Before jumping into explainer video planning, let's spend a few minutes defining exactly what we mean by "explainer video".

What is an Explainer Video?

The folks over at CommonCraft (arguably the most well known explainer video producers) suggest that explainer videos are:

"... short, animated videos with a specific goal: understanding.  They use clear and concise language along with entertaining and useful visuals. The video format can serve as a near-perfect package for presenting ideas, products and services in a form that not only explains, but attracts attention." (Source)

Explainer videos help you understand something. That something is usually a concept, idea, or process. A how-to video is a cousin of explainer videos. A how-to video helps you do something while an explainer video helps you understand something. Having said that, there is a bit of grey area in between and I for one will not fault anyone for calling a how-to video an explainer video or vice versa.

In the planning stage you should identify the type of video you are aiming for. Will you be helping your audience understand an idea or will you be helping them understand how to do something more tangible?

What is Your Intention?

One thing that should be considered in that the intent of the explainer video makes a difference. The intention can be educational or marketing - to teach or to sell. In this micro-course we'll focus on educational explainer videos. The 4 step process of planning, pre-production, production, and post-production is the same for both. The differences are:

1. the intent (educating or marketing), and 

2. the ideal length. 

For marketing purposes, an explainer video should not be longer than 3 minutes and even that is stretching it - 90 seconds seems to be the sweet spot.

For educational explainer videos you have a bit more leeway and the current thinking is that you can go up to about 10 minutes. Anything over 5 minutes had better be super cool and interesting though!

A foundation

Finally, let's take a look at an educational explainer video example that offers an explanation of Mayer's Principles of Multimedia Design. These principles provide a solid foundation to guide your explainer video creation process. After you watch the video feel free to head over to the forum and say hello and post any thoughts you have so far :-)



Mayer's Theory of Multimedia Learning - Dr. Kacz