Apr 16 2015

So what’s an ‘explainer video’…

“…and how can it help my organisation?”

What is a video explainer

An explainer video is a short online video used to explain your organisation’s product or service.

There really is no stopping the uptake of online video consumption, according to a recent iStockphoto article there’s been a staggering 800% increase in online video consumption in the last 6 years.

So can an explainer video help you? We think the answer is yes.

Video is definitely one of, if not the most popular marketing platforms currently available as for most people, it’s far easier to consume than a lengthy article (so I’ll try to keep this post short, and don’t worry, there are links to some great explainers just a short scroll away, so bear with me!)

But don’t be fooled that any old video will do, as the consumption of online video increases so too does our audience’s thirst for higher quality graphics and insightful content. Producing a successful explainer video consists of a combination of script, graphic look and feel and audio. Each element needs to sing in harmony with the other if you want to retain the viewer and convert them into a loyal fan or customer.

So how can explainer videos benefit your brand?

Here’s one of those harsh but true moments: If you’re not already producing online video marketing for your organisation, company or brand, then you’re going to be playing catch up with your competitors.

All you need do is Google ‘online video stats’ for a vast list of incredible statistics indicating the huge surge in video consumption. According to a recent Guardian article, YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month.

Welsh-Government e-Crime Wales video explainer

With these huge numbers there’s going to be a lot of video content out there shouting for attention, your video will really needs to hit the spot, so understanding the production process of a typical explainer is a good place to start your journey.

Here’s a taste of the steps we follow when creating a typical s8080 animated explainer video:

Research and development

Following a scoping meeting the s8080 creative team will spend an agreed amount of time researching potential look and feel concepts including colour palettes, illustration and animation styles and character development which will be presented for feedback before considering any high-fidelity graphics production.

Business Wales Explainer R&D

The script

The script is arguably the most important part of any explainer video and you play a huge part in its production. After all, who knows more about a product or service other than the people that created it? Sounds a little scary, right? Don’t worry though, we’ll help you with the script structure and we’ll even commission a copywriter to polish and add a bit of humour if needed.
There’s a proven structure that most explainers will follow; keep it simple, be consistent and be sure to add a call to action. Here’s a great article from the guys over at Demo Duck that gives you some pretty useful script writing tips – ‘How to Write a Video Script that Sells.’


When the final script has been signed off we move onto the storyboard, producing a series of sketches that convey the basic concept for each scene along with the corresponding copy from the script. This gives you a really good idea of what we’ll do at the animation phase. Changes at this stage are easy to make so make sure you are completely happy with the concept, messaging, information accuracy and the look and feel
Remember to keep your explainer video to around 1-2mins if possible, if you’re planning on breaking that 90sec mark you’ll need to have some pretty relevant content or you’ll risk losing viewers.

Business Wales Sketchbook storyboard


Our workflow will include a number of Adobe Creative Cloud applications and we’ll sync artwork between them resulting in a more streamlined approach. Scene templates will be developed in Adobe Illustrator and, to a lesser extent Photoshop, before placing the assets into Adobe After Effects, our video editing app of choice.

Animation and audio

The storyboard sets the animation style but once we are in After Effects, we can start to fine tune the animation effects, dialling the speeds up and down to emphasise key points, actions or scene changes.
Another key step in the process is adding a narrated script, for this we’ll commission a voiceover artist to add a final layer of professionalism to your explainer. We can find a voice for every occasion – even some famous ones, and they are not as expensive as you’d think! The narrated script is imported into After Effects and synced to the animation within the timeline.

Render and upload

The final explainer video is exported for online use as a QuickTime movie with a H264 codec and AAC audio output and uploaded to your video channel on YouTube or Vimeo where key metadata and transcripts are added.

S8080 Explainer Video examples

We’ve recently worked with DECC, Welsh Government’s Business Wales and Welsh Government’s eCrime Wales to create a series of informative and playful explainer videos forming part of a larger engagement campaign.
You can view the explainer videos on the s8080 YouTube channel.

S8080 YouTube channel

Don’t forget to subscribe to the S8080 YouTube channel to catch the latest video creations from our creative team.

Nov 18 2014

What is Vine, and what’s a Vine video?

“…and do I need to know about it?”

What is a Vine video

For those that haven’t heard (and don’t worry, until recently that included us) Vine is a free online video sharing service brought to us by Twitter. Vine allows users to create and share six second long looping video clips. Basically you can think of it as a visual tweet – a micro-blogging movie.

So do you need to know about Vine? We think the answer is yes.

