Simple text and still images can be animated to become compelling stories…
Archive Mini-Story – NowThis‘s use of stock footage, still photography and minimal typography are effective ingredients in micro-length documentary.
Text annotation – NowThis News works with limited video footage, often taken from a single camera source, expanding with narrative typography, elliptical editing and video effects.
Sound Design – the secret weapon of editing picture is sound. Pitchfork’s Liner Notes series breathes further life into its static visual elements (still photographs, hand-drawn graphics, film clutter) with audio elements (voice over, audio samples of a slide projector).
Limited Animation: Typography – from the master of the title sequence, Saul Bass. While ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ titles does incorporate some frame-by-frame animation, the energy and humour is mostly generated by the movement of its static elements: text, stylised illustration.
Moving Details – the way we move between slides can be energetic in itself. Then within each slide, we can nest moving parts, creating more visual interest overall. Visually, the more we copy/paste or re-use the same elements (eg same background, font, text size, colours), the better:
Collage – the handmade scrapbook aesthetic of American Dynasties – The Kennedys title sequence is achieved through its various treatments of archival photographs: crude masks, textured backgrounds, and blending modes.
Handmade – Ahoy sidesteps the computer altogether to edit together this research video, instead printing out stills (perhaps onto paper, possibly onto transparent acetate?), which he then slides in and out of frame by hand. These slides could even have been a detailed storyboard, which feature strong typography and design aesthetics. Together with well-scripted voiceover narration, ‘The First Video Game’ maintains visual interest throughout its one-hour runtime:
Montage – with enough images and a lot of organisation, when the duration of each slide is short enough, you effectively create stop-motion animation. Here’s a mind-bending example from Páraic McGloughlin:
Check out more next-level motion design from Kevin McGloughlin.