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Animations: MECOPP

MECOPP provides support for black and ethnic minority carers. Dragonfly was tasked with creating a series of digital animations for an engagement campaign targeting a range of foreign- language speakers.
With a style and approach agreed we rolled out the adverts which used a colourful and creative approach to exploring complex subject matter.
The result: a highly effective tool for the charity which helped reach its engagement targets.

MECOPP – The Challenges Of Animation For Charities

We love working with charities, and have produced plenty of videos for all sorts in the past with the likes of Oxfam approaching us for this video. It can be a challenging process, but at the end of the day, it is probably the most rewarding of all the work that we do, because we know that the video we are producing is going to help others in one way or another.

Not so long ago we received an email from the Edinburgh-based charity MECOPP who specialise in the support of Scotland’s ethnic minorities. We had been recommended to them by previous client that had also commissioned a video for charity, (mention who they are). They came to us looking for an explainer video that broke down the model of ‘Self Directed Support’ into easy to manage chunks so that they could show those in need of it how simple the process is. Of course, the process isn’t that simple, but we needed to make it so!

Thankfully they had done a fair bit of market research themselves, which meant that when they approached us they already had a clear idea of the sort of video production that they were after – it needed to be bold, striking animated visuals, with a voice over that would work without the need for them. As usual we agreed working terms, set an estimated fee and broke down the production process for our client, setting a weekly schedule in order to ensure steady progress. Then it was onto…

Pre-Production

Producing charity videos is often quite tricky, with a lot of constraints on what you can and can’t do, how you can display information and how you tell the story. So our first step was to collate all of the information we could from our client as well as doing a little bit of research into the market ourselves.

There were a few videos produced with similar content, explaining the processes behind ‘Self Directed Support’, but they lacked a great deal of creativity. We quickly realised that through using colourful and eye catching animation, we could really make a video that would stand out from the crowd, and which would really remain in the minds of MECOPP’s clients. That’s the beauty of animation – you can create something really memorable, really quite simply.

However, we realised that the most important part of the whole project would be the script, as there was a lot of information to get across, with the necessity to do so in a short, sweet and impactful way. We then passed the project on to our in-house scriptwriter and creative Philip, who would be responsible for developing the idea and producing a finalised voice-over script.

Scriptwriting

Liaising closely with MECOPP, Philip spoke in depth with their representatives in order to get a clear outline of what precisely they were looking for. It boiled down to a few main points, which needed to be strictly adhered to:

  • As the video was to be translated into 4 languages, and shown to people who would often have a poor grasp of English, the script’s language needed to be simple, explicit, straightforward and free of idioms.
  • There were to be no words on screen, the voice over needed to convey all necessary information.
  • The tone ought to be conversational, as if the video is speaking directly to the viewer, as well as being up-beat and empowering.
  • It would need to contain all the relevant information that the viewer might possibly need, with a running time of around 5 minutes.

With the visual elements removed from the project at this time, we wanted to ensure that the voice over would be as strong as possible before moving onto the next stage. As such, Philip began research into the charity, creating a skeleton of their operations around which a narrative could be built. Breaking down the charity’s processes into core points, he found that there was a simple journey that he could take the audience on, introducing the system, explaining how it works and then explaining how it could work for them.

Then the work began.

Throughout this whole process our correspondents at MECOPP were given multiple drafts of the script in order to ensure they were satisfied with where the project was going, and that all information detailed in the narrative was correct and of the tone they required.

Three drafts later, we had a script that was signed-off by the company’s director and we were green lit for the production process.

Animation

With the final script coming to a running time of around 5 minutes, we needed to develop an animated video that wouldn’t stagnate, that would make sure the viewer kept their attention on the screen, and which would enhance the actual voice over. At this stage we passed the project onto our animator (name), who drafted up a whole load of sketches for our client to sign-off on:

(include sketches here)

We wanted bold, attention grabbing colours, but also because of the nature of MECOPP’s charitable work within Scotland’s minorities, we needed something that wasn’t ethnic-specific. As such, we finally agreed upon the following aesthetic:

It is eye catching and neutral, capable of speaking to anyone, from anywhere.

Translation

Script signed off, design signed-off and animation in the pipeline, we needed to translate the script into 4 separate languages (INCLUDE LANGUAGES HERE).

(maybe a picture of a word from each of the languages as a visual)

Over the years we have worked closely with a languages agency who can do this job for us with a quick turn around. As with every step we had MECOPP run through the translations in order to maintain continuity in tone across each language, and in a matter of days we had four more scripts ready to go.

Voice Over

Animation pootling along, we then delved into our expansive pool of voice over talent that we’ve worked with over the last ten years. From regional accents, to foreign language speakers, we quickly found the right tone for our project.

This is a very important step, and one often overlooked in by many video production companies. A strong narration with a properly recorded, professional voice over artist stamps an authority on the project; no matter how good the script is, it is effectively redundant unless the person narrating it can do it justice. This was especially important in MECOPP’s case, as the script was so tightly written and the information that we needed to get across so crucial.

Post Production

Tying it all together was a breeze. Having set solid foundations with each step, all we needed to do was overlay the voice-over artists’ recording with the animation.

(please tell me of any other post-prod procedures that you may have used here)

“Dragonfly produced a beautiful animated video for us on a shoestring budget. They were able to handle translation into several languages and source wonderful voice talent. Our expectations were exceeded on every level.”
Kate Herbert MECOPP
[email protected]