To coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, we wanted to create a short explainer video to give an understandable, accessible overview of the history of human habitation in the British Isles, as well as how human activity has shaped our environment and climate in the past - which is quite a task to try to fit into what was initially supposed to be a 5-minute YouTube video!
The final video ended up being just over nine minutes long. This was challenging for the team in different ways- the experts for trying to narrow down thousands of years of history, and me for having to make nine minutes of engaging animation!
To start with, I had to chop the script up into segments, and create a series of illustrations as a starting point for the animation. Nine minutes means a lot of keyframes, so I had to prioritise where the time I had would make the most impact. Most of the animation relies very heavily on the illustration, with minimal unique movement, and the transitions and the continuing story of the British landscape was the hook to keep the audience’s interest. Thanks to the voiceover, I was also free to let the animations draw the viewer’s attention, instead of worrying about people having to read the text as well. Then it was just a matter of getting to work and taking things one section at a time until it was done.
I wanted to use a very simple art style to allow me to get as much art and animation done as possible. I also took the opportunity to fill it with as many animals as possible, partly because ‘the environment’ means the animals that coexist with us as well as plants, and partly because I love to draw animals! The colour palette was also something I wanted to keep as simple as possible- something bright to reflect the hopeful call to action at the end of the video, and to give the video a distinctive look. I learnt a lot from the project- I hope you enjoy watching it!
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