Animating a roundtable interview

When we were asked by Hamilton Fraser to create an animated video to celebrate their 20 year anniversary, we decided to take a different approach from usual. Rather than distilling everything into a script, then getting this signed off and voiced, we set up a series of roundtable interview recordings with Hamilton Fraser staff at which we invited them to talk about their experiences of the company. We recorded eight people at once, each on a separate audio channel, then boiled down the best bits into a 14-minute “super-edit”, which we transcribed (all 2,415 words of it) and shared with the client. From this, we created a 90-second final version, and then used that as a basis for the animation.

Animating a roundtable interview

When we were asked by Hamilton Fraser to create an animated video to celebrate their 20 year anniversary, we decided to take a different approach from usual. Rather than distilling everything into a script, then getting this signed off and voiced, we set up a series of roundtable interview recordings with Hamilton Fraser staff at which we invited them to talk about their experiences of the company. We recorded eight people at once, each on a separate audio channel, then boiled down the best bits into a 14-minute “super-edit”, which we transcribed (all 2,415 words of it) and shared with the client. From this, we created a 90-second final version, and then used that as a basis for the animation.

Audio Recording

We used a lightweight Zoom R16 8-track recorder and eight Rode M3 mics. This meant that each participant could be “on-mic” the whole time, and we could isolate whoever was speaking. We knew it wouldn’t be perfect, because everyone was at different distances from the mics and spoke at different volumes, but we felt that added to the overall authenticity of the piece.

Inspiration & Style

We provided a palette of potential styles, drawn from a variety of sources (eagle-eyed animation aficionados will spot work from the likes of Buck, Not To Scale and Oddfellows among others). The aim here isn’t to copy anyone, merely to gather a range of different options as a starting point for the eventual style of the piece. We loosely grouped these into mood boards featuring line art, painterly single-colour illustration, collage, and vector-based graphics.

Animation

Then it was onto the animation. We had quite a compressed timescale for this project of 3-4 weeks, including the time taken to edit the audio, so our storyboards were almost exactly as they’d appear in the finished animation, to shorten the approval process. With the addition of some subtle sound effects, we were done!