Vyond is a popular platform for DIY animated videos. A Vyond video is simple, quick yet detailed enough to get the point across. I wrote a similar post about making videos when Vyond was Go Animate, but they’ve upscaled and so have I since then (if you’re looking for a guide, check out my post on how to make a Vyond Studio video).
This post gives you an overview of my personal process for making Vyond videos.
Why use Vyond to Make Videos?
“All template videos look the same!”
“Template videos hurt your brand!”
These are common criticisms people have for DIY animation video makers. There are limitations to Vyond, sure. You’re not making a custom animation video after all.
However, if your project is low budget, time-sensitive or you’re making bulk content, Vyond can be a great choice.
Low-Budget Video Option
A good subscription to Vyond is around $700. The average rate for a custom animation video starts at $1k per minute.
There is a subscription that’s about $300, but you won’t be able to remove the Vyond logo. Having Vyond’s logo on your video will definitely hurt your brand and it’s not worth saving $400.
If you genuinely don’t have the money to spend on a Vyond subscription you can either hire a freelancer (like me!) or consider non-animated video alternatives.
If you had the money to shell out for a custom animation video, I’m sure you would. But you might not be there yet, and that’s ok. Vyond is like a mid-entry job. You’re not bottom of the barrel, but you’re not making those 6 figures yet.
Even if you had the budget, you may not need to pay that price. Some videos are worth splurging on. Like your video ads targeting high-paying clients, or your homepage explainer video. These videos can have a huge return on investment making them worth the couple thousand you pay for them.
However, if you’re making an internal training video, or videos for your blog, why not? The script and the audio are more important than the visuals in a video anyway.
Videos on a Tight Deadline
Vyond videos are quicker to produce than custom animation videos because Vyond has pre-made assets and templates.
If I really needed to, I can produce a 90 second video in about 8 hours if I’m familiar with the topic. Start to finish. That includes the time it takes me to script the video, record the VO and put it all together. Not to bad! It only took me 3 years to get to this point.
I also have used Vyond enough to know what assets are available and how to achieve certain visuals. I prefer NOT to rush videos though. The biggest difference between a high-quality Vyond video and a crappy one is creativity.
Creativity takes time.
Bulk Video Content
$700 for 50+ videos is a steal. Even for 20+ video. Anyway you slice it, it’s a good investment (if Vyond matches your branding). Also, you can create templates of your own videos and reuse them to make new ones. No need to start every video from scratch.
Alrighty, now that we’ve covered why to use Vyond, let’s move on to how to make a video.
Step 1: Write a Compelling Script
The first step to creating any video is to script it. Producing a scriptless video is like shooting in the dark.
I recommend neither. One is dangerous for your branding and budget. The other…who knows what could happen. So, how do you write a video script?
Formatting a Video Script
As a scriptwriter, I write my own scripts and I use the AV format. Most people (including me when I started) picture the narrative format for scriptwriting.
This is the narrative format:
The narrative format is the film industry standard. Formatting is serious business in film. Luckily, marketing videos aren’t held to the same standards and we have the much easier to use AV script format.
It’s essentially a table with two columns.
The visual column is for anything visual and the audio side is for the music, sound effects and the dialogue. All pretty straight forward stuff.
I love scripting marketing videos in the AV format because it’s easy to use, and easy to reference in production. It’s also organized!
You can write this using a table in Google Docs/Word, an Excel sheet, or use software like Celtx. This table will come out to roughly 1 minute per page.
What do I write in my video script?
Scriptwriting is more than writing dialogue.
When you write a script, you need to plan both the dialogue and the visuals. Visual planning comes in the form of a scene description. This narrates what we (the viewer) will see. Your visuals should show us your message without being too obvious.
Let’s say your dialogue narrates “ She was on her way to the store”, your visuals should show us how she’s going to the store. Walking, biking, car?Also, is she in a good mood or annoyed? That will show on the character’s facial expression.
If you’re producing the video on your own, the scene descriptions are your plan. You may not find exactly what you need in Vyond, but you’ll have an idea to work with.
If someone else is making this Vyond video, the scene descriptions are crucial. How can they make a video if they don’t know what we’re supposed to see? They can’t. Well, they can, but the video producer is guessing.
Imagine, you write a script and your character is walking outside. In your mind, they put on a jacket because it’s cold outside. But you don’t write that into your scene description. Your video producer might think it’s summer. In fact, all scenes are set in summer. Now, they need to update the entire video.
That will cost you because you didn’t write a scene description. Write scene descriptions.
How long does it take to write a video script?
The purpose of the video, and the amount of research I need to do determine how long it takes me to script a video.
I spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days writing a script. Obviously, longer videos will take longer to write a script for. If you’re brand new to scriptwriting, budget about an hour for planning, a few hours to write and edit your draft.
Step 2: Make the Animated Video in Vyond
This step is straight forward. You make the video. Before you do this, I recommend creating a storyboard from your script.
Create a Storyboard
A storyboard is essentially an outline for your visuals and it’s based on your script.
I write a storyboard description.which is a simplified version of a scene description.Other people draw pictures, or reference images to make a storyboard. Use whatever method works best for you if you’re producing your own video.
A video agency or freelancer will generally handle the storyboard for you.
Choose a Video Style in Vyond
Vyond has 3 animation styles to choose from.
Ideally, you’ll choose your style when you write the script. I use Contemporary most often for my own videos and Business-friendly for clients.
The Business-friendly style has more assets, but I prefer the contemporary style. I like the look. The styles mix well, so you can often find an asset in the Business-friendly library and use it in other styles.
Which video style is best?
The style will come down to what your purpose and your branding are.
Whichever style you choose, the video maker will show you 1 pre-made slide to get you started.
Vyond’s video maker is similar to using PowerPoint (Slidedeck or whatever we call it these days). All 3 styles have pre-made templates you can use. I recommend checking them out to see what’s there. The more templates you use, the quicker your production will be.
Don’t rely completely on the templates though. People think Vyond looks cheap because people don’t take the time to customize the video.
Even if you’re not making a video to sell your brand, you still want to stand out.
How much can I customize my Vyond video?
You can edit most things in a scene, although there are limitations. The biggest limitation is with character movements. The characters are not good at multitasking actions or reaching for things. Be prepared to get creative with the camera frame and actions.
Sometimes you can “hack” a movement by zooming in on a character so they appear to be doing an action. You can use multiple scenes with different character actions. Together, the scenes will appear like the main movement you’re trying to show.
For example, let’s say your character needs to bend over to grab something. I crop the frame so you can only see the top part of the character. Then, I have them do a presenting movement so their arm is out, and I add a motion path down and up. It looks like they’re bending over.
Sounds complicated I know. Vyond give your creative muscles a work out sometimes. Like I said, that’s the biggest limitations, and other aspects are much easier to customize.
Their movements are hard, but changing their appearance is not.
Vyond has a character creator for the Business-friendly and whiteboard style. You can choose the body type, gender, face shape, skin tone, and even the facial features (to an extent).
Their clothes are also customizable. Use this feature to represent your target audience. People want to see characters they can relate to. It helps when your characters are of similar age, gender, ethnicity or race.
The template scenes come with props, but you might need something different. That’s where this couch icon in the top left of your screen becomes useful.
Find the prop you need, click on it and drag it into place.
What if my prop isn’t there?
Vyond lets you upload your own assets and use them in a video. So, if you don’t find the prop you need, you can just upload your own. I usually upload logos (for client videos) or vectors that I’ve created. I do also use some royalty-free vectors from Adobe Stock images.
Don’t Crowd Your Scene with Props
The props won’t make your video successful. Don’t overcrowd your scenes and get caught up on the small details.
No one is going to notice if the flowers in the office are roses or lilies.
That kind of detail should only matter if you’re making a video about flowers and gardening. Or, if your script specifically mentions the flower type.
If you do nothing else, at least add your brand colors. You can change the color for most props, and backgrounds.
Adding Movement into Long Scenes
This is a video. There should be movement. Aim for some kind of movement every 5 seconds. That could be a character moving, something entering or exiting a scene, or cut to a new scene.
Keep the video moving.
If you have long monologues, change your character’s facial expressions. You can also change the direction they’re looking and their gestures. These small additions will make your characters seem real. People move around and change their expression when they talk. Your characters need to do the same to be “real”.
It will also introduce movement into your scenes.
Changing the camera frame is another way to create movement in your Vyond video.
For example, you have a scene with two characters talking. I do a close up on each character when they’re talking.
Step 3: Voice Over
I record my voice over in Audition and cut it into smaller files. Then, I upload those files into Vyond and attach them to individual scenes. I find this way is easier to control the movements and get the timing right.
You can upload the entire VO files (if it’s small enough), but you’ll have less control over the pace. I break up my lines based on my script. Often, I’ll have one file, one slide. This isn’t always the case though. Whenever I need to “hack” a movement, I might have one audio file for 3-4 slides.
Then, I tweak the visuals so they line up with the narration.
Invest Time into Your Video
The quality of your video ultimately comes down to the time you put into it.
Don’t have time to invest into making or scripting your video? No worries, I can help you. Contact me for a free quote on your project.