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Step-by-Step Process of Creating an Effective Explainer Video

Step by Step Process of Creating an Effective Explainer Video

Explainer videos have become an extremely popular and effective marketing tool in recent years. Their ability to quickly and clearly demonstrate complex products, services, or ideas makes them the perfect medium for companies looking to educate and persuade potential customers.

However, creating an impactful explainer video requires careful planning and execution. There are several key steps in the production process that cannot be skipped if you want a high-quality, effective end result. In this article, we will walk through the anatomy of creating a professional explainer video from start to finish.

I.Pre- Production

Defining Goals and Identifying Target Audience

The first step when undertaking any video project should always be to clearly define your goals. What exactly are you hoping to achieve with this video? Common goals for explainer videos include:

  • Educating viewers on a complex product or service
  • Increasing brand awareness or visibility
  • Explaining a concept, idea, or process step-by-step
  • Promoting a specific offering or call-to-action

Once you know why you are creating this video, you can shape the rest of the production process to support that goal.

You also need to identify who your target audience is. Explainer videos allow you to speak directly to your ideal customer base. Define that viewer demographic as specifically as possible, including details like:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Industry/profession
  • Income level
  • Interests and behaviours

Understanding your target audience’s potential knowledge gaps, motivations, and concerns will help you craft video content they can relate to and respond to.

Researching the Topic

The foundation of any great explainer video is the information it contains. Before a single scene can be storyboarded or image created, extensive research on the topic needs to be completed.

If explaining a conceptual idea, consult experts in the field through books, reports and case studies. External validation builds important credibility. Track down data points and statistics from reputable sources to back up claims.

In addition to gathering raw information, analysing top-performing competitors’ videos during the research process can provide valuable insight into explanatory techniques. Look for what engagement tactics they use, what questions they answer and apply relevant takeaways to your own script.

Identifying The Story Arc & Key Messages

At this point, you will have pages and pages of research notes. All that information now needs to be distilled into a compelling story arc with defined plot points and a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Start by crystallising the specific key messages you need to convey to achieve your original goals. Prioritise the 2-3 most important facts, topics, or ideas that must come across for viewers to gain necessary understanding.

Then determine the optimal sequence to present those key messages for maximum clarity and retention. Consider weaving in elements of storytelling to take audiences on an informational yet engaging journey. Use the elements of drama – establishing a protagonist who faces obstacles and conflicts that ultimately get resolved.

Fleshing out a full narrative arc is a creative endeavour that brings together all the research data within a framework.

Scriptwriting Around Visuals

With key messages defined and a viable story arc in place, it is time to put words down on paper with the actual script writing process. But unlike conventional scripts, explainer video scripts need to be highly visual in nature. The scripts are written to the visuals, not the other way around.

The script’s language should avoid overly complex sentences in favour of concise, easily comprehensible commentary. While precise runtime will be determined in the next production phase, generally aim to keep explainer video scripts between 150-450 words. This translates to roughly 90 seconds to 3 minutes when read aloud at a moderate pace.

Storyboarding the Visual Scenes

To translate the script into an actionable video production plan, the next phase is storyboarding. This involves sketching out graphical representations of the exact sequence of video scenes, key text/graphic overlay placements, potential camera movements, transitions across multiple panels.

Storyboard essentially creates the visual blueprint that captures how information will flow across the video when paired with narration. Each new storyboard panel should directly align with a portion of script commentary, serving as a guide for production. This intensive planning phase is crucial for explainer video creation. Fully built-out storyboards also facilitate delegation, allowing animators, graphic artists, videographers etc. to work in parallel filling in their respective visual pieces..

II. Production

With detailed storyboards in hand, multiple production processes now kick off in parallel.

Script Narration Recording

The foundational audio track with the voiceover narration must be recorded first, as it guides editing and synchronisation across other visual elements layered on top. Hire professional voiceover talent capable of delivering script commentary with appropriate energy and presence in a dedicated recording studio.

Motion Graphic Animation

Talented 2D and 3D artists and animators transform storyboards into eye-catching moving images on screen. They skillfully bring complex processes, changes, and reactions to life through motion, creating unique and stylized visual stories. This not only makes interactions, data flows, and environments more interesting but also allows creative control in showing detailed settings.

Typography and Graphic Design

Typography and graphic design are critical for communication. Full-frame text overlaid on visuals highlights key messages, while more subtle captions, pull quotes, data labels and text elements enrich the narrative. Expert graphic designers create striking, informative infographics like charts, tables, and diagrams that align to the brand’s style to vividly and memorably convey information.

Photography and Videography

Incorporating custom photography and videography into explainer videos enriches the viewer’s experience by visually showcasing the products or scenarios that are directly related to the content. Custom photography and videography vividly captures the essence of the subject matter, making complex ideas more accessible and relatable.

Stock Media Licensing

For additional environments and situations needing more variety than custom visual creation, the animation studios might licence stock photo/video libraries to fill any gaps.


After collecting all base video clips, motion graphics, drawings, typography, photography and other visual assets from the different production processes above, the explainer video studio expertly joins together all imagery into cohesive scenes in post production.

Assembly and Rough Cut

Post-production begins with the assembly of all raw materials—footage, voiceovers, graphics, and music—into a rough cut. This sets the foundation for the narrative flow, establishing the sequence of scenes. Editors meticulously align audio narration with corresponding visuals for a logical progression of information. The rough cut is less about precision and more about placing the building blocks of the story in order.

Timing and Pacing Adjustments

With the rough cut in place, attention shifts to refining the timing and pacing of the video. This involves adjusting the duration of each scene. It’s crucial that viewers have enough time to absorb the information presented. Editors use this phase to establish a rhythm that keeps the audience engaged, utilising techniques such as cutting on action and matching scene transitions to narrative beats.

Visual Enhancements

Once the timing is set, the focus moves to visual enhancements. This includes adding motion graphics to bring static images to life etc. Editors also implement graphical transitions—such as fades, wipes, and whip pans—to smoothly move from one scene to the next. These visual touches are not merely aesthetic; they play a pivotal role in reinforcing the video’s message and maintaining viewer interest.

Sound Design and Music

Sound design is a critical component of post-production, involving the selection of background music, sound effects, and ambient sounds. The right soundtrack enhances the emotional impact of the video, helping in engagement without distracting from the narration. Sound effects are added to emphasise key points and transitions ,immersing the viewer in the content. The audio elements must be balanced carefully, ensuring clarity of the voiceover while enriching the storytelling.

Color Correction and Grading

Colour correction and grading creates visual consistency across the explainer video, particularly important for footage sourced from different cameras or lighting conditions. This step adjusts colour temperatures and exposure, and enhances contrast to achieve a uniform look. Colour grading can also be used creatively to evoke specific emotions or highlight certain aspects of the video.

Final Edits and Calls-to-Action

In the final editing phase, the video undergoes a meticulous review to polish transitions, narration alignment, and refine visual effects. Editors also insert calls-to-action (CTAs) at strategic points, guiding viewers towards the next steps, whether it’s visiting a website, signing up for a service, or learning more about a product.

Review and Feedback

Before finalising the video, it’s shared with stakeholders for review and feedback. This may lead to further refinements, ensuring the video meets the expectations. Incorporating feedback is essential for achieving a product that accurately represents the brand and resonates with the target audience.

Read more about different types of explainer videos