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                              How to provide feedback in animation and video production

                              If you look up in the dictionary the word “feedback” you will see that a circle of synonyms that spin around the meaning of this term is quite dense. You’ll see “response”, “reaction”, “comment”, “report”, “critique”. Sometimes “feedback” like a pointer on a clock indexes one of these words. But it can’t be mistaken with anything but itself.

                              Feedback has become a word with its own deep sense with many layers that aren’t always clear to the audience.

                              Main idea is to get a team of creators to know what they should be changing in order to make a video closer to your request.

                              Feedback as conception

                              Feedback could be a form of art, could be a reportage – a meticulous report about how exactly the product you have interacted with has worked out – or it may be a simple emotional reaction. Spoiler: the last one is almost useless. Why? Wait-wait, we’ll get there 🙂

                              We don’t say that feedback is philosophy, no. But partly it has something to do with a sharp, clear concept that should be provided by certain criteria.

                              Nowadays, when we continuously interact with content, products or services that basically require some reaction from us as customers or consumers, it is important to master this ability to leave feedback.

                              EmojiIllustration: Mohammad Amiri

                              A few thoughts on bad feedback

                              We would like to talk exclusively about bad feedback. Because such an impression doesn’t mean you are mindlessly critiquing someone. No, the reason is this small core of bad, but well-structured feedback that allows growing and becoming better.

                              Don’t get this wrong – good feedback is always a pleasure and it is better if you provide it. Only if the company deserves it, of course. But only bad feedback can really push the project forward, strive toward improvement and considerable changes. Such feedback is a way to help projects turn some flaws into truly great features.

                              However, critical feedback doesn’t have to be to damage or kill the motivation of the team. This is one of the reasons why we decided to create this manual instruction on how to give feedback professionally, effectively and with an intention to help.

                              This is exactly the kind of feedback that will reach the team that made a product you are leaving the feedback for. The correct form of a message that is capable of improving the project without frustrating the artists and creators.

                              Feedback given in the wrong way can easily demoralize the team. Feedback sharing culture has become an important part of relationships in many companies, but it still needs to be improved when it comes to customers.

                              Illustration: @howbeautifulyouare

                              So, shall we start?

                              Emotion versus reason: how we met Plato’s problem once again

                              Yeah, you get this right: even ancient Greek knew that emotions and reason are different trains that take us in the opposite directions. (Except for the fact that they didn’t know about trains). When it comes to evaluating things… trains don’t change their route.

                              Here’s the thing: most people don’t possess enough information about giving professional feedback and commenting wisely. Why? Well, first of all, we have a common comment culture, so to speak. People used to follow other people and be rather ironic, critical or negative in the comments. From the very moment the internet has enveloped us in its borders, we didn’t have rules on how to behave online. However, the years passed, and now it is easier to understand the concept of feedback as it is.

                              Feedback | Darvideo Blog

                              What seems to be the problem?

                              In most cases, we have received feedback that is based on emotions or impressions. It means that we receive more of a personal impression, unfiltered than constructive critique or profound comments that help to improve a product. Thus, we have nothing to use in order to make a product better. People are shouting from that strange train that is all the emotions.

                              It is natural for most people to say something they feel – especially if they dislike a thing. And that’s normal, but it is hard to consider as a feedback. Good and constructive feedback can be built on emotions only partly. The main base for it is always thinking, analyzing and clear intention to express not just emotions, but what has been done badly. Or simply what wasn’t working well.

                              Emotions, without a doubt, matter. It is how we feel about things and a part of our attitude to the world, including the world of animation, animated studios, various products etc. But this is something to express when you watch a movie or just chilling in a bar with friends.

                              However, if you are working with creative professionals you are not a guy that watches TV anymore. Here you need to use a professional approach, meaning, you need to get on a different train. In order to share thoughts and deliver the vision in compliance with your brand, the emotional comment won’t be much of help.

                              Funny picture about feedback

                              How to master helpful feedback?

                              You already figured it out, didn’t you? We couldn’t leave it just like that. Thus, we’ve prepared several approaches that will help to build more professional feedback and straighten the link between clients and creative teams, or, wider, between clients and companies.

                              We didn’t just make it up. This approach comes from our many and many years of practice in co-production and working with companies, agencies, creative studios and clients.

                              We produced thousands of different videos, creative graphics, all-kinds-of-creative projects and explaining videos. So… everything we say here comes from real experience. Our practice is an advisor here, not some books. In fact, we could write our own book on the subject!

                              Feedback | Darvideo

                              What are the borders of feedback we are talking about?

                              What is vital to keep in mind is that we are not talking about just the client’s feedback: internal feedback included, actually.

                              Any person who gives feedback can be someone outside of the project, can be a friend, art director, a project manager or just a colleague. So, we’re not talking only about the feedback that comes to the customer who paid money.

                              Feedback is much wider than just this: we are talking about any kind of commenting that may take place inside the company. It can be about anything: a draft, a sketch, a design, or even a script. Anything you would like to receive somebody’s point of view on. On a deeper level, your point of view is always a blueprint for feedback.

                              So, use feedback as a tool – it can be both great and useful, but also could be harmful. The art of feedback should be mastered properly in order to help make the creative process improve.

                              3 types of feedback

                              Generally speaking, there are 3 main types of feedback:

                              • Simple;
                              • Medium;
                              • Profound.

                              Feedback

                              Let’s take a look at each one.

                              • Simple feedback aka mostly useless

                              What is the most simple type of feedback? Just two words: no particulars.

                              This category is about a kind of “drafty” feedback. Usually, it is very general, obscure, and emotional. It does not provide a team of creators with any particulars on elements that should be revised. This is why such feedback is useless – you can’t receive a specific comment on particulars.

