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When people think of explainer videos, they often think of images. But visuals are only half of what makes an explainer video effective. The script used in an explainer video plays a pivotal role; without the audio, nothing is being explained! Here is a breakdown of why the audio in an explainer video is so important.
An explainer video stimulates audio and visual senses simultaneously, helping viewers retain information longer and more effectively. In order for an explainer video to work, the visuals need to be simple and clear, but more importantly, the audio needs to be easy to understand.
That’s right; in an explainer video, the audio is more important than the images.
Think about it for a moment: an explainer video’s job is to take a concept that is normally a bit challenging to explain and break it down simply in a minute. The visuals are important because they reinforce what is being explained, but the script is key. If the script is too complicated, then the audio is impossible to understand. In that case, the visuals don’t matter because no one will watch the explainer video all the way through, let alone absorb and understand the information.
An explainer video can still work with OK visuals, but it cannot function with an OK script.
“Convoluted prose is all well and good in a Dickens novel, but there is no time for it in an explainer video.”
The audio in an explainer video is important, and good audio starts with a great script. Some companies are tempted to use the script to show off an immense vocabulary, but the best scripts actually do the opposite.
Convoluted prose is all well and good in a Dickens novel, but there is no time for it in an explainer video. Literally. An explainer video is about sixty seconds, and the most effective examples use the audio to simplify ideas rather than making them more complicated. That means using a vocabulary that doesn’t require an advanced degree in English literature.
Consider this explainer video for Event Sprout, a company that developed an event planning software that can be scaled up or down to plan events of any size. You can see from the video that this is a great script: The narrator does not use a lot of high-concept jargon, and utilizing metaphors by calling it “event ticketing with a human touch” is informative and illustrates the concept they were trying to get across without needing an image. Images enhance the video, but the audio still makes sense without the video.
A lot rides on the script for an explainer video; you have about 60 seconds to spell out something that is hard to explain. In order to break down something that usually needs pages of exposition, the script needs to be perfect, and that starts with trimming the fat.
The best explainer videos get to the point and are easy to understand, so it signifies that the typed script should be, too. An ideal script is quite short – think half a page or less – it uses clear and concise language. Without any images or context, you should be able to hand the script to a person and have them read and understand it. If a person reads it and has no idea what you’re talking about, that’s a problem.
An explainer video’s job is to clearly lay out the product to the point that the viewer should be able to turn around and explain the product to someone else. All of that begins with the script.
Think about the movie “Inception” for a moment. Imagine trying to summarize the plot of the movie to someone who has never heard of it. It’s hard to do; you probably find yourself saying something like “it makes sense once you watch it.”
Now, think about “Toy Story 3,” which came out the same year. Both movies are fairly high-concept, but you can probably summarize the plot to “Toy Story 3” in less than two sentences without any problems.
Ironically, even though “Toy Story 3” is animated, it relies less on visuals to illustrate its point than “Inception” does, making it easier to explain.
The script needs to make sense at first glance with no additional context. If you need to add images for a person to understand it, then revisit the script.
Remember: images are important, but they are not the most important aspect of an explainer video. Use images to enhance your explainer video, but rely on a good script more than great visuals.
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