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Just How Long Does This Animated Video Thing Take, Anyway?

We’ve talked before about how long your explainer video should be, but now we’d like to talk about the length of time it takes to make a customized animated video.

While WizMotions can have a high quality animated video to you in two to three weeks, the process can last up to eight weeks for other video production companies. Regardless of how long the process takes, it’s important to know the timeframe you’re looking at so you can plan your marketing strategy and set the most accurate deadlines to follow.

The Process

  1. Discovery & Creative Brief
  2. Script Writing & Illustration Ideas
  3. Illustration and Visual Storyboard Design
  4. Voiceover
  5. Video Production

Discovery & Creative Brief

This is where a video production company explores your company. They’ll ask you to thoroughly fill out a creative brief and have a nice, long conversation with you to find out what you do and who you’re targeting. They also might invite you to a project in a collaboration tool like we do with our clients and Basecamp.

In our creative brief, we go over the basics of the characterization and the tone of the video, so we’re already setting the framework of the animation in the discovery phase. How long this discovery phase lasts depends on how long it takes you to fill out the creative brief and how long your conversation with the production company lasts, but it can definitely be done within a day.  

Script Writing & Illustration Ideas

Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr

Once you’ve met with the video production company and given them your creative brief, they’ll have one of their scriptwriters whip up a script for you and have one of their illustrators brainstorm some ideas for the direction of the art.

Depending on how many adjustments you want to the script and how much time it takes to hash these out, this will usually only take a few days to a week. A reputable production company will not only welcome your feedback for both the script and illustration ideas, but encourage it.

Illustration and Visual Storyboard Design


Once your script is finalized, you will also finalize the illustrations and characters. This is where you set how the characters are going to look, which will depend on what you think will appeal to your viewers. The color pallette, how your logos are used and how everything else will look is also finalized at this stage.

Once you’ve gotten the characters and the illustrations finalized, the production company will storyboard your video. A storyboard is a frame by frame sketch of your video that will show you exactly what every shot is going to look like and consist of. You’ll be able to see the flow of your video in the sketches and see how the story will unfold with the proposed visuals. It looks rather like a comic book and allows you to visualize how your finished video will look while also acting as a reference for the animator.

Storyboarding a video should only take a few days since the script and illustrations are finalized at this point, but if your video is more complex, it could take a week or even more.

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Ricardo Liberato/Flickr

Once you’ve signed off on the storyboard, the voiceover people lay down their dulcet tones (or harsh screeches, whatever you require). Not just anyone can lend their voice to your video. The narration for your video will be done by a professional voice actor who you pick to appeal to your target audience. This will depend on age, gender, accent and/or language. These trained actors bring the emotion and the human element to your video, so it’s important to choose wisely. Since your script will be short, a voiceover actor will likely have no problem getting it done within a day or two, although it depends on their schedule.  

Video Production

So, now all the elements are finalized, the narration is done and this is where it’s all put together. The actual animation is where the bulk of the time will be spent. How long it takes will depend on the individual animator, the style of animation you choose and the video production company’s schedule, but it will likely take at least a week or two and could take several weeks. In this final phase, the music and any sound effects that are required will also be added to the video and it could tack on another few days of work on the video.

From start to finish, a high-quality, completely customized video can be produced for you in as little as two or three weeks on average. Most production companies will allow you to fastrack your production for a higher investment. For WizMotions, that means getting you your video in three to five days.

Now that you know how long it will take, click here to use our price estimation calculator to see approximately how much your video will cost. (You don’t even need to talk to anyone!)


About Rob

Rob loves nothing more than sitting around in his jammies all day and writing useful blog posts for WizMotions.