How to create explainer videos for free

Case Study on Creating a Free Explainer Video from Start to Finish.

  How to create explainer videos for free
Table of contents

We tested and analyzed all possible tools — and some seemingly impossible ones — to determine if it's feasible to create an explainer video for free.

Did we succeed? Yes, in some cases.

Was the result satisfactory? Sometimes.

Would we recommend this approach to others? No.

Continue reading to learn more about our experiment.

Is it possible to create an explainer video 100% for free?

Is it possible to create an explainer video entirely for free?

That's a crucial question worth addressing.

You've likely seen ads for free tools, yet they often require at least a subscription payment to access full features.

And let's be real: even if you manage to use these tools without spending money, the outcome will likely fall short compared to a professionally crafted video. Plus, you'll invest a significant amount of time.

Ask yourself, what's your time worth? I'd wager it's no less than $15 per hour.

With that perspective, let's examine the necessary steps to create a video, one by one.

Diving into the production process

  How to create explainer videos for free

1. The Script

For an explainer video, a script is non-negotiable.

You might think, "I know my business inside out; surely I can write the script myself." This approach isn't advisable. It's akin to saying, "I know my body best, so I'll perform surgery on myself."

Professional scriptwriters are among the highest paid professionals for a reason—they've honed their skills over years to consistently deliver impactful results.

Another common misstep is to enlist a friend who's good at blogging or has a way with words.

To draw a medical analogy: just as doctors specialize in different fields, so do writers. An ophthalmologist isn't qualified to perform surgery meant for an obstetrician, despite both being doctors.

Similarly, not all scriptwriters can craft an effective explainer video script.

We learned this the hard way. Several years ago, we hired a scriptwriter who had won a Golden Lion for a commercial script. Despite his impressive credentials, he couldn't meet the specific demands of our project, and we had to part ways.

My advice?  

Hire a professional explainer script writer.

However, if you're set on writing a script yourself, here are some tips to guide you:

  1. Immerse yourself in everything related to writing scripts for explainer videos.
  2. Aim to keep your script under 60 seconds.
  3. Start with a powerful hook in the first 15-20 words that addresses your audience's pain points.
  4. Clearly articulate your solution.
  5. Focus on the main benefit, not the features.
  6. If your solution isn't unique, emphasize what sets you apart.
  7. End with a clear call to action, so viewers know what step to take next.

2. Concept

When it comes to the concept of your free explainer video, you might find your options are a bit tight.

You'll often have to choose a pre-made template that matches your business and product the best.

Don't make things too complicated—steer clear of overused stock images that people might recognize from other websites or template videos. Sticking to simple text animations with some motion in the graphics is a safe bet to keep things clear and uncluttered.

3. Storyboard and Visual Style

I find myself repeating, but it's worth noting: free or low-cost explainer video tools usually offer limited customization.

Look for a platform that allows you to tweak the color palette to match your brand, and offers themes that use abstract imagery to stay on brand without being too specific.

4. Voice Over

For voiceovers, the most budget-friendly options might include AI voice generators or recording it yourself.

But honestly, for a professional touch, consider going to a marketplace like Fiverr and hiring a voice artist for around $50. Plan your script in detail to prevent extra costs from revisions.

And don't forget to check if the voiceover includes a commercial license—some artists offer this, and some don't.

5. Finalizing Your Video

The last step is pretty straightforward—export your video in MP4 HD format, which is standard for web use. The size should depend on where you plan to use it: choose a horizontal format (1920x1080) for websites, or square (1x1) or vertical (9x16) for social media and stories.

  How to create explainer videos for free

Which Explainer Video Maker Tops the List?

Choosing the best explainer video maker really boils down to your specific needs. For animation-centric projects, Renderforest shines, while Canva or Adobe Spark could be solid picks for other types of videos.

However, it's crucial to consider the learning curve—test their free versions to see which interface clicks with you.

What’s the Price Tag on This DIY Project?

How much it'll set you back hinges on the hours you pour into it. For non-pros, expect to dedicate about a week, plus an additional $50 for a voiceover and any tool subscription fees.

If you tally up the hours spent, you're looking at around $1575, given your time is worth money too.

Video—Is It About the Craft or the Selling?

Here's something to ponder as you weigh your options. Having been in the explainer video field since 2014, I've encountered a common misunderstanding: that explainer videos are all about the fancy production.

That's a myth.

A top-notch animation means little if your core message isn't solid.

For instance, take Dropbox's "What is Dropbox?" video. The production quality is modest, something a beginner animator could achieve, but the concept and message are on point, winning them millions of customers.

The takeaway? Explainer videos—and marketing videos in general—are about effective communication. It's your message that needs to resonate, to compel the audience to act.

And the Outcome?

Chances are, a DIY explainer video might end up looking amateurish, with generic visuals and a concept that doesn't stand out. But is it worthwhile? Some creators take pride in what they've personally crafted. So if funds are tight and time isn't, then taking the DIY route could be your answer.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing.

For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

text element using
the "When inside of" nested selector system.
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