Over the last ten years, there has been a steady shift on the internet for news agencies and content creators to produce more video. The New York Times has been an absolute champion of this with a steady stream of well-produced documentary news shorts that have bolstered readership and helped the paper transition from a traditional news source to a multimedia powerhouse with content that rivals any broadcast news agency. Another online source that consistently blows me away with animation and visual information is Vox. They are producing some serious animated content that teaches and presents information with a high production value that is engaging and compelling for the viewer. Case in point, the video below on American / Cuban relations dating back to the 1850’s. Even if you aren’t really into history, it’s hard not to be drawn into this video and watch the entire 4 minute animated short. Why? Because it is so well done. Great visuals, solid script, smooth narration, and relevant information about a current event. Hat tip to the producers at Vox. Nicely done.
The New York Times has issued another installment of their “Modern Love” column which focuses on narrated stories about the urban relationship. This installment was produced by Minneapolis based Scott Wenner. The three-minute piece piece below was produced in just 4 weeks with a small crew of just three people including Wenner who did all of the illustration and animation for it. The look and feel truly compliments the narrative component and the audio interview that was supplied to Wenner by the New York Times. Great story telling, and really outstanding visuals. I can’t imagine pulling this off in that short a period of time.
I really like the fact that the New York Times has embraced dynamic media and is actively producing high quality video and animations for their website. They could have been like so many other publications and thought of it as secondary to the rest of their content, but they haven’t. CAse in point is the animated series “Modern Love” and the videos they have released not only to the New York Times website, but to their Vimeo channel ad other social media outlets.
The video below was released about a week ago via the Times. Directed and animated by Brookly based designer Freddy Arenas, the animated short takes the story of two individuals with a significant age difference in their relationship. Through a clever use of visual metaphors and visual illusions, the short film talks about the devotion of love in the face of adversity and challenges. The piece has a really nice look to it without taking away from the voiceover and the message the narrators set forth. Hat tip to both the New York Times, and Arenas for a job well done.
One of the really nice things about the ubiquity of high-speed internet connections being available for everything from your phone to your TV set is the fact that promotional advertising is getting better. What I mean by this is, the fact that rich content that is longer than thirty seconds is available, and offers a compelling reason to watch. Most fifteen and thirty second spots done for TV follow the same formulaic pattern, and are easily tuned out, skipped, or muted rendering them virtually worthless. People pay a ton of money to have an ad produced and shown to an audience that isn’t paying attention. The point of this being, that in the new world order of converged media, you now have the option to create a longer form of promotional advertising that is engaging, and tells a story.
Back in February Joe Donaldson released an animated short for the New York Times, that received a ton of accolades for the quality of the animation, and the story telling component. That video inspired Julie Morris at Morris Grassfed Beef to contact him about creating an animated short promoting their new online ordering system. The video that they produced goes far beyond a simple instructional promo spot. It tells a story about how Morris Grassfed Beef was started, the quality of the product, where and how they deliver, and how to order online.
Donaldson’s animation and illustrative style, combined with a great script and solid narration help to break the mold and give the audience a compelling reason to watch the entire spot. At a minute and fifteen seconds, the video below demonstrates how a longer format ad can hook and hold an audience. The cadence and flow of the spot, timed to well executed visuals and high production value show how effective storytelling can be in long format advertising.
Oh and this piece was created in 4 weeks with no revisions. A complete explanation of the work process Donaldson employed can be found on Motionographer.