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Behind The Scenes: Our New Homepage Video

At Demo Duck, we create all types of business video, like explainer videos, tutorial videos, educational videos, the list goes on and on. But a majority of the corporate videos we create end up finding their way to the homepage of our clients’ website.

When it comes to creating video content for ourselves, we’ve been pretty consistent at creating video blogs that discuss topics we feel passionate about or that convey info we want to share with the world. And of course, we’ve always had a homepage video of our own, and the one below served us very well over the years.

Though the above homepage video explains what we do very well, earlier this year we started to feel that it short-changed our offerings a bit. As mentioned earlier, we have outgrown producing solely explainer videos. We’re now focused on creating long-term partnerships with our clients- producing multiple videos and helping them form a video roadmap.

Of course, we still create explainer videos on a regular basis, but we wanted to change the perception that we’re just an “explainer video company.” So what better way to start than producing a new homepage video for ourselves? Well, that’s exactly what we did.

The Strategy

Just like we request our clients do when beginning an explainer video, we filled out a creative brief to clearly outline the objectives and vision of this new homepage video. A few key goals outlined in that brief are copied below:

  1. Convey we are a video partner and not just a video vendor
  2. Show how video can be used for a variety of business initiatives
  3. Demonstrate we can create videos in different visual styles
  4. Keep our brand voice alive and make it fun to watch

With those goals in mind, we began brainstorming different conceptual approaches in order to accomplish them all. The most difficult part of that ideation period was trying to cover those first three business-oriented objectives while still keeping the fourth playful point in mind.

homepage video, animated homepage video, homepage explainer video

After a bit of brainstorming, the whole team got behind the plan to create a mixed media video that featured a catchy tune throughout. (Full Disclosure: we had pitched some song-based concepts to clients early this year that were passed on, so it was a good excuse to finally execute on one of them).

The lyrical content would accomplish goals one and two, the mixed media visual approach would accomplish goal three, and having an upbeat song would accomplish goal four. It was the perfect solution for engaging and educating viewers.

The Process

For the first step of production, we took a couple of passes at the lyrics (some early passes at them were quite eye-roll inducing…). But after a few unwanted live performances to the office, we eventually had the lyrics generally finalized.

Some of us here play music, but we wouldn’t consider ourselves musicians per se, so we relied on the talented Andrew Ecklund to arrange these lyrics into a catchy and fully constructed song. Starting with an acoustic version, tweaking some lyrics along the way, and soon padding it all out with more instruments – we went from words in a Google doc to a full on track.

homepage video, animated homepage video, homepage explainer video

Now that the song was complete, it was time to get to design and animation. So we shot a message over to the wonderful Jorge Estrada to help with the art direction on the piece. Given that we wanted some stop motion, 3D animation, line art, and a variety of other styles, we knew he had the artistic skills and community connections to make this dream a reality.

In order to ensure that we were featuring enough different styles throughout the homepage video, we assigned each lyric of the song to a different visual approach. Crafting these style frames helped us see how we’d progress across the visuals and make sure we were still having a good time while doing so.

After the frames were signed off on, it was time for the most time consuming yet exciting part – animation! Since the dream team assembled had a variety of style preferences, skill sets, and availability, we broke up the work by scene. Which means we didn’t take a linear approach to adding motion to the piece, but this flexibility benefitted us in the long run. We didn’t want to sacrifice quality for speed and do not regret that choice.

Once all the moving parts were assembled, we had Ecklund polish off the song from a few weeks earlier, got Humberto Corte to add the sound effects, and we had ourselves an amazing video.

The Result

With the above video now finished, it was now time to share it with the world. The obvious first move was swapping it in for our former homepage video. Wistia makes it easy to do so and just like that we were live.

From there, we uploaded it to Vimeo and saw a lot of traction within that community. There are a few key reasons we believe we experienced high views and engagement there:

  1. We had a large creative team work on it and they helped share it through their channels
  2. The quality caught the eye of a lot of popular animation playlists/sites that reshared it
  3. It wasn’t overly explain-y or trying to sell people too hard on Demo Duck

I want to make sure to say a few things about that last point. It’s not easy to spend money on a video and only mention your company one time and in the last five seconds no less. But the way we see it, if someone is watching this on our homepage they’re already interested in us, so maybe they’ll learn about some new type of business video they could make and we’ve then created a potential partner that didn’t exist previously.

homepage video, animated homepage video, homepage explainer video

By making the primary message of our piece that “Video Can Accomplish Any Mission”, we made it more shareable by anyone in the industry, even some of our competitors. Besides we think that if more businesses are making video, with us or someone else, we all benefit. A rising video tide raises all production ships if you will.

The Lesson

We are extremely proud of the video we’ve created but there are some things we may have done differently. Perhaps we could have touched on our production process a little or incorporated a live action scene. But as we all hopefully can learn from this new homepage video, we don’t have to stop creating videos just because your homepage one is finished.

We’re currently (and constantly) creating videos that answer common questions we hear, dissolve concerns voiced by clients, or are inspired by those around us. The most important element in all of this is to create a video you’re excited by that also accomplishes the goals you’ve laid out.

Thanks to everyone who worked on, viewed or shared our video. We love what we do and hope our video inspires a few people out there to start/keep creating video too!

Written by Colin Hogan
Colin is the Managing Director at Demo Duck, a Chicago-based video production company, who has a deep obsession with making videos as often as possible. Follow Demo Duck on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.