Creating an animated video for your business takes a lot of creativity, collaboration, and communication. We want our clients to be satisfied and confident in our work every step of the way.
One way to ensure that you have a positive experience and that we're always on the right track to providing what your business needs are to provide regular constructive feedback.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind with giving the right kind of feedback for videos projects.
Help Us Help You: Giving Feedback For Video
1. Be clear on the details and goals of each feedback briefing.
In order to get a finished product that you will love, it's important that both sides have a complete understanding of the project's goals. When providing feedback, be as descriptive and precise as possible, and state to the best of your ability what you would like to see as a result of each individual briefing.
2. Keep milestones and deadlines in mind.
We always aim to be as accurate as possible when we provide project timelines; we work hard to reach milestones and meet deadlines on time.
However, in order to stay on track, we need to receive appropriate feedback in a timely fashion. Our ultimate goal is to satisfy you, but major revisions or backtracking could result in delayed project completion. That's not what we want and that's not what you want. Timely feedback is essential! When we deliver an asset for feedback, please let us know that you have received it and that it opens and plays. Within the next 24-48 hrs after viewing it and discussing it is the ideal time to receive feedback.
3. Avoid excessive micro-deadlines
As we mentioned, we are trying to stay on track with your project. So we try to avoid excessive micro-milestones or end of the day check-ins which slow down the production process. We understand if you have a concern that pops up in-between milestones and will work with you to address that. We prefer to keep in regular contact with our clients and check in for feedback at each of the major milestones. Some examples include: script, styleboard/storyboard, board-o-matic (storyboard put to scratch VO and placement music for timings), motion tests, first draft animations, fine cut and final cut.
3. Revisions vs change order.
When changes need to be made, we are happy to make them. Some changes are bigger and more time-consuming than others, which can lead to a change in the project timeline or price.
In general, revisions are smaller edits that are anticipated and accounted for within the timeline and budget of any project. On-screen text, the color of elements, animation timings, re-ordering scenes and reasonable design tweaks are all good examples of revisions. Change orders are larger undertakings that can take longer to complete or cause the project budget to increase. Say we are in the middle of the animation phase and you request a complete overhaul of the character designs. That should have been addressed in storyboard phase. So we have to go back to that stage to re-design and have lost all the animation work we've done that has a character in it. They have to be re-designed, re-approved and re-rigged before animation begins. It's going to be lot of work to make those changes and may jeopardize the deadline. That is an example of a change order. We are sure to inform our clients when their project timeline or budget is altered, but if you ever have concerns, ask us!
4. On-screen Text Notes.
As a general rule on-screen text should be limited to three lines to keep it viewer friendly. 4 lines are the limit unless you are going for some kind of effect and are not concerned with the readability of it.
For case studies, training, and informational videos, a good practice for the duration of type is to be able to read it one and a half times while it is on the screen. This allows for slower readers to be able to finish and for other viewers time to digest the information.
Commercials, explainers, outstream, and pre-roll don't have the same luxury of time. By nature, they are a faster, cut-to-the-chase kind of video. The on-screen text should be up for as long as it takes to read it aloud one time.
Legal text is a different animal altogether. "Disclaimers and disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. That is, consumers must be able to notice, read or hear, and understand the information." (For further details on Advertising & Marketing Rules of the road please refer to the FTC link: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/advertising-marketing-internet-rules-road)
The smallest size limit is usually 6 pt. type. You can stack the lines as high as you'd like to go. The view must have to time to be able to pause the video and read the disclaimer. Best practice for legal is for it to ride the bottom title-safe line, centered, and usually white on a dark background (or something that is high contrast).
5. Consolidate feedback with one decision maker.
In most circumstances, the work we are doing needs to approval from several people at your company. Assigning one point person in your business the job of collecting, consolidating, and communicating feedback to us is the easiest way to streamline the process and make sure that no conflicting feedback is being given. This also avoids the "too many cooks" syndrome illustrated by the this slightly NSFW Adult Swim spoof of sitcom opening without end.
