What makes an explanatory film successful?

Me at the zoo - the history of YouTube began with this film in 2005. None of the founders had any idea at the time that it would usher in a new era of communication. Moving pictures are increasingly replacing the written word. Printed instruction manuals are dying out, software tutorials are replacing training courses and the binomial formula is easier to check on video than in a maths book.

At the same time, the smartphone ushered in the era of the prosumer. Literally anyone could suddenly produce films with little effort and publish them immediately. This explains the great differences in quality. But what makes a good explainer film?

First of all, there is the relevance, or more simply, the expectation of the audience. You can easily observe this in yourself. Apart from the annoying advertising credits, you expect concise, well-founded information. This means that the film text – whether written or spoken – is well researched, easy to understand, but not too long. Because it is only a small step from precise to boring, and the target group’s attention budget is quickly used up.

Secondly, if one is honest, one expects not only information but also entertainment, i.e. a minimum of emotion. This can come from the story, the protagonist, the images or the music. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, perceptual habits are changing rapidly with the rising tide of explainer videos. Cheap off-the-shelf films with hands waving through the picture and funny illustrations were attractive at first. Soon, however, the concept wore out because the films were confusingly similar. In other words: individuality is the key. And that starts with a good script.

In essence, then, it’s about good dramaturgy. It is older than the craft of film and surprisingly constant in linear media. But it takes a lot of experience to make it work in films.

The technology has almost become a secondary matter. But even though cameras for a professional look and film software have become affordable for many today, they do not operate themselves. If you want to work effectively and to the point, the task quickly becomes a full-time job. So it’s more worthwhile to hire professionals.

This applies to all formats of the explanatory film, because by no means do you always have to take a camera in your hand for this:

Graphic animation comes into its own wherever complex or abstract contexts are involved. It ranges from simple 2D graphics to complex 3D worlds.

Typo-animations, also known as “kinetic typography” in English, make the typeface even heroic: with fluid connections, timed to music, they combine words into streams of thought that turn a reading text into a small work of art.

Tutorials and screencasts are particularly suitable for software instructions. You can easily make them yourself and use them as the basis for an explanatory film.

So if you meet the audience’s expectations in terms of information and entertainment, get to the heart of film texts, develop an individual, dramaturgically polished story and master the necessary technology for recording, graphics and post-production, you don’t need us. Otherwise, we’ll be happy to help.

Oh yes, didn’t we report above about the first film ever on Youtube? Click here for the film that made media history.

What’s the next step?

For a personal consultation, feel free to contact me at any time.

Mirja Ng-Metzker

Client Relations Manager