redtech helped Microsoft create an online, interactive, video-based training system to reduce its costs while also providing better training to Microsoft advertisers. But, a critical challenge was finding a way to cost-effectively produce the training videos—100 videos in just 6 months. To meet time and budget goals, redtech created an automated production and post-production process, and was able to produce top-quality videos in half the typical production time, at up to 88 percent lower cost.

Company

  • Microsoft

Industry

  • Technology/Advertising

Technologies used

  • Adobe Creative Suite
The company needed to reduce the cost of training marketers to use the Microsoft Atlas Media Console, which is a part of the portal that offers comprehensive tools for planning, managing, and reporting on advertising campaigns run through Microsoft media channels. So, we created an online, interactive, video-based system called the Microsoft Atlas Training Application, to eliminate costly in-person trainings.

However, creating the training environment was just the first part of the challenge for us. Microsoft also needed to create more than 100 educational videos that covered the principles of ad placement and ad serving, in less than 6 months. Under usual circumstances, it would take approximately 1 week to edit and produce a 5-minute long video. For 100 videos, this could take nearly 2 years—but Microsoft needed the videos in 6 months, to meet the deadline for the launch of the training site.

The Solution

Microsoft evaluated proposals from other vendors, but found the quality they offered to be inferior and at a higher price than redtech’s. We used an approach that combined motion graphics and animation, and a voice-over script with instructional screenshots as the narrator walks the viewer through how-to steps for completing tasks in the Atlas Media Console.

Since most of the videos shared a common look-and-feel, and sizing, we created reusable templates to achieve high economies of scale. We also created an automated process for performing post-production work in Adobe After Effects, such as identifying cut points and inserting fade-ins and fade-outs. To do this, we tracked and logged the script, audio, and images in Microsoft Excel. Then, we wrote a script using the After Effects Scripting language (which is based on JavaScript) to transfer all of this information to a master timeline. The script also prompted After Effects to automatically add transitions and stitch the key frames into a cohesive film.

The Results

redtech successfully created a video production system for Microsoft that automated highly manual processes. Using the solution, we were able to meet Microsoft’s rigorous launch deadline and reduce production costs significantly.

Streamlined video production

Building reusable templates for creating common video elements meant we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel for each video we created. And, using a script that automated post-production work, we reduced the time it takes to produce animated videos averaging 5 minutes in length from 80 hours to 8 hours. The time savings allowed us to produce 100 training videos for Microsoft in 6 months rather than 2 years—or 75 percent faster.

Lower Costs

The production time savings also contributed to lower costs for Microsoft. We were able to produce 100 videos for approximately 88 percent less than it would have cost had we not used templates and automation, allowing Microsoft to truly capitalize on its new, cost-efficient online training environment. It also allows the company to continue to produce and release new videos at a low cost, because the automated production system is already in place.

Excellent training

As part of the broader training environment, the videos allow Microsoft marketers to train on their own time. Knowledge retention is enhanced because the videos are always available to refer to later, and, they are part of a complete system that includes support, progress tracking, and reporting.

Please see our other Microsoft advertising case study, Microsoft Atlas Advertising Training Platform that tells the story of how we developed the online training platform where Microsoft showcases these training videos. The online training platform has contributed to significant training cost reductions for Microsoft