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Overview

The VAST with Overlay template is an easy way to create videos needed for in-stream video ads by replacing default images, video files, and text in an Adobe After Effects file, then rendering the project to produce a high resolution video which can be uploaded to Amazon Ad Server (AAS).

Since the VAST ad format is not HTML-based, the VAST with Overlay template enables customers to add additional creative elements to their video ads, making it a good fit for for brand awareness and upper-funnel campaigns. This solution is recommended for (but is not limited to) a variety of AAS verticals, including retail, telco, and health and beauty.

This guide covers the process of creating a video using one of the VAST with Overlay templates. This solution does not require coding. It requires very basic knowledge of After Effects and replacing image and video assets, as well as customizing text.

Note

Note: The VAST with Overlay template is intended to render a video at the highest specifications. The video can then be encoded/transcoded in AAS or an external video encoder/transcoder such as Adobe Media Encoder, Handbrake, or FFMpeg to match a publisher’s specifications. For more information about video auto-transcoding in AAS, see Work with video auto-transcoding Amazon Ad Server.

Capabilities and limitations

Feature

Availability

DCO

N/A

Responsive

N/A

Unfriendly iFrame

N/A

MRAID

N/A

Demo

Here are three examples in which the VAST with Overlay template was used to obtain the video used in the in-stream ads below:

Box-Frame demos:

Side-Frame demos:

Full-Frame demos:

Create a video using a VAST with Overlay template

Download the template bundle

Download one of the official VAST with Overlay templates. There are three layouts available: The Box-Frame layout in which the video is showcased in the center and other elements can slightly overlap sections of the video, a Side-Frame layout where content is displayed to the right and below the video, and the Full-Frame layout where the video takes up the whole frame the overlay content sits on top of the entire video.

Each bundle contains:

  • A .psd Photoshop design file optionally used to design and export your customized assets.

  • An .aep After Effects project file.

  • A folder named assets containing all the default, unbranded image assets and the English version of the “available at Amazon” logo (Except for the full frame version, you would add the Amazon logo to the Photoshop design file).

Please do not modify the structure of the unzipped bundle as this will cause broken paths to the images inside the After Effects file.

The following table details the elements that are included in the After Effects 1920x1080 project. All elements are found in the project library in the After Effects project.

Box-Frame & Side-Frame Library

Element name

Description

Required

Customizable

1_UI_ToBeUpdated folder

Folder containing all the user interface elements to be updated.

Required

N/A

BackgroundImage.png

Placeholder 1920x1080 background image.

Optional

Yes

CTAImage.png

Placeholder image for the call-to-action button.

Optional

Yes

Logo.png

Placeholder image for brand logo.

Optional

Yes

Object.png

Placeholder image for a product image or another branded asset.

Optional

Yes

2_PlaceholderVideo_ToBeUpdated folder

Folder containing placeholder video elements to be updated.

Required

N/A

PlaceholderVideo_15s

Placeholder footage for a 15-second video.

Required

Yes

PlaceholderVideo_30s

Placeholder footage for a 30-second video.

Required

Yes

3_AvailableAtAmazon_Logo_ToBeUpdated folder

Folder containing the English version of the "available at Amazon" logo.

Optional

N/A

available_at_amazon_logo.png

English version of the "available at Amazon" logo to be replaced with a local version of the "available at Amazon" logo.

Optional

Yes

4_Composition_dependencies_DoNotModify folder

Folder containing the 15s and 30s brand video compositions.

Required

N/A

Video_15s_Comp composition

15s duration composition holding and auto-scaling the brand video.

Required

No

Video_30s_Comp composition

30s duration composition holding and auto-scaling the brand video.

Required

No

1920x1080_15s composition

15s duration main template composition.

Required

Yes

1920x1080_30s composition

30s duration main template composition.

Required

Yes

Full-Frame Library

Customize the design file

If all the required assets are already available for replacement in the After Effects template, this section can be skipped. Please proceed to the Prepare the source assets section.

Open the PSD design file in Photoshop. It contains a 1920x1080 artboard with a placeholder video space, a placeholder for a logo image and a product or other brand image, a generic CTA button, and a Headline and Sub-Headline.

1920x1080_Frame.png

The white background can be changed to use a plain color or an image. If a plain background color is desired, no edits are needed in the design file for the background. If an image background is available, the white background in the design file can be replaced with a custom image. The size of the image is 1920x1080px. Please be aware that the area of the background image where the space for the video is will be covered by the video in the final design.

Replace the logo with the desired brand logo, and the element called object with either a product image or another brand image. The brand logo and brand object should have at least one dimension (width or height) match the same dimension of the placeholder logo or object.

Customize the CTA button. The CTA background color and text can be customized in the PSD file, or a custom CTA image can be used to replace the contents of the CTAImage folder.

The headline and sub-headline as well as the placeholder video image do not need to be customized in the design template unless a complete preview of the final overlay is desired.

