I’m sure you’ve noticed the growth in so-called ‘whiteboard animation’ videos on the Internet.
You know. The ones where an artist’s hand is seen to sketch out text and images in double-quick time to illustrate the message the video is trying to get across.
And I’m sure, like most people, you find this type of video very entertaining to watch and maybe you’re curious as to how they are made and would like to know whether you could make them too.
In this article, I will answer some of the most common questions about whiteboard animation videos and demonstrate that they are far easier to create than you probably imagine.
Are you ready? Then let’s dive in.
1. Why should you use video?
We’ll start at Square One. If you are trying to get a message across, whether to sell something, educate people or just to entertain, why choose video over other formats?
There are at least three good reasons.
Firstly, video is the most accessible, immediate and compelling medium around at the moment. We are all used to watching TV or film and digesting content in the form of moving images. We associate it with being entertained and we like to be entertained.
In other words, people are more likely to stick with a video until the end than they are with pure text or text and images.
Second, the Internet loves video. People will share entertaining or informative video content through social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, with a readiness not found with other formats. (When did you last hear of a printed document ‘going viral’?)
And Google loves video. Do a search on almost any subject and you will find a good crop of videos appearing prominently. It has been amply demonstrated that, all else being equal, a video will rank higher and more quickly than the same content in another form will.
Third, if you create a video, you have the means to easily adapt it to present the same information in other formats. You can strip off the audio to create something people can listen to and have that audio transcribed to have something people can read.
2. Why should you use whiteboard animation videos?
In simple terms, whiteboard animation videos have all of the plus points of other videos, but much more so.
First, there is always something happening on screen to keep the viewer engaged and interested.
Second, most of us have been brought up on cartoons and the element of animation creates a powerful subconscious draw. It brings the kid out in us.
Third, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Carefully chosen images in a whiteboard animation can engage with viewers on an emotional level that simple words cannot. The fact that those images are moving only adds to the engagement.
For all of these reasons, whiteboard animation videos have been shown to be significantly more effective at getting a message across than other video formats. And that is particularly true of sales messages.
3. Why else should you use whiteboard animation videos?
Still not convinced? Then here’s the decider.
Yes, whiteboard animation videos are entertaining and informative but they are also a whole lot more fun to watch than dry wordy PowerPoint presentations.
Which would you rather sit down and watch (and pay attention to) – a serious public information film or an episode of the Road Runner trashing Wile E Coyote (yet again)?
That is an extreme example but you get the point. We are going to be much more ready to digest information if we are having even a little bit of fun along the way.
In other words, we learn better when we are being entertained.
But that is not all. Having to break information down into a form where it can be demonstrated with simple sketch images and short text snippets forces whoever is making the video to present even complex concepts in an accessible manner.
4. How do you make whiteboard animation videos?
Not so long ago, it used to be very hard or very expensive to create whiteboard animation.
You literally had to get a graphic artist to draw the images and text you wanted to use in your video and then film them doing it in ‘real time’.
You then had to use some clever technology and editing skills to speed up the footage you had taken and make it synchronise with the message you were trying to get across.
If you were not gifted with the whole range of expertise required to do this for yourself, you had to employ some very expensive professionals to do it for you.
And that did not come cheap.
That is why almost all of the early whiteboard animation videos that hit the Internet streets came from big businesses with deep pockets.
Fortunately for the rest of us, that has now all changed.
There is now ‘off-the-shelf’ software that automates the process of creating whiteboard animation.
In simple terms, you just select the images and text you want to use, specify how you want them to be animated and let the software do the rest.
5. How does whiteboard animation software work?
The first thing you will need to do is write down the key points you want to convey in your video.
Next, you develop your outline into a ‘script’. How detailed this is will depend on how good you are at ad-libbing.
(If your video is not going to have a voiced narrative, you will, of course, miss out this step.)
You then use your script to create a rough ‘storyboard’. This will indicate the type of images and text you want to use to illustrate each of your points.
Text is easy because the software will provide a text-editing tool, much like a standard word processor. You will just select the font, color, etc you want to use.
Images may be a little more difficult. The software will come with a built-in image library and you may be able to find most (or even all) of what you need there.
If not, you can pay a few dollars to acquire royalty-free images from online stock image libraries. Or, if you have particularly specialized needs, you can always pay someone on websites like Fiverr.com to create tailored images for you.
You now fire up the software and you are ready to roll.
If you have a narrative, you can record that inside the software or import an audio file you created elsewhere.
Then it’s just a case of adding the images and text to the virtual whiteboard in the order you want them to appear. You will be able to specify the animation effect you want to use to introduce each image or text, how long you want it to take and whether you want it to stick around or disappear.
If you have a narrative, you will need to play around with timings to make sure what happens on screen dovetails with what is being said.
When you have finished, you hit ‘create video’ and job done.
Your new whiteboard animation video is now ready to be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, your website or wherever else you want to place it.
6. Should you be using whiteboard animation?
Yes! All else being equal, whiteboard animation videos are going to out-perform run-of-the-mill videos in a whole array of applications.
They have been shown to be more effective at selling, training, presenting and entertaining.
And with very affordable software now on the market to automate the process of creating whiteboard animation, there is no longer any excuse for not using this powerful medium in your online activities.
This is especially true if you aren’t the most polished presenter out there. Whiteboard animation carries a highly perceived value because it looks slick and professional and few people realise that it can now be produced cost-effectively.
And here is another reason to use whiteboard animation. It is a whole lot of fun!
When you start enjoying the video production process, not only will it stop feeling so much of a ‘chore’, that enjoyment will also come across in your finished product, making it even more effective at getting your message across.