The majority of video production projects begin with an idea. That idea then grows into a script, detailing the entire project through words. The dialogue is clear, but the appearance of each scene isn’t always completely clear. That’s where storyboards come into play. Not only do storyboards highlight a project’s look and feel for the cast and crew, they’re also key for managing expectations as to what’s really possible on set.

However, sometimes simple storyboards aren’t enough; sometimes you need a tool that times out your video to the second. In cases like these, what you need is an animatic.

Animatic services go a step further

When you need a little extra zing in your pre-production visuals, you can transform pre-drawn or pre-rendered storyboards into animatic storyboards, or just animatics, for short. Animatics are essentially just lightly animated storyboards that help pin-point the timing of each scene. By including a bit of motion—and usually a scratch voice track—the in-edit flow of a scene is easy to see.

At ECG Productions, we offer animatics services for any project, big or small. After years and years on the job, we know how invaluable animatics are to a project’s success. For example, during a relatively recent project for Resurgens Orthopaedics, we were operating under a super tight deadline, meaning we HAD to develop a complete vision before filming began. Presenting the animatic to the client ensured that we captured the right content on set. Ultimately, that saved us time and kept the client happy. The animatic looked like this:

Which in turn, became the final commercial:

During the filming process, there were many benefits of having the animatic storyboard guide the production. Not only was the shoot more efficient, but the clients felt included in the creative process.

Creating a better experience on set

The benefits of animatics services help create a streamlined production for many reasons. Not only are you solidifying your vision before you even get on set, you’re also establishing a more efficient production overall. This saves time, money, and reduces stress during filming.

Saving time

This amounts to more than simply wasting less time on set filming scenes in inefficient ways. It also saves time in post-production. This is especially true if you’re working with a length restriction for your footage. At ECG, we use animatics to time out the video before filming. By the time we step onto a set, we know the precise timing of each shot. Then, by comparing the timing of each take with the timing in the animatic, we can guarantee we capture exactly what we need. What’s more, hiring ECG animatics services ensures you’ll stay within overall length restrictions. Having it all planned out with an animatic, regardless of any last-minute changes, makes sure you organize your time to tell your full story.

Saving money

Time is the most important asset on set. Having to reshoot a scene because what you thought would work simply doesn’t, can get costly. This is especially true if you have to take the time to get everything back to zero, move lighting around, or shift large pieces of equipment. If you thought your shot would work with a hand-held for example, but what it really needs is a dolly shot, organizing that in the moment on set could really blow the budget.

Animatics decrease wasted time spent on reconfiguring and reshooting scenes. That entire process takes place in pre-production, before equipment lists are made, where making changes doesn’t cost anything.

Reducing stress

A primary source of stress on set is when something doesn’t look right. You get through the whole scene and it just isn’t hitting where it should. Something is missing. You don’t, however, have the time to sit and think about what that missing piece is. Stress starts seeping in, and with stress comes a sub-par video.

Only—if only!—you were working from an animatic!

Animatics are great at reducing stress on shoot day because you’re able to visualize shots before you’re on set. Not only that but animatics help provide a sense of tone at the right time in the video production process to make changes. Getting your tone set before filming can help you stay on target with your actors once the camera is actually rolling.

Managing expectations

This is important to do from a technical standpoint as well as a creative one. Creatively, you want to ensure what you envision on the page is exactly what the client sees when they read the script. The best way to do this is with a visual rough draft, an animatic. Everyone puts their own spin on the meaning of descriptive words, so talking it through might not get everyone on the same page. Displaying a visual helps generate realistic expectations for what will occur on set.

From a technical standpoint, animatics can help confirm how realistic certain shots actually are. Maybe you’re visualizing a scene where there is a lot of action going on, in multiple areas of a single shot. In your head, it all works really well; but when it’s all laid out in an animatic the frame gets super cluttered.

Just think of the time, money, and stress you save yourself by realizing this ahead of production day! All in a day’s work for animatics!

Animatics services for the people

A sketch of a bartender pouring a draught beer inside of a bar.
Thoughtful animatics services save you time, money, and stress.

Not every production needs storyboarding or animatics services. However, when you create content with a strict total run time or a very specific vision, they’re mission critical.

If they’re able to take a drawn storyboard and transform it into an animatic, all the better. ECG Productions can take your script and translate it into a simple 2D animatic, a complex 3D animatic, or anything in between.

With our storied staff of animators behind the helm, an ECG animatic is sure to guide your next video in a wonderful direction. Contact ECG to learn more about how we can help you through the pre-production process and beyond!