Prepare the source assets

If the individual assets are already available, make sure they match the requirements and naming conventions listed below. Otherwise, export the image assets from the source design files and prepare the video. Each element should be exported as a separate file, cropping the parts where needed. Ensure that images are clear and high resolution, and the source video has a 16:9 aspect ratio. For the Box-Frame and Side-Frame templates, export each element separately. Be sure to crop and name each component appropriately based on the information bellow. For the Full-Frame template, export the entire design from the PSD as one image that contains all design elements in it.

Note

Note: Image files will be scaled down or up to match the minimum dimensions listed. This means an image at a smaller size will be scaled up and may cause the image to drop in quality.

File naming conventions

If customized assets are readily available, they should be renamed to match the below. For ease of use, all image files extensions should be .png. However, if .png files are not available .jpg or another image format image files can be used. The procedure for customizing the After Effects project with image files in a different format than .png is described later on.

The assets needed are:

Asset

File name

Template

Background image

BackgroundImage.png

Box-Frame, Side-Frame

CTA image

CTAImage.png

Box-Frame, Side-Frame

Brand logo

Logo.png

Box-Frame, Side-Frame

Product or other brand image

Object.png

Box-Frame, Side-Frame

Overlay image

OverlayImage.png

Full-Frame

  1. A video file with a 16:9 aspect ratio. If the source video has a different aspect ratio it will be automatically scaled up or down without being distorted to fit into the 16:9 aspect ratio needed in the template and black bars (or empty space) will fill the areas that the video does not. To avoid this undesirable outcome please edit the source video prior to adding it to the template so that it has a 16:9 aspect ratio.

    There is no specific requirement for the dimensions of the source video, but it is highly recommended that the aspect ratio is 16:9 and the bit rate is as high as possible—at least 15 Mbps, preferably 20Mbps. Please make sure the frame rate of the video source file is at least 30fps. If a lower frame rate source video is used publishers may flag the ad with a duplicate frame warning.

    The following specifications for the source video are recommended for best results:

    • File type: MP4 or MOV

    • Video codec: H.264

    • Audio codec: AAC

    • Dimensions: 1920x1080

    • Aspect ratio: 16:9

    • Frame rate: 30fps

    • Bit rate: 15 Mbps+

    • Duration: 15s or 30s

  2. Brand logo image. There are no absolute dimensions required for the logo image but the logo will be scaled without being distorted to be contained inside a 300x300px space.

    Logo recommended specifications:

    • A .png file at a high resolution.

    • At least one dimension (width or height) equal to or greater than 300px.

    • Exported from the .psd design template at 1x as .png using the highest settings available, named Logo.png.

    • If your logo is smaller than 300x300 add some transparent space around the image so that it fits the area.

  3. Product or a different brand-specific image. There are no absolute dimensions required for the product or brand-specific image. Please be aware that this image will be scaled without being distorted to be contained inside a 324x324px space in the Side-Frame template and 375x375px space in the Box-Frame template.

    Product image recommended specifications:

    • A .png file at a high resolution.

    • At least one dimension (width or height) equal to or greater than 324px or 375px depending on the chosen template.

    • Exported from the .psd design template at 1x as .png using the highest settings available, named Object.png.

    • If your product image is smaller than the required size add some transparent space around the image so that it fits the area.

  4. Background image. This is not required, but if it is desired that the overlay have an image for the background rather than a uniform color, a 1920x1080px background image is needed.

    Background image recommended specifications:

    • A .png file at a high resolution.

    • Size: 1920x1080px

    • At least one dimension (width or height) equal to or greater than 324px or 375px depending on the chosen template.

    • Exported from the .psd design template at 1x as .png using the highest settings available, named BackgroundImage.png.

    It is highly advised that the background image be adjusted and exported from the design template .psd file to make sure the proper space is available for the video and the background imagery does not interfere with any of the other elements in the template.

  5. CTA button image. There is no specific size requirement for the CTA image and it will not be automatically scaled in the VAST with Overlay template. You will be responsible for ensuring the CTA image fits in the available space.

    CTA button image recommended specifications:

    • A .png file at a high resolution.

    • Size: at least 315x100px.

    • Exported from the .psd design template at 1x as .png using the highest settings available, named CTAImage.png.

  6. Messaging for a headline and a subheadline. These are not required, but recommended. If your specific ad does not need a headline or subheadline, these elements can be hidden or removed when the VAST with Overlay template is customized.

  7. Overlay image (Full-Frame only). This file is used in the Full-Frame template only. It’s the single files that contains all the graphical elements that will be show over the video.

    Overlay image recommended specifications:

    • A .png file at a high resolution.

    • Size: at least 1920x1080px.

    • Exported from the .psd design file at 1x as .png using the highest settings available, named OverlayImage.png.

Template usage

The template has been designed so that no coding is required. The two areas of focus are:

  1. Replacing existing placeholder assets with branded final design assets, making sure to match the requirements listed in the Prepare the source assets section above.

  2. Rendering a final video file using best specifications which can then be uploaded to AAS and encoded/transcoded to the publisher’s specifications.

Set up your ad in Amazon Ad Server

After the final video has been rendered and a high resolution video file is available, proceed to setting up a VAST ad in AAS. For more information, see Set up an in-stream video.

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