Explainer Videos with Fast Turnaround

We’ve made our share of explainer videos with fast turnaround and it can be a wild, exciting ride, that’s for sure! On one hand, you have rock-solid deadlines like conference speeches and product launches. On the other hand, it’s a high-stakes game where quality, timeline, and (often) cost are simultaneously important factors. Below we share a few experiences and suggestions that will hopefully come in handy if you’re thinking of creating a video quickly.

But first, a quick Piehole video to shamelessly advertise our ability to create videos on a tight deadline…


What is a fast turnaround for an explainer video?

To explain, for a good quality brand piece, FAST means 3-4 weeks for a 60-second animated video. Assuming that the studio has the capacity to take on such a tight deadline job. Contrarily, a normal timeframe is something like 7-10 weeks at many shops. Next, we have high-end big-budget videos, the regular timeline is even longer at 12-16 weeks if for example there is 3D, cel-animation, very detailed illustration, or complex character work is needed. As you can see, the timeline is very dependent on the style and length of your video. So best to keep that in mind too 🙂

We know the timeframe may seem shocking, but keep in mind creating a custom design and animation is a super time-consuming task. Which may include lots of revisions and discussions across many stages in the production. Next up we’ll share some tips on how you can create explainer videos with fast turnaround:


Explainer videos with fast turnaround

How to make a video quickly

Below are our top tips for making it happen on a tight turnaround.

  1. Budget: as a good general rule, it’s best not to push on price, timing, and quality all at the same time. So always keep some spare budget in your back pocket and upfront. That way your creator can invest the time needed to make you a kickass explainer video with a fast turnaround.
  2. Speed of Feedback: you need to be able to provide quick, preferably same-day feedback at each step of the production. Bigger teams tend to take a little longer when it comes to feedback, so always make sure everyone has the same schedule. And adheres to it! That way meetings can be scheduled ahead of time, and delays can somewhat be avoided.
  3. Clever Scripting: it’s best to script up fewer, simpler visuals so that these can be polished better. For example, avoiding the use of too many unnecessary animated characters. This doesn’t mean it needs to look cheap, it just means you need to be wise about where the effort gets spent. See our article on scriptwriting for some ideas.
  4. Pick an Experienced Creator: your creator needs a range of skills and resources at their disposal. In other words, they need people who can fix problems and write smart scripts. Of course, having a pool of talented designers and animators to ensure availability and to pivot in case of issues, won’t hurt!
  5. Get Moving: choosing the right creator is important. But at the same time, making that decision is important too. Don’t take too long to award the job, because every half-day matters on a tight deadline!


The importance of team

The behind-the-scenes stuff makes all the difference when it comes to rush productions. As a creator, a friendly attitude is essential for keeping voiceovers, sound engineers, and others on your side when you need something in a hurry. A good team also needs a deep talent pool, very deep… It may be necessary to use multiple creatives on a job in a rush production – even the best creatives miss the brief sometimes! At Piehole.TV we have our in-house team of producers, writers, designers, and animators to rely on. That way we can put multiple people on a job if things get hairy.

the Piehole.TV team


Don’t push it if you don’t have to

Don’t add a deadline to a project if it’s not 100% necessary. And by 100% necessary, we mean a product launch date, conference, scheduled event, etc. Those are set deadlines. A deadline based on a promise you made your boss, now that is not 100% necessary 🙂 Open communication about the deadline is recommended – and encouraged! Because certain decisions will have been made differently if there was more time. For example, putting a more suitable designer/animator/etc on the project. Experienced creators know that the quality of a video is often baked in during the scripting and design/animation decision stage. Therefore, if a client finds more time at the last minute then this won’t help the creative as much as if the time was available from the start.


Why does making a video take so long?

More than 150 hours of work go into making an explainer video. Plus, there are multiple client reviews at every step of the production. Here’s what a typical schedule looks like:

  1. Scripting: 1-2 weeks (1-4 days for 1st draft, the rest for client reverts).
  2. Style frames: 0.5 – 2 weeks (2-3 days for the first draft, the rest for edits).
  3. Voiceover: 1 week (can run concurrently to style frames; 1-3 days for casting, the rest for recording and reviews).
  4. Storyboard: 1-3 weeks (1 week for 1st draft, 1-2 weeks for reviews).
  5. Animation: 2-3 weeks (1 week for 1st draft, 1-2 weeks for reviews).
  6. Sound design: a few days (1-2 days for first options, 1-2 days to finish).

It’s worth noting that there are about 12 review cycles in a typical production (2 for each of the 6 stages). These reviews are sometimes combined but even so, there are 12 decision points. So if there are a lot of decision-makers on the client side it’s easy to see how production can get bogged down. Especially if some stakeholders are only consulted at the end of the production.


Reasons for making a video on a tight turnaround

There are many reasons why you might need a video with a short turnaround time. These include:

  1. A looming conference date
  2. An important meeting or presentation
  3. Product launch
  4. Scheduled campaign launch


What are the limits creatively?

It is a reality that certain of the more funky things take longer to make than others. For example, complex 3D work or cel animation (frame-by-frame) requires more work. Most types of videos won’t need these things, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

What companies make explainer videos with fast turnaround?

The crazy kind! Ok, we’re just kidding… sort of. Most professional video production houses will create videos quickly if needed, as will many freelancers. It’s advisable to use someone who’s made a lot of videos. Hence, having a solid proven process with a large pool of talent to draw from. It’s also a good idea to ask to see videos that they have made quickly in the past. That way you can compare different videos from different explainer video producers.

Examples of explainer videos with fast turnarounds

Here at Piehole.TV we love a tight deadline and have a lot of experience creating explainer videos in short amounts of time. Below are a few videos from our portfolio that we created with a fast turnaround:


In conclusion

Okay, so making good-quality explainer videos with fast turnaround is possible. Although, there are a few pointers to keep in mind, as discussed above. Get in touch to discuss your project today, no matter the deadline! Furthermore, if you are looking for inspiration and video examples, head on over to our YouTube page or portfolio page for some inspiration.