How to Make Videos While Sheltering in Place

We know many of you are working remotely and thinking of new ways to communicate with your communities during the COVID-19 public health crisis. And that’s great because 80% of consumers say their content consumption has increased since the outbreak started. Now more than ever, people are turning to brands for helpful information and inspiring stories as we all navigate a strange, new normal.

At Slow Clap, we’re inspired by the challenge of making videos to help our clients connect to their customers and communities. We want to share a few of the “distant storytelling” tools that we’re using that don’t require on-site filming. And, we’re open for business if you need help with execution.

Animated Explainers:

An animated explainer video is an engaging way for you to quickly and easily break down complex information through beautiful visuals. Using motion graphics, bright colors, and a simple voice-over, you can create a beautiful animated video that will continue to attract current and potential clients. We recently created this video for States Title.

User-Generated Content:

Native content is one of the most authentic formats for storytelling because everyone has a camera in their pocket. When you can’t send out a professional crew, it’s a great way to capture original, unfiltered content that people crave in a world where so many try to be picture-perfect.

Educational, Instructional Content:

Nobody ever liked to read instruction manuals. That’s even more true today. Enter the instructional video. For software companies, a simple screen-sharing video with great voice-over can provide a step-by-step guide to help customers learn to use products and services. We love how Slack uses this approach in their product videos.

Brand Anthem Videos:

Whether you combine stock footage with a voiceover, like we did for Workato below, or marry narration with text and powerful music like Sutter Health, anthem videos are a feel-good way to share who you are and what you stand for as a company. That can be an important message for your community to hear, especially at a challenging time like this one.

Repurposing Content:

Recycling existing video content saves time and money and makes the most of resources. Dig into your content library, pull footage from different video projects, and cut them together to create a montage video or social content. Need inspo? Check out the Instagram video we recently did for one of our favorite wineries, La Crema.


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There are so many possibilities when you get creative about making video marketing content; whether you’re trying to jump on the latest TikTok trend (we’ve been practicing the “Don’t Rush Challenge”, or simply trying to tell a good story.

Need some ideas? Reach out and we can chat.

My First After Effects Project…A Personal Story from Nicole B Wilson

It’s interesting to reflect on the first time I used After Effects. In my mind it was yesterday, but in reality, it was… (silent gulp) eight (or so) years ago. I was in graduate school at American University studying documentary storytelling with an emphasis in editing, but I knew I wanted to have that skill in order to create custom animated lower thirds, animated titles, and all the fun stuff in between. I enrolled in the Motion Graphics I class during the first semester of my second year. To be transparent, I had never even opened the software until the first day of class.

The first day of class was like most…introductions, syllabus breakdown, and at the end of the semester, a final project. The final project was a fully animated 60-90 second video which we would start crafting around mid-terms. The professor assured us that we would be prepared in order to take on this task, but that didn’t stop me from being any less terrified.

“What did I get myself into…” (Internal thoughts)

Over the weeks leading into midterms, my professor introduced basic animation concepts such as the use of over-exaggeration for dramatic emphasis, keyframing, layering, 3D camera movement, parenting layers, and so much more. Many of these lessons were used as part of our mid-term projects, and once they were submitted, we began working on our final project storyboards. I decided to create an animated PSA that promoted a public charter school in Washington,DC.

As we worked through the intricacies of our stories, the first part of our final project was to produce an animatic, which we shared with the class to get feedback.

“They didn’t hate it.” (sigh of relief)

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. From the time we received feedback from our classmates and professor, it was three weeks to submission. I went to work, but like all projects in production, I had my challenges. The first challenge was creating the world that my little girl existed in. This required me to create various items within Illustrator and Photoshop, import them into After Effects, and then layer them. Once created, I used keyframing to time the various character and camera movements, fade-ins, and fade-outs. However, the biggest challenge wasn’t a technical one, it was a careless moment when I saved my files to the school desktop, which automatically deletes any files upon rebooting. Four hours of work was erased after the computer froze and I had to restart the system. I had a moment of pure disbelief, cried for about 5 minutes, and then spent another four hours recreating my files and properly saving them to my external hard drive.

“Needless to say, it was a hard lesson learned.” 

The end of the semester arrived and the PSA was submitted. My moment of truth was met with my professor and classmates providing constructive critiques for ways to improve the piece, but I was also met with positive feedback regarding my creative choices, use of exaggeration, and my overall use of the lessons we worked on throughout the semesters. They really like the idea of having the animation look like a child’s drawings and they like the upbeat/inspirational tone that I created. Everyone agreed, that the story I pitched through my animatic came to life through my first animated short using After Effects.

It is one of my graduate school moments I look back on fondly. It was a learning curve that was both creative and challenging, but I walked away learning a new skill. Check out my first Motion Graphics PSA below.

Nicole B Wilson

Associate Producer

Slow Clap Productions