                              Such feedback sounds like this:

                              ” Wow… that’s great, but still needs revising”. – aka “something is not right, but you have to figure it out yourself”.

                              ” It doesn’t correspond to our idea”. – even though that idea was the core of the video…?

                              “That’s bad! too bad I don’t know what to do with this”. – nor do we!

                              “This is not what I expected” – disappointed clients that were trying to use an extrasensory path to deliver their vision, but the studio wasn’t enlightened enough:)

                              In this category, you are most likely to hear emotions without any particular information on the subject. Sometimes it could be one-sided or very general, thus – dim.

                              As a studio, we received many of such answers.

                              There you go:

                              “The video is good so far”;

                              “The video is really nice but I’m not sure about the colours”;

                              “The script is bad”;

                              “I don’t like it; It is totally what we didn’t expect”.

                              Well… anyone would find this kind of experience quite painful and unproductive. Creative teams are even more sensitive to such things. They spend a lot of time and energy trying to meet clients expectations and such a thing doesn’t help to provide a great productive loop, because… it says nothing.

                              It is also a demonstration of how immersed a person into a project, how well he/she is familiar with it.

                              Feedback | Darvideo Blog

                              •  Medium Feedback or how to balance emotions and reason

                              … and to balance them rather inefficiently.

                              This type of feedback is the most popular form people use to express their opinion on something.

                              It is better than simple feedback, but it still needs sharpness. Yes, it definitely is not so shallow, not so straight as the simple feedback,  but also so may not include a concept we call “proper solution”.

                              Here is the thing: most people can provide this kind of feedback without really mulling things over. It is, as you learn already from the title, a combination of emotions, reason, and professional points of view.

                              This is the level where you will hear something like this:

                              “We like the characters and the backgrounds, but we feel that the dynamic of the video is low and we need to make it better” – which is meant to change both characters and background in order to make the dynamic better:)

                              “On the timecode 00:20, another character should be added because the scene looks kind of lonely”. -a rare breed of feedback;)

                              “The sign on the screen says wrong information, please put the information like this “correct sign “”. – a kind of great backup!

                              It shows that the person giving the feedback has already analyzed the situation and looked through the video or another design project several times and has exact points that he or she wants to change or implement. That’s good, right?  The creative team will definitely value this kind of feedback friendly. They will happily implement everything because the feedback is clear and understandable. But…

                              This feedback is still on a medium level. Why?

                              • Sometimes it is accurate about things. It does include comments on something certain.
                              • Sometimes – this is another point – the comments are only general. As you’ve seen in the case of the “dynamic of the video” comment. It is insightful, right. But a team doesn’t have precise information on what they should be working on. “Wrong dynamic” – is too abstract.

                              Medium level feedback is generally good and welcoming:

                              a team will have the freedom to change something in order to make it better. A con is that sometimes such feedback doesn’t have the full information. For example, there are plenty of ways to make a video dynamic. Maybe cutting some words out, maybe making the scenes shorter or adding inter scenes.

                              To come up with a number of solutions art directors have to analyze both the answer and a video.

                              • Profound feedback or how to criticize professionally

                              Hurray! We are on top of this pyramid. So what is professional feedback?

                              Professional feedback is completely reasoned. It means that a person offers you a clear, point by point view on a subject.

                              Usually, it comes from the art director, team lead, head of design, head of a production and so on. In other words, this kind of feedback is normally prepared by a person who is giving feedback on a regular basis and whose job is to make professional feedback on other people’s services.

                               What are the features of professional feedback?

                              • Deep understanding of the product or video;
                              • Provide a solution: “We should change this frame on this one”.
                              • They have an example of how exactly a team should make changes;
                              • It always contains references, mood boards and some materials to inspire;
                              • Quite often people provide professional feedback accompanied by schemes, charts, additional materials and visual hints.

                              In most cases when you receive professional feedback you understand what kind of additional work has to be done in order to upgrade the video and to improve the animation.

                              Professional feedback should inspire people, the whole team, and companies to apply their best skills in order to bring better results.

                              Your Feedback. MEME websiteSource: MEME website

                              What are the reasons for not leaving simple and medium feedback?

                              There are a few reasons why people are leaning towards emotional response more than rational commenting. Here goes:

                              • Not knowing vocabulary and terms. Some clients don’t know a precise terms about animated videos, therefore they have to use rather emotional, obscure phrases as feedback;
                              • Some clients just need a video, and their expertise is very limited. Often they don’t know the difference between 2D and 3D video. By the way you can check the terms out here;
                              • It requires “insider” knowledge to learn what is a dynamic of a video or how the frame should be shaped.

                              If you don’t know how exactly to form your answer we just recommend to be as precise as possible:

                              • Take a look on characters and how they behave;
                              • Colors, voice-over, a frame;
                              • Learn some basics about types of animation in order to understand whether the result is what you need.

                              A few short advice to not mess up your feedback:

                              • Be specific;
                              • Ask yourself what can be better in order to enhance your goals;
                              • Be respectful and kind;
                              • Check your bias;
                              • Make sure your feedback is about a product, not about your emotions.

                              Conclusion

                              The best feedback is always something quite complex and precise in its structure. If you are leaving feedback try to talk about specifics – this is what helps a team to make it look better.

                              As you see, feedback really has features of art. It should be orchestrated accordingly if your goal is to help a team to make something they make better. Otherwise you will always stick at the level of simple feedback. 🙂

                              Need an animated video to train your feedback skills with us?

                              You are so much welcome to contact us here.

                              That’s it!

                              You may also be interested in:

                              How to build a great customer experience?

                              Darvideo is among the 100 highest performing video production companies

                              20 Interesting and Unobvious facts about video

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                              Comments

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                              Currently, yes!

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                              Important article
                              Thanks for the info

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