Product videos… or product animations?

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then movies or videos must surely be worth a 1,000 pictures.

Most of us recognise that videos or movies (live footage or CGI animations) are a powerful medium for promoting or explaining building products and systems.

A movie or videos can show how a product is made, how it interfaces with other products, how it’s installed, how it’s maintained or repaired, and much more besides.

Some technical or instruction-orientated movies can both cut the volume of technical queries, and increase in sales enquiries – an excellent combination if ever there was one.

They are also fertile ‘content’ for digital marketeers and can be exported into various low and high-resolution file formats for use on social media, websites, at exhibitions etc. , offering very high marketing mileage.

The impact and resonance that movies have is not just based on ungrounded assertions, either. According to US animators Jason Yana Studios, the following facts support the use of movies in communicating product information…

  • 80% of our brains’ processing power is dedicated to visuals
  • Six parts of the brain have been shown to be dedicated to processing images
  • Just hearing something, the retention level is around 10%
  • Using an image alone, that number jumps to 35%
  • Combine the two, as you would in a movie and you now get to 60% retention!

Using movies in construction marketing

We at CDP, create a variety of movies for many of our clients.

We value the use of both video and animation (and fly-throughs) to explain product build-ups, where they can be installed – to communicate what is, at times, complex information. Often, live footage and cgi animations can be combined into a larger sequence or presentation, with captions, voice overs, effects and credits added. Is there a preferable format – cgi or live footage?

Of course, each has its own merits, according to the intended content and audience. And budget!

Live footage can ‘humanise’ your message – viewers obviously respond and empathise directly with other people in a video – so real people going through the installation process for insulation, or fire testing curtain walling, can hit the spot better than cgi, which would in any case, be much harder to create (and less convincing) for these kinds of subject material.

Live footage can be shot and edited quickly. But can also be weather dependent (where the product needs to be shown in an exterior setting), hard to schedule and for some subjects, can’t really show the intricate detail that may be needed to explain a product or process clearly.

Done without enough care (and not using professional equipment) they will look, corny, shaky unprofessional and therefore un-informative and brand-undermining.

Animations, on the other hand, can be created and story-boarded from scratch to suit the exact requirement. They can be paused and enlarged to show critical details.

They can be ahead of reality… for example, when a product is in ‘prototype’ phase – potentially still weeks away from being launched – there may be no photos, little technical data and certainly won’t be any case studies.

A cgi sequence of some kind will give visual credibility as well as powerful and dynamic information delivery. So the process of explaining and marketing can start before the product is finally resolved.

Cgi can be more flexible, more easily achieved, and be perfectly honed with elaborate focus on product detail and features, with the ability to pass through solid objects, and to emphasise relevant items or to ‘knock back’ others.

It’s also easier to produce a second, or sequence of, animations in the same series should, say, our ‘prototype’ product need to be updated or a change of colour or texture implemented.

Animation, more often then not, allows you more control, from start to finish.

CDP routinely produces product drawings in isometric or perspective formats for our clients, sometimes as part of a bigger project sometimes as a specific asset for other partners to use in their own material. We use a software package called Cinema 4D to model objects (create them in 3D) then to add realistic textures, effects and finishes such as wood, glass, even liquids etc. resulting in high-end rendered details.

Once modelled, we can change angle, lighting and viewpoint almost infinitely and then output jpeg or tiff files (and several other file formats) for our clients at whatever size and resolution they need.

More and more, we are developing these highly rendered images into animations.

The ability to zoom in, or pan back, change angle, change lighting, go into slow motion, drop through solids, travel through objects or machinery and so on, gives us the capacity to visually communicate the most complex of objects or processes, and the freedom to fly through complete built environments, pausing to pass through a wall or floor revealing a specific product of construction – of course no live footage can do this.

Forgive the pun, but it is time to get animated about movies.

The technology and platforms are all in place. With extensive construction knowledge and specialist animation skills you can promote your products in the optimal way across multiple platforms – websites, in CPDs, in apps , on USBs, on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and even in PDFs.

We know just the company to do it for you, too.


Jeremy Marks

Jeremy Marks is a Writer and Director of Communication Design Partnership, a graphic design agency which specialises in designing and producing literature and digital publishing materials, exclusively for the construction industry.

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