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Explainly’s Favorite Animations (2022)

As a video production agency that produces animated explainer videos for clients, we think it’s important for the team to revisit our sources of inspiration regularly. For 2022, we’ve compiled a list of each Explainee’s favorite animation and EXPLAINED how it inspires our work. 

Miranda – Creative Producer & Designer – Over The Garden Wall

This 2014 animated mini-series by Patrick McHale is a Halloween season must-watch! The show’s strikingly gorgeous background illustrations paired with simple, charming character designs and humor will undoubtedly conjure a sense of nostalgia, thrill, and coziness every time you watch it. You can stream all episodes of Over The Garden Wall on HBO Max


Courtney – Creative Producer – Howl’s Moving Castle

Tears were rolling down my face the moment the opening credits music started playing. It’s an indescribable feeling, but it’s almost like I instantly connected with the whole movie. The score, animation, and story made Howl’s Moving Castle an unforgettable visual experience from start to finish. You can experience Howl’s Moving Castle on HBO Max

Jessica – Project Manager and AP – Fire & Ice

Released in 1983, this film’s unique illustrative style immediately caught the attention of many fantasy art fans and lovers of myths, monsters, and muscles. I am a big fan of Frank Frazetta, who was the artist for the film AND an absolute legend! The storyline in itself may not be great, but it was really cool to see his work in action. You can watch Fire & Ice on Tubi.


Ben – Senior Account Manager – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The blending of classic comic book style illustrations with modern 3D animation creates a viewing experience that is unmatched by anything done before. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack and powerful storytelling. It’s 10/10 from me. You can find Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Amazon Prime Video.

Madhuri – Senior Project Manager – The Land Before Time

The Land Before Time series brings back a lot of nostalgic memories for me. My family and I used to watch each movie together and they played a key part in cultivating my and my sisters’ interest in dinosaurs. Not to mention all the great songs that we would sing forever, even today. The animation style is classic 90’s and brings with it a simplicity and storytelling style that will always hold a special place in my heart. You can watch The Land Before Time on Amazon Prime.

Evan – Project Manager – Disney’s Paperman

Disney always has a way of creating short films that always tug on your heart strings a little bit. Paperman is no exception. I remember being an art student and watching it for the first time. The black and white style brings a sense of nostalgia that is truly inspiring. You can watch Paperman on Disney+

Aaron – Project Manager – Avatar: The Last Airbender

Beautiful animation, fascinating mythology, and lovable characters. Avatar: the Last Airbender was one of the few times during my childhood where I saw Asian characters represented on screen. This series meant a lot to me growing up and it still holds a special place in my heart as one of my favorite Animations. You can find Avatar: The Last Airbender AND its sequel series, The Legend of Korra on Netflix.

Scarlett – Director of Operations – Fantasia

This film is important to me because it enabled an early appreciation of classical music. Fantasia combined classical music with animation to create a beautiful set of stories that didn’t require a traditional narrative structure. I still love watching the songs brought to life now as much as I did when I was a kid. You can watch Fantasia on Disney+.

Alex – CEO & Founder – The Simpsons

There is a reason that The Simpsons have aired over 700 episodes throughout its 33 year history. This timeless classic has brought laughter to American households for decades! The Simpsons is proof of the longevity of animation. You can stream all 34 seasons of The Simpsons on Disney+.

