Sizzle Reel Automation
Eyeview proudly identifies itself as a leader in outcome-based personalized-video marketing (with an HUGE emphasis on “outcome-based”). Efficiency is their ever sought-after goal with numerous campaigns running live on devices and new partnerships with major clients being made every week.
In order to attract clients in extending their campaign durations with Eyeview, the Sales team would present them sizzle reels — videos showcasing the highlights and accomplishments made possible using Eyeview’s video solutions. All because PowerPoint slides impress nobody.
Sellers would work extensively with the Creative team in using the right combination of key metrics, an upbeat tempo, narration, and a dash of visual flare.
A sizzle request comes in and there is a collective groan from the Creatives. After all, these animators have to contend with massive and slow After Effects files, disorganized folders, missing assets, and storyboards that were not actually storyboards but more like long text files.
On top of other pressing campaign work on his or her plate, an animator would only have a few days to churn out an entire ninety-second video. There was much stake in the success of these videos yet the process in making them sorely needed improvement.
Initial Solution: Prototyping in After Effects
My approach to problem-solving was to utilize my motion design, front-end development, and user experience background to make a template in After Effects.
Cleanup was tedious but necessary: finding all missing files, disposing of unused assets, and reorganizing/consolidating folders in a way so this problem won’t recur.
Branding colors, copy and animation options were coded to be universally changed using simple sliders and toggle controls.
Using this draft template, animators converted the turnaround time from 7 days to 3-4 days. Although this was a great improvement, upon reassessment I realized that:
The process could be further expedited by improving Sales-to-Creative communicationManual inputs were still time-consuming for animators to transcribe from these text filesOnboarding had a steep learning curve: the user interface was too text heavy and not user-friendly enough for the animators
Reiteration: Simplification for Everyone
The second round of design work had to prove more than just that the sizzle reel templatization could be done. It had to be usable and be more of a better alternative to the current process rather than a tedious platform learning experience. Since each step of the process needed to be streamlined more smoothly, I had to reevaluate who I was developing this for.
Although the work to be done was to directly to benefit the animators, I had to recognize our secondary and tertiary users, in hopes of not alienating them with our new process.
Linda was the middle-woman between Joe and Emma and had all the knowledge of key metrics that went into each video. So it made sense that she would be the one to provide all the information, without needing to learn After Effects.
Design Through Automation
I discovered a third-party service that could be easily customizable and integrated into our workflow, and required zero barrier to entry to understand.
This service allowed both Linda and Joe to fill out all essential information which would be automatically populated in After Effects, without worrying about the back-end coding involved.
Making Things User Friendly
I eschewed the text-based interface and went for a more graphically-pleasing composition, which I figured these motion graphic designers would be keen on.
All text fields had corresponding with the scenes, which updated in real-time. This was helpful if there were last minute revisions to copy and allowed for universal changes with only a few manual inputs. This meant that Joe could now focus on the actual animation without fixating too heavily on copy or metrics.
The current version of the Sizzle Reel Template has been made to significantly reduce the time in making these videos, bringing down the production time from 7 days to only 1 to 2 days. This rapid production allows for more sales pitches to clients.
From the moment a sizzle reel video is requested from the Sales Team to the very second that that video is rendered out, each step of the way was curtailed to be as efficient and as intuitive as possible.