SmartCuts Creative produced this explainer animation for ILO in record time: 3 weeks from raw script to finished product. It was a race, but we made it, thanks above all to a well-oiled workflow and years of experience. This video explains why two conventions supported and promoted by ILO are so important to social security, and why they need to be more widely ratified by states around the world.
FMC wanted an animated explainer video to allow visitors to its HQ in Geneva to learn about safety and security rules. We advised our client to go for an alternative video concept, with in-situ re-enactments, hosted by a presenter to drive home the key points. We used motion tracking techniques and motion design to make the video more visually compelling and dynamic.
Create an explainer video for a transition to a better world. That, in a nutshell, is the challenge that the Department of Industry and Innovation at EPFL gave us. The idea was to explain, through animation, that the economy and society in general, remains far too linear these days.
IUCN mandated SmartCuts Creative to produce a series of videos explaining the NGO’s Restoration Barometer, a tool used by environment ministries and other actors worldwide to gauge how their efforts to restore nature in their countries are going.
Explainer Video Gallery
Explainer video case study
ILO Explainer Video
Video explainer for ILO
ILO’s Social Protection Department and SmartCuts have a long history of successful collaboration. It began with a video combined with animation to commemorate the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, and to promote workers rights in the textile industry. That was back in 2015. Almost a decade later, we’re still at it, this time producing a video explainer on two conventions supported and promoted by ILO, showcasing why they are so important to social security, and why they need to be more widely ratified by states around the world.
Going from script to storyboard for such abstract concepts as social security is never a mean feat. All the more so when, as the Chinese say, “You are drawing without an eraser.” For this production, ILO allowed us three weeks. We simply had no time to get it wrong. The team at SOCPRO, as the department concerned is called, knew they could count on us to turn this around in time. In a production with such a tight timeline, cooperation is key.
The ILO team was great at providing clear and timely input, which really helped us each step of the way. For explainer videos dealing with such complex and relatively esoteric subjects, the main thing you want to do is to make sure the script is clear and concise. There’s no point stuffing masses of information into a 2-3 minute video, which then becomes so dense that most viewers either tune out or simply bail out. The whole balancing act is to explain without getting to technical or thorough.
Getting a script like that approved in a week is nothing short of a miracle, escpially given the sensitivities and the need to include a lot in very little time. It was only thanks to the ILO task force’s reactivity and our experience doing video explainers of this sort that, together, we were able to pull it off. Then came the storyboarding: making sure all graphics we were intending to animate were suitable , original and complex enough to show quality, but not so much that 2 weeks would simply not suffice.
We worked hard and focused to make sure not an hour was lost to inefficiency. SmartCuts Creative produces many animated explainers a year, for both the public and private sectors. When deadlines are short, that experience really pays off. Once again, it all came together in the nick of time, and we were able to chalk up another successful production for ILO. The video explainers we do for this UN agency are not just limited to animation. The second sample in this case study shows one of three explainer videos we produced based on footage we ordered from video production companies abroad and edited here in Switzerland.
Video explainer case study
FMC Video explainer
Explainer video for FMC
FMC International, headquartered in Geneva, reached out to SmartCuts to produce a series of security video explainers. The goal was to inform visitors on emergency procedures to follow in and around the building, as well as staff.
Initially, FMC wanted an animation, but we felt that many scenarios could be communicated more clealry using video. FMC followed our advice and were happy with the video explainers they got. The challenge with security videos like this one is to keep the budget under control, all the while needing to hire quite a few actors. To limit cost, we used FMC staff, as well as crew members from SmartCuts.
Location scouting is also important to make sure that you don’t waste time on the day of the shoot trying to figure out where it might be best to shoot this or that scene, dealing with sunlight coming through the windows and so on.
To break up the video into modules, of sorts, we opted for a concept that had a presenter taking us through the various phases and places where security procedures needed explaining. By shooting these scenes on a green-screen we were then able to insert graphical elements to simulate buttons being pressed to activate various parts of the video.
Video explainer case study
EPFL Animated video explainer
Explainer animation for EPFL
One of the key ways in which the economy can be made more circular, and therefore sustainable, is to revolutionize the use we make of the billions of data collected every day.
A team at Lausanne’s Federal University, EPFL, proposed to make a better world by harnessing the internet of things and linking it to a giant brain of sorts.
Instead of exploiting data to almost exclusively commercial ends, we should envisage a center of artificial intelligence, a brain, that can coordinate and facilitate the countless possible interactions between the different objects that surround us and which serve us in our day to day. day. This animated explainer aims to simplify the message and promote the basic concept. As with all good video explainers, this animation is a gateway to the topic, not a detailed explanation.
The EPFL team who commissioned this animated explainer understood this well: it is first of all a question of captivating the target audience, of capturing their attention, and then of telling them about it. We spent a lot of time on the storyboard and the script, to create a compact, clear and accessible storyline. It’s not easy when you tackle such abstract and complicated concepts.
But EPFL trusted us, and we are grateful to them. The animated film took a long time to make with Covid-19, but the patience and persistence paid off. Here it is finished and already put to good use by the Industry and Innovation team at EPFL. SmartCuts Creative makes a lot of videos and animated films like this, to explain, promote and raise awareness.
Explainer video case study
Animated explainer video
Explainer video for IUCN
The Restoration Barometer is an online tool developed by the nature conservarion secretariat IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It’s purpose is to help environment ministries in countries around the world assess the status of their own state’s efforts at protecting nature.
Much of the content in these videos relies on screen capture of the platform itself, as the main purpose is to help users figure it out and use it to optimal effect. To avoid things looking to dry and dull, however, we suggested putting in animated introductions for each explainer video, which focuses, in turn, on a different aspect of the restoration barometer platform.
These introductions were done in 2D motions graphics to illustrate the voice over. The imagery had to be carefully throughout for sometimes fairly abstract concepts, which is a challenge we regularly face producing such video explainers. So we’re used to it, and our producers are adept at coming up with creative ideas to make complicated notions come to life and come across clearly.
IUCN is a long-standing client of SmartCuts Creative’s. The NGO often comes to us for video production and animation, as well as live event coverage and other communications services.
Video explainers – what are they?
An explainer video is a short film that aims to communicate how something works in a simple and engaging way. They are typically used as marketing videos to demonstrate the benefits of a product or service and to boost sales or sign-ups.
They are also excellent for informational and educational purposes; to convey ideas, concepts or company protocols such as health and safety training and guidance. A marketing-based explainer video typically lasts between 45 and 90 seconds and will use a snappy conversational script and an appealing visual style to capture the viewers’ attention. The two main types of explainer video are:
This is the most common form used with digital tools making this an affordable option for organizations of all sizes.
Live-action video explainers
This is a more traditional approach with videos being filmed using real people, objects and locations. This could be as simple as somebody talking to the camera and demonstrating a product or service. Or it can be something more creative that uses humour or a particular movie or theme to get the message across.
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