Technical Terminology in Video Production

Animators, editors, and film experts of all kinds use a vast vocabulary of terms during video production. Whether you’re brand new to the video world or a seasoned expert in need of a refresher, the following terminology is a must-know! Frame Rate The frame rate refers to the number of frames per second (fps) that a camera captures or that a video displays. While 24 fps is typical, 25, 29.97, 30, and 60 fps are all also common for different purposes. Higher frame rates result in larger file sizes and are not always necessary. However, depending on your video's purpose, it can provide more crisp, appealing movement. Color Correction vs. Color Grade Color correction is the vital process of adjusting the colors and tones of a video in order to remove off-color casts, brighten light objects, and to darken dark objects. After color correction, color grading is the adjustment of a video’s colors in order to achieve a specific aesthetic effect. Audio Mix / Audio Production During the final stages of production, the team mixes a video's individual audio tracks to balance dialogue, music, sound effects, room tone, and more. Rudimentary audio mixing can be done within some basic softwares, but fine tuning can be achieved in post-production softwares such as Adobe Audition & Adobe Premiere, or Logic Pro. Resolution Professionals use resolution as a term to describe the length and width of pixels. High resolution looks better but results in larger files. Compression lowers resolution slightly, but it’s usually negligible between 4k and 1080p. Even 720p is good enough for most phone screens! Compression Beautiful high res video often means large files! To avoid taking up storage space, and to post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more, use compression. Compressing videos can minimize file sizes while preserving key qualities by removing unnecessary, redundant, or non-functional data from your video file. While it does take a bit of time to reduce the amount of data in a video file, compression is usually recommended for online uploads because of the time and storage it’ll save you later. Bitrate (Mbps / Kbps) The amount of data used per second in a video defines the bitrate or data rate. Bitrate affects the way fast-moving objects look, and can also contribute to overly large file sizes. We stick to 10 to 16 Megabits-per-second VBR/CBR as a high-quality bitrate for most HD videos. Rendering & Exporting Exporting a video means combining all clips, images, sounds, and effects into one final file. This final file can be in formats like .mov or .mp4. Although, professionals also sometimes refer to exporting as rendering; a render typically describes the real-time view within the editing software. This gives you an idea of what your export will look like. Most computers cannot view high-quality renders in real-time. This is why high processing power is essential for a video production studio. Codec & Container All video files are made up of two parts: the codec and the container. Codecs are different specific algorithms that compress and decompress all data contained in a video file. This is necessary because most videos contain elements that are too large to result in a playable final video. Different codecs used in softwares like Adobe Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe After Effects, iMovie, or QuickTime will determine which media players can play back a video. Here are a few common codecs and which file formats they work with: X264 compresses H.264 standard HD videos FFmpeg works with formats including MPEG-2 DVD and MPEG-4 files DivX works will certain MPEG-4 files Different codecs result in different video qualities and different containers, such as MP4, MOV, and AVI file types. ProRes 422 can be great for high-res archival purposes. Although, you can’t go wrong with H.264 for most types of online videos! File Types Video file types and formats - made up of the codec and the container - define the type of computer file that a video is stored as. Different file formats have different purposes, so it’s important to choose the correct type for different projects. MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14) is the most common video format, preferred by Apple, YouTube, and many social networks and devices. However, it has a slightly lower definition than other file formats. MOV (QuickTime Movie) files generally have higher quality output, which unfortunately comes with larger file sizes. MOV files are ideal for high quality viewing in QuickTime, on TV, or on YouTube. AVI (Audio Video Interleave) is one of the oldest video file formats used today. Fun Fact: it was created in 1992 for Windows operating systems! While AVI files are large, they provide some of the highest-quality playbacks. Plus, they work with nearly every Mac, Windows, and Linux web browser. Other formats like WMV, AVCHD, FLV, F4V, SWF, MKV, WEBM, HTML5, and MPEG-2, all have purposes for different devices and viewing platforms, such as DVDs, website embeds, and streaming services. Ready to learn even more? Reach out to the Explainly team with questions anytime at www.explainly.com/contact-explainly!

Customer Service in Video Production

Customer service is extremely important when clients are vetting which agency they want to partner with. At Explainly, we provide all of our clients with ‘white glove’ customer service. Meaning that we work in tandem with them to become an extension of their team, whether it be marketing or internal communications. All our project managers are equipped with the tools to provide seamless project management service to every client, even down to tailoring our communication styles to meet our clients’ preferences.

3 Tips to Utilize Animation Source Files

All digitally animated videos are created in softwares like Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, or ToonBoom Harmony. But no matter the software, there is a series of data, drawings, and files that make up every project. These networks of interconnected data, known as source files, collect files, working files, or art files, can enable edits or tweaks for years beyond a project’s completion. Wondering how you can utilize your animation source files? Here are three main steps to better understand your project files!

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