It’s a relatively new concept for most of us but as the creative team at s8080 came to realise on a recent project for The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), it’s a trend that’s really helping support complex social engagement strategies.

Vine video featured strongly in the recent DECC campaign #VampireEnergy – which gave energy efficiency advice using the quirky videos and infostrips to build awareness instead of a text heavy Twitter conversation.

So how can Vine benefit your brand?

If you’re looking to bolster your social campaign collateral, then a series of Vine videos can be a smart and cost effective alternative to traditional video projects. The Vine audience is growing quickly (with 40 million users as of August 2014) and with brands like Nike, Samsung Mobile and Government departments creating their own channels, it’s definitely the right time to test the water.

Vine examples

Here’s a quick overview of how s8080 creates a typical animated vine video.

The Storyboard and Artwork

We always start with a storyboard or wireframe to communicate our proposed concept. This can be as simple as a series of sketches or, as in the case of #VampireEnergy, where we had already created a series of hifi assets for other channels, we’ll work with those to streamline the process.

Vine storyboard


The storyboards are relatively simple as 6 seconds really is a short amount of time to get a message across – so the concept needs to be strong and impactful. ‘Boards’ generally consist of 4 – 6 screens showing the key messaging and transitions. We then show our client the concept and can give feedback well before the animator gets anywhere near the editing software.

Animation and Audio

Following approval of the boards, we’ll finalise the artwork and move into the animation phase. Most of the work is done in Adobe After Effects, professional video editing software that allows us to quickly animate and work with audio, all on the same timeline.

This is where the storyboard literally comes to life and we fine tune timings, transitions and sound to best communicate a campaign message.

We created two Vine animations for the DECC #VampireEnergy campaign which featured an energy conscious vampire (yes, really) and followed his money saving journey. The campaign went live around the Halloween period allowing us to have a bit of fun with spooky sound effects and screeching vampires!

Uploading your Vine

This part of the process has become a lot easier since the Vine team introduced the ability to import videos into their app (available for download on iTunes). We create our Vines as we would with any video destined for online viewing (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), the only main difference being the video artboard size which is 480px x 480px.

We’ll generally export a QuickTime movie with a H264 codec and AAC audio output and let the vine uploader worry about the optimisation. Vine compresses your video to around 1MB but don’t worry about being limited to this size when editing.

And then repurpose…

Why stop there? Reformat your Vine into a Facebook ready newsfeed video, it’s a relatively straightforward process and gives your campaign another batch of engaging content that can be delivered to a whole new audience.

S8080 Vine Video examples

Check out the Spooktacular series of Vines s8080 created for the DECC campaign #VampireEnergy – https://vine.co/tags/VampireEnergy.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the s8080 YouTube channel to catch the latest video creations from our creative team.
S8080 YouTube channel

And if you have a spare 1 minutes 46 seconds, take a look at our YouTube Halloween parody which show that developers can dance (sort of).

Nov 3 2014

UK Prime Minister tweets Vampire Energy campaign!

Number10 Twitter S8080

On Halloween, the official Twitter channel for Prime Minister David Cameron’s office, based at 10 Downing Street tweeted the Vampire Energy campaign we developed with the Department of Energy and Climate Change!

GOV.UK ran a nice piece on the campaign too. Follow the link to see the infostrips, Vine and FaceBook videos we produced for DECC, or have a look at what’s happening on Twitter #VampireEnergy.

DECC Vampire Energy infostrip S8080

Oct 30 2014

S8080 Presents: The Night of the Living Devs

Happy Halloween from the team at S8080

This year, S8080’s spooktacular Halloween treat has set the bar even higher with a chilling (and thrilling) HD YouTube movie.

Filmed and edited entirely in-house by our own creative team, the guys* show they have talents way beyond websites development.

Click the video link and see who you think has the best zombie moves… if you dare.

Thank you to everyone who played part in putting this together – and a huge thank you goes out to Gethin Jones for his outstanding sound design.

Happy Halloween.

*Despite appearances, no developers were harmed during the making of this film.


Aug 7 2009

Friday fun – giant waterslide jump

Also, check out the August the 4th entry too 🙂

Great work fellas.

Dec 21 2008

YouTube in Hi-Def

YouTube has added the option to watch videos in HD.

Any uploaded movies that are wider than 720px will give you the option to watch in High Definition.

Take a look at this…

…and then watch it again making sure you click on the ‘watch in HD’ link.


Be warned, you need a pretty fast connection. If it’s too slow, YouTube won’t even show you the ‘watch in HD’ link.

Bring it on.