While live-action productions have been hugely impacted by the pandemic, an area of content production that has more easily weathered the new regulations is animation. Thanks to today’s tools, so many of the tasks associated with animation - from developing the assets to be animated, to recording voice-overs - can easily be done remotely.
The relative “COVID-proof” nature of animation can certainly be seen in a quote that The Simpsons’ producer Al Jean gave to Entertainment Weekly, saying: “Everybody’s trying to figure out how to do animation now … if [you’re] designing something to be done remotely, animation is the perfect thing.”
The benefits of animation during the pandemic go much further than just convenience, though. Here are a few ways in which animated content has proven really useful to addressing the problems of the last twelve months.
Some of the biggest challenges of the pandemic have related to education. Thankfully, there has been a wealth of content available to make remote learning for school pupils and university students that little bit easier. BBC Teach - the BBC’s free resources for primary and secondary pupils - has many great examples that show just how much animation can contribute to education; from helping to visually illustrate the many layers that make up a musical composition, to bringing history to life.
Generally, animation is just an excellent tool for helping people to digest complicated ideas. This is something that we’ve long understood at Ember - employing an in-house animator to work on videos such as, for example, our series of explainer videos aimed at prospective international students; and the videos that our sister company, Regis Media, produces to promote a wider public understanding of finance and investing.
As useful as tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been in allowing content producers like us to conduct interviews remotely, these tools certainly lack what a professional set-up gives us in terms of visual fidelity and the ability to shoot from more interesting angles.
While under lockdown restrictions, we found that animation could provide us with creative ways of working with remotely-filmed video to liven it up and to make it that little bit more visually engaging.
Using footage of a video call with Helen Lancaster from Foehn - a recent client of ours - we were able to use animation to great effect in the below testimonial video; framing it within an animated video chat program that gave us the opportunity to simultaneously showcase short clips from the videos that that we had worked on with the company.
The biggest advantage of animation is simply its versatility. There are all kinds of animation styles out there - from more simple motion graphics that can get a message across relatively efficiently, to the bigger and more visually ambitious projects that can truly dazzle and capture a viewers’ attention.
Talking to The Drum, content marketer Alex Black puts it brilliantly:
“[In light of COVID restrictions,] we’re seeing more brands are open to giving animation a try. However, what they don’t realise yet is that animation is often the best solution for their brief. It’s a wonderful format that allows us to tell complex stories, which might not be very visually interesting, in a simple and engaging way.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Ember’s animation expertise and how we might be able to help you, feel free to check out our animation showreel below and get in touch with us via our contact page.