Heads Up Before August 2018 Saber was known as "BugMuncher", so you'll see the name BugMuncher instead of Saber throughout these older posts. You can read more about the name change here - BugMuncher rebrands to Saber.
Heads up: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click them and go on to use the service, I'll get paid a small commission, but it won't cost you any extra.
These are the actual services I used to make BugMuncher's intro video, and would still be recommending them even if they did not have an affiliate program.
It seems these days that a fancy animated intro video is a vital part of any startup’s home page. After all, intro videos a great way to tell your story, and quickly show people what your company does. Thankfully you don’t need to pay a specialist animation studio upwards of $10,000 to jump on this bandwagon. In fact I’m going to show you how I was able to create this intro video for BugMuncher myself, for less than $200:
Measure twice, cut once
The very first thing you’ll need to do is plan your video. I’d recommend watching a bunch of other startup into videos to get some ideas. Then you’ll need to dig out a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper, and draw out a rough storyboard. Although if you’re anything like me, first you’ll need to relearn how to use these archaic tools. Don’t worry if your 3 year old child can draw better than you, stick figures drawn with lipstick on a napkin will suffice here, the important thing is just to fully plan out your video before you start paying for things.
Assuming there will be speech in your video (protip: there should be speech in your video), work out exactly what will be said by whom, and when, and then write a script. Try a few variations of the storyboard and script, and pick the best with the help of your colleagues, friends, family, and that cute barista who serves your coffee in the morning. You know the one who always seems to smile that little bit wider for you, and you’re sure something could happen between you if you just summoned the courage to take that first step.
Cost so far: $0
Find your voice
Ok, now that you’ve thoroughly annoyed everyone in your life by constantly asking them for feedback on your storyboard and script, it’s time to break out the credit card and hire a voice actor. You may be able to skip this step and go DIY if you or someone you know has the kind of voice that would make Morgan Freeman jealous. Unfortunately for me, my bumbling British baritone of a voice can at best be described as “Charmingly Befuddled”, so I had to bring in a professional. On the plus side I can do a great impression of Hugh Grant.
VoiceBunny is a great marketplace with thousands of proffessional voice actors. You can either post your project and have actors audition for it, or search for a voice you like and submit your project directly to them. For BugMuncher I knew what kind of voice I wanted, and was quickly able to find the right voice actor using the search function. The total cost was $95 for 195 words.
Voice Bunny allows you separate your script into parts, which I strongly recommend doing, as you can then download each part as a separate audio file, making the next step easier.
Cost so far: $95
Bring it to life
So at this point you should have a some audio files of your voice over, and a crudely drawn storyboard. Now it’s time to make the actual video. For this I used GoAnimate, a monthly subscription service for creating animated videos. GoAnimate has a tonne of ready to use animated assets, such as people, objects and scenes, as well as some great sound effects, so you can pretty much drag and drop your way to a complete animated video.
The reason I recommend getting your voice over sorted first is you can import the audio clips straight into GoAnimate, which allows you to synchronise your animations to your voice over.
You’re best off going with their premium plan, which allows you to remove the GoAnimate watermark, and export at full 1080p high definition. You should only need one month to bring your storyboard to life, which will set you back just $79.
Cost so far: $174
Fill the silence
Flashy animated video? Check. Cheery voice over? Check. You’re nearly done, yet there’s still something missing. Time to add an upbeat backing track, which will fill any moments of silence, and make whole video feel more cohesive. To find your perfect backing track I recommend going to AudioJungle and searching for the term ‘corporate’. When choosing your music, check how many times a piece has been purchased, as some songs have had thousands of sales, which means a number of other companies will already have that song in their intro video. With a bit of digging you should be able to find a great song, that suits your needs, but only has a handful of sales. Once you’ve chosen your song, you’ll need to buy the standard licence, costing $19.
This next step can take a bit of time - you need to add your chosen piece of music to your video, and fade it out around the voice over. I’m going to make some assumptions here: You work in a startup, in the tech sector, so you use an Apple computer, which comes with the very adequate iMove (takes one to know one). So using iMovie (or pretty much any video editor will do) create a new project and import your video. Now add your backing track, and automate the volume so it fades down a bit when ever the voice over is talking. The trick is to find a balance, so that the voice over can be clearly heard over the music, without making the change in volume too dramatic, all the while keeping the music at a decent volume. This may take a few attempts and a lot of tweaking. Once this is done you’re ready to upload your video to somewhere like YouTube or Vimeo, and embed it in your landing page.
Total cost: $193
And there you have it - a great intro video, with change left over from $200. In fact you’ll have $7 in change, just enough to buy 2 cups of coffee. So go to your favourite coffeeshop, find that barista you’ve been secretly in love with for the past 3 years, and offer to buy them a cappuccino. Hey, it’s a better chat up line than “Which of these storyboards better introduces our stealth disruptive social crowdfunding platform for ninja rockstars?”