How to design a TV show intro

Maybe you’ll notice, but recently I’m doing a lot of work on a new “TV show”. It will be an informative show which offers tutorials, best practices, interviews and how to’s for products. Clients (of the company I’m working at) can log in and view these videos. This way there’s more transparency towards clients and we can more easily explain how our products work.

This TV show needed an intro. I’m currently busy to create it and the first (final) draft is almost done. I’ll explain the steps I did to get towards the result so far.

1. Write down the idea

Don’t just begin working on stuff like this. First do a little brainstorming. What do you want to do with the intro. Do you want a basic one or you prefer a complicated one which features a lot of animation. Do you want to show a message to your viewers? Or is it just a simple logo (like we choose)? Write down what you want and filter all notes so you end up with two or three ideas to work on.

2. Create a storyboard

Take the final ideas from step 1 and start sketching. Use the storyboard format to sketch out what you want and decide how long it should take. In my experience an intro needs to be short and powerful, Bang! Stay within 10 seconds. Of course this also depends on where you’re making it for. Is it an intro for a series or movie? Those can be a lot longer of course, but generally an intro is short. Especially for company movies, product introduction movies for example.

After you’ve finished sketching the two or three ideas it’s time to decide which one works best for you.

3. Create the assets

Take the storyboard of your choice and break it down intro assets. Assets are things like the background, a logo animation, cloud animation…properties off the intro you want to make. When you listed all the assets you can fire up Photoshop, After Effects or the program of your choice. Create each asset separately and make sure you use a transparent background (except the background itself of course  ).

4. Animating it all together

When you’ve finished creating your assets I personally create a new composition (call it MainComp or so) that works as a place holder for all other assets. The main composition where everything comes together. I also add all camera positions and animation in this MainComp. In the end this composition is used to render the end result and final version.

Please note: When using effects in your movie in my opinion it’s better  to don’t add any in the MainComp. Add them in an their composition of that particular asset.

5. Make changes on the fly

Most of the time new ideas pop up during the creation of your intro / movie or whatever you’re creating. I would advise to don’t go back to the drawing board but implement and test them immediately. Why? Well, when the ideas come to mind you’re already working on that movie. Creating an extra set of effects or a different animation is quicker than repeating the entire process. And when it doesn’t work out you’ll always have CTRL-Z  .

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