Creating an animation, app or edugame is mainly a matter of expertise and production time. Unlike the development of physical products, no budget is needed for materials, since an animation is created digitally and will be delivered online as well. We can even do without paper, prints, CDs, DVDs or couriers!
So what do the production costs consist of? Well, various experts take part in a project. Upfront, a work breakdown structure of a particular project is set up, to list the amount of working hours or days that will be needed to complete all tasks. These include:
– a kick-off meeting (conference call or live meeting), in which a project manager and, at times, also a copywriter is involved;
– copywriting and storyboarding, by a copywriter;
– voice-over recording, including the fee for the voice talent and the costs for studio reservation and sound engineering;
– photo or video recording, if needed, including the fee for the actors (in case of storytelling), studio reservation, photo or video equipment, and editing/montage production costs;
– creation of design, illustrations and animation, by a creative team;
– development of a technical framework or IT-platform, connection to a client’s LMS, creation of a specific player or various versions of the final animation, all done by an IT team.
Now, an animation is developed in these subsequent phases.
If the content is not exactly outlined at the start of the project, an analysis might be needed to extract the essential messages to be conveyed. This analysis phase might take one or more working days, depending on the amount of content that is provided and on necessary live meetings with various stakeholders.
Next, the storyboarding phase refers to the amount of time to write a script (voice-over text, outline of all content) and a storyboard (including visuals and animation instructions), which is the blueprint for the animation. You can compare it to the detailed plans that an architect creates, and needs to have approved before the actual construction of the building starts.
Voice-over recordings and possible photo or video shoots can vary in a wide range of costs: they depend on the use of unknown or famous voice talents, actors versus internal employees, indoor or outdoor shoots on the company’s premises, in a studio or on location, role playing scenes versus video testimonials, …
The creation and development of the animation itself is apt to the style of the preferred visualization and animation. An animation that explains how an application works (viz. a demo based on screenshots) or what a new strategy or product stands for (viz. an animation based on icons, illustrations or photos) might need less time to develop than a cartoon animation (for example to show business use cases), a video that contains live shot scenes, a 3D animation, or an app, edugame or animation containing advanced interactivity (personalization, assessments, info screens etc), to name only a few possibilities.
And finally, programming work regarding additional formatting of the animation or video to be delivered (for use on pc only via an intranet, YouTube, HD expo screens, a particular LMS), and possible platform set-up and hosting by the animation provider must also be taken into account.
As you can see, there’s no such default budget for an animation or a video, as you cannot define a budget for a movie either, or to continue the architectural comparison, for the construction of a house. Depending on the content, the size (duration in terms of video), the visualization and animation style, the amount of features, the deliverables etc, a detailed custom work breakdown structure is created, in order to calculate a realistic offer for your request.
And vice versa of course: if you ask an architect to design and have a house built for you within a fixed budget, he or she will verify in detail what is feasible and create a proposal that meets your needs.