anderton (SnugZ USA/VideoFarm) and Tee Hamilton (CreativeAlchemy) released an awesome video to promote SnugZ USA’s involvement at skucon Chicago. The video had us in stitches because of its lovable goofiness. As skucon and commonsku love celebrating the creative spirit, we wanted to deconstruct what went into producing this video.
Video marketing is an important part of the modern marketer’s toolkit so in this post we’re going to learn from the very best. This video worked so well because of 3 elements:
Any good video is going to have some polish. This doesn’t mean that you need to hire a Hollywood director, but spending some money on editing, music etc… will help immediately separate your video from the smart phone auteurs that upload countless videos to the internet every day.
All great videos have great story arcs. Tee and Jeff did a great job of setting up a fun and whimsical story line about a frazzled SnugZbot getting ready for the conference in July. It’s easy to follow and it leaves you smiling.
Mixing real world footage with animated elements makes this video feel special. I love how SnugZbot naturally feels a part of the action and interacts with the fine folks from SnugZ.
We asked Tee, Jeff and Wendy to help deconstruct the method they used to create this video.
Tee here! We had to consider a couple of things right away to create this video… the first being TIME. Jeff and I both tend to think BIG when it comes to ANYTHING creative. We knew that there was no way that we could pull off a PIXAR production with limited time. So we had to preplan what sort of things were possible in a couple of weeks.
We discussed the basic story idea: SnugZbot was heading to Chicago skucon and let’s see all the wacky ways he goes about getting ready for the trip!
Because of the REAL TIGHT timeline to pull off an animated video, we focused on funny quick clips to tell the story. I quickly outlined the script. I love pulling from fun pop culture, movies especially. So I sent the script over to Jeff, that had really rough story-boards with links to movie references from Pulp Fiction to Star Wars to help illustrate the feel, title treatments, sounds, etc. I had already drawn the SnugZbot character as a vector drawing for commonsku’s skucon, so we knew what we had to work with there. His shape and approximate height.
Story-boarding is essential to help visualize and suggest set up the shots; creative angles, what will be live and what is animated, will we need specific props, what kind of animation/movement will the character be carrying out, where do the actors stand.. etc.
After receiving the script, Jeff shot photos where he was planning on shooting each scene at SnugZ. He was able to arrange who would be in each shot and was able to organize the shots around the extremely busy SnugZ’s offices and warehouse. Then he sent them to me.
On my side, I started to plan where SnugZbot would stand and the positions he would need to be in. I drew these pieces out, separated each of his parts (hands, eyes, legs, etc) in different positions depending on the movement, and placing them on different levels. Also positioning them onto the photos to give the animator an idea exactly where he needed to be placed in the scene. After completing each scene, I would send each to Jeff and his team.
Wendy from SnugZ USA, Jeff’s right hand girl, was on the team to handle the animation. She loves animation so was stoked to work with us!
Jeff shot the each of the live action scenes at SnugZ, just as he had planned. Each shot took some time to set up. There was lighting to think about, where the imaginary SnugZ-bot would be placed, and directing the actors where to look and how to react to a character they could not see!
He could then send that footage to Wendy to add in the SnugZ-bot motion and sound effects. Wendy even stood in for SnugZ-bot when needed!
Jeff was able to finish editing the video, adding in titles, music, additional sound effects, and a whole lot more! There was a lot of collaboration along the way. Since time was tight, we broke a lot of rules and some great ideas were added on the fly. This was a lot of work, but we really enjoyed the process!
Thanks to the whole team and those super talented folks at SnugZ USA that gave their time over the last several weeks! This isn’t the last you have seen of team SnugZ-bot yet! Just wait until skucon!