Let us tell you about one of our best explainer videos -Yotaxi. YoTaxi is an app for hailing taxis. You simply tap on the app and a taxi will come to you. YoTaxi wanted us to explain how this app made lives easy, having none of the drawbacks of call taxis.Yo taxi also wanted us to make a character around whom all their branding would revolve.
How we approached it
Oh! We had some really ambitious plans for YoTaxi (making it one of our best explainer videos, for instance…nah! we didn’t plant that! We want every explainer video we make to be one of our best explainer videos). The YoTaxi app works on Smartphones and from there we started to get the beginnings of an idea. We decided to use the Smartphone itself as a character and called him Sammy.
Sammy was peeved, and with good reason — the call taxis had been giving him a tough time. So now naturally somebody had to come to his rescue and explain the merits of YoTaxi to him. We decided that this person would be (what else?) a taxi. So now we had our other character “Yo”— a taxi who would introduce Sammy to this cool app. Naturally, if a Smartphone was to be a key character, he would live in a Smartphone world and so we developed a suitable “imaginary” world for Sammy. The explanation of the App and its interface had to be weaved into the conversation between our two central characters.
With the imaginative core idea, we naturally had to go for an elaborate style. The characters would not be human. The style would include lots of assets, all giving the “feel” of a Smartphone world. A unique bit that we were planning to try out in this video was the conversation.
We usually use a voice-over that narrates. The characters themselves just act. But here there would be dialogues being delivered by Sammy and Yo. Yes, as if we did not have enough challenge with a tight deadline, non-human, anthropomorphic characters, and imaginary asset-laden world, we were going to try to lip-sync too! Bring it on! We (actually the visualizers and animators) were all set to face one mountain of a challenge head-on.
While we used a colorful mix of vibrant hues, we added a “matte” effect on it so that colors were not jarring. For Yo we used the corporate colors of Yellow and Black. Know what? Sammy, in our initial animations, was sporting a bright scarlet jacket with sneakers that matched! But later we decided it was a bit too loud, even for us, and went for the rather sober grey.
In this video, characters are extremely important because these characters were going to be at the heart of YoTaxi branding. The “Yo” character would be used in their logo and would be like a mascot for YoTaxi. So Yo had to be memorable.
To a large extent, the nature of the characters determined their look. Sammy was a representative of the target market for the app. So he had to be young, urban, educated-looking. He hated to waste time and hated the kind of service call taxis provided. Yo, on the other hand, had to stand for what YoTaxi, the brand, stood for. Yo, therefore, had to look young, confident, smart, cool and friendly. We had to trash some really great characters, just because they did not have the essential “look” that went with the character’s personality.
The YoTaxi video was meant to remind you of an animated cartoon video you would catch on TV— like Mickey Mouse, Tom and Jerry, and other classics. The characters and the conversation we had going between them would lend themselves easily to this kind of a style. Just to add spice to the first part, we added a title (again reminiscent of the classics), “How Sammy Met Yo”.
As mentioned before, we planned a Smartphone world. We had an awful lot of fun thinking up what would constitute such a world. Hence you will find places like “Charging Parlor” and “E-book library” etc. The video is replete with such elements, plus a few Smartphone-world citizens thrown in every now and then in the background. We wanted the viewer to notice something new when they saw the video a second time around.
With this theme, we had to think out-of-the box…for example, how would a Smartphone use an app? By placing it on his chest, of course!
Other important things needed to be tackled in the video too. The visuals had to bring in the drastic contrast between YoTaxi and any other taxi. Humor elements were added for good measure and complimented the dialogues.
To say that animation was challenging, would be an understatement..it would be like saying the Himalaya is just a mountain. YoTaxi was like the Big Daddy of challenges. Why? There was just so much going on! And the lip-sync, it needs a really careful animator to be able to deliver that. There were a lot of movements, truck-loads of emotions and then, of course, as I have mentioned many times already the megabazillion assets!
Our team was working day and night just to see that the Credit Card had “Sammy” written on it and that the eyes reflected light just right! We used Adobe Illustrator, Flash, After Effects and Sony Vegas in this video.
Sound effects played a crucial role in the YoTaxi video. The Voices for Sammy had to bring out two distinct personalities. Kudos to our Voice talent, David Braxton! Can you believe that the same person spoke for both the characters? Wow! Talent, indeed!
As we completed this project, we felt elated as a team. Our intention was to keep the viewer engaged, entertained and interested until the very end of the video. We enjoyed every second of it, hope you did too!
(Psst…made it this far? How about a little challenge? Look at the video and tell me what’re things that you can spy that make it look like a Smartphone world. When we said t was one our best explainer videos, we meant it, see?)
Screenplay : Vimida Das
Storyboard & illustration: Imod Raj
Animation & Editing: Azeem & Mithun
Creative Director : Santhosh