When there are too many cooks in the kitchen, the meal comes out tasting bad. Some people feel that they need to contribute something to the project to justify their job. They'll make minor insignificant changes, so they can say they did that part of the video. It was their idea. Sometimes it's an ego thing, sometimes it's a conflict with another team member. They have personal differences and feel the need to bicker and contradict each other, dragging the entire project into their drama. As you can guess this is not good for your video. By putting one creative decision maker in charge, this gives them the ultimate authority to stop petty beefs, and squash frivolous vanity changes. Let the group know their input is valued, but ultimately the decision maker is the boss of this video project.
6. Alternate between highs and lows.
Stewie from Family Guy calls this a compliment sandwich. When providing feedback in general, it is a good idea to start with something that you like, and follow up with something that needs improvement, and ends on a positive note.
Alternating between positive and negative feedback helps the recipient stay positive and enthusiastic about their work while striving to do better.
We love it when clients are honest and constructive in their feedback; it helps us to get our work exactly right. While we don't need anything sugarcoated, we do like to hear what we're doing well along with what we need to work on - we're only human, after all. This also helps us focus on bringing you more of the good stuff that you are digging.
7. Timecodes and Call-outs
We use Vimeo for a video review system to add notes right into the video. This pairs it's with the timecode. That way we can see exactly where in the video you are talking about and what needs changes. This saves time and helps clarify any confusion that may arise when there are similar elements occurring throughout your video.
There's also other platforms out there like Wipster, Screenlight, and Basecamp that can help with the project management and video review process.
Otherwise, if you don't use a system like the aforementioned, you need to list your feedback to a corresponding timecode. For example at 1:23 in the video, you want to make the logo bigger, and at 2:03 you'd like the edit to be 1 second shorter.
- 1:23 - Make logo bigger
- 2:03 - Cut one second from the back end of this scene
8. Be familiar with common video terms.
Are a super and title are the same thing? What about an interstitial and an ident? We all have to be on the same page when communicating about videos, so please even if you think you are well versed in video terminology, give yourself a quick refresher. Vimeo has a great illustrated one: https://vimeo.com/blog/post/glossary-of-common-video-terms
A super is short for superimposed text or image. It's kind of an old-school term, back when everything was on film. It's a generic term for any on-screen text. So a super can be a title. But it can also be regular on-screen text, factoids or call outs. It can also be an image. "Super [soo-per] Noun, In television- an additional image superimposed on the original video image". All titles are supers (unless they are title cards), but not all supers are titles. A title is not any text on-screen, it's very specific and treated text. Titles are used in intros or headings for chapters and are usually styled and treated consistently throughout a piece
An interstitial advertising:
a. Broadcast media: Very short-duration commercials inserted between two programs or ads of longer duration.
b. Internet: Ads that appear in a separate ('pop up') window while a web page is loading, or are inserted between the contents of the page. These ads contain flashy graphics and are said to be more effective than banners. Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/interstitial-advertising.html and here
While an ident is a visual image that appears briefly between television programs to identify a television channel. In broadcasting, a commercial bumper, ident bumper or break-bumper (often shortened to bump) is a brief announcement, usually two to 15 seconds in length that can contain a voice over, placed between a pause in the program and its commercial break, and vice versa. One of the most famous uses of the ident is MTV and their man on the moon bumper.
9. Be available for phone calls or skype.
While a lot of our communication happens via e-mail and Vimeo reviews sometimes talking to a client on the phone helps us to understand where they're coming from and what they want.
When producing a creative product like an animated video, sometimes abstract ideas need to be shared and discussed verbally in order for both sides to truly "get it." Talking on the phone or via Skype helps with this process in a way that other communication just can't.
10. On-site reviews.
If you're in the Chicagoland area, we'll happily accommodate an on-site review. We'll come over with a laptop and sit in with a group of your decision-makers. We present the video on your projection system of choice and you can give us live feedback. This usually last anywhere from a half to and hour. We can make small changes and edits on the fly and then take notes on the bigger revisions. It's a great way to dig into the project and makes sure everything gets's covered from your best people.
On-site reviews are going to cost a bit more, so be sure to ask for that up front if that's what you prefer.
Hopefully, this overview will give you some ideas on how to approach giving feedback on your next video project.