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Whiteboard Animation Process

What It Takes to Create A Whiteboard Animation

It seems simple enough. You have an idea you want to convey. You write the script and draw sketches that visually represent what the narrator says. Since people speak faster than they sketch, the film of the artist drawing needs to be sped up to match the narration it supports. And there you have it, right?

It’s not quite as simple as that, but with proper planningthe right talent and the right equipment, you can produce a whiteboard animation to be proud of.

Proper Planning

How long should it be?
That’s a decision you’ll make based on your intended audience, keeping in mind the shrinking American attention span. Once you know how long you want it to be, before you draw anything, write the script.

The Script
The length of the animation, the visual ques and the story you want to tell all lie within the words. When writing the script, keep in mind that you’re telling a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. And, it’s a visual story. Each sentence should be able to be visually represented. Cut your excess words to the bone. Read the script out loud for smoothness and timing. If it runs longer than you planned, cut.

Make notes or rough sketches to visually represent the story. If you can’t come up with an image, go back to the script. You need to have a rough sketch plan, or storyboard, that shows each sketch to be drawn. There should be a sketch for every important sentence in the narration, and every sentence needs to be important.

If there’s a call to action at the end of the animation, you want the story to lead the audience to the same conclusion.

The Right Talent

You might be the right talent for certain parts of the project, but it’s unlikely you can do it all. Unlikely, but not impossible. A more common situation would be that you may be a great illustrator but are lousy with words. You may have a smooth voice, but don’t know a thing about cameras or editing. It’s likely you personally bring a lot to the project, but here’s what you need talent-wise for a winning whiteboard video:

Script Writer
Visual story telling in a two or three minute animation isn’t as easy as it seems. Maybe you can do it. If not, you may be better off finding some help with the script. Just like the movies, even though everyone praises the director, there wouldn’t be a movie without a script.

Illustrator
If you’re an illustrator, that’s great. You already understand the need for simplicity in the drawings. Even though the speed will be increased, you don’t want to waste time drawing complicated images. This is a simple form of communication that should capture and hold the attention of the viewer. You want them to get the idea you’re trying to get across. It’s not an art class. If there are drawings that don’t move your story forward, they don’t belong on the whiteboard. The illustrator should also be good at keeping his head out of the shot.

If you don’t have this particular talent, find someone who does.

Voice-over narrator
You may be a smooth talker, but that doesn’t guarantee a smooth narration. You’ll have to read the script out loud many times to narrow it down to the length you want anyway, so why not record it? Listen to your voice. Are your pauses natural? Is there emphasis where it needs to be? Would you want to listen to you? If not, maybe you should consider some outside talent.

Videographer/Lighting
If you’re using a professional, make sure they have their own equipment, including lighting.

If you’re taking this on yourself, you need to familiarize yourself with the camera – at least a decent DSLR camera. You’ll need a tripod, and lighting equipment to ensure the whiteboard looks white and the artist’s hand looks human. You want to make sure there are no shadows or glares on the whiteboard and that there are no other light sources intruding on the balance you’ve created.

Film everything.

Editing
A professional editor will probably use Final Cut or Adobe Premier. If you’re using a professional editor, you’ll want to work closely with them so they understand your vision.

If you’re doing the editing yourself, ScreenFlow software can be learned relatively quickly.

The Right Equipment

Whiteboard
It seems obvious to say you need a whiteboard for a whiteboard presentation, but there is another option. You could choose to tape a large piece of white paper to a wall. Paper has a couple of advantages. It provides more defined lines and less glare. The disadvantage is that you can’t erase and redraw.

Recording Equipment
If you’re recording in a studio, you’ll have the right equipment. If not, find a place with no background noise. Tape the script to something in front of the narrator to avoid noise from the paper.

Video Equipment
As stated earlier, if you use a professional, they’ll bring their own. If you doing it yourself, you need the camera, a tripod, and maybe some lens filters if they’re available for you camera.

Whiteboard Recording Equipment

Lighting
If everything else about your animation is top notch, but the lighting is inconsistent or distracting because of glare or shadows, it will make you look like an amateur. You can’t just walk in the room, flip on the light switch and start filming. You’ll need special, moveable lighting to create just the right balance.

Editing Software
You can get good results with some basic editing software like ScreenFlow if you’re doing it yourself. If you’re already a pro, you have access to more sophisticated editing software.

Markers
Fine point Sharpies are great. Decide if you’re doing a black and white sketch, or if you want to use a color for emphasis on certain images. Have backups available. Who wants to have to stop in the middle of filming to run to the store for markers? Sometimes it’s the little things that trip us up.

Anything is possible if you take it one step at a time, even a professional whiteboard animation. You just need to remember to:

  • Know your audience and plan what you want to say to them, how you want to say it, what images represent what you’re saying, and how long it should take to make your point.
  • Make sure you have the right talent for the right job. Unless you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ll probably need the help of a professional at some point.
  • Make sure you have the equipment and materials you need before you start.

It does seem simple enough, doesn’t it?

 

 

CREDITS:

Thanks to: http://charityvideo.tumblr.com/post/61565968191/how-to-create-a-whiteboard-animation and http://www.31v.nl/2012/05/a-practical-guide-on-how-to-make-a-whiteboard-animation-part-1-the-setup/ For inspiring and providing some of the information in this post.

 

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We've made over 100 whiteboard videos in 2014 alone.
Here are few of our happy clients

Client
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    Amy F., JumpCourse.com

    "WhiteBoard Stories created engaging and informative videos for me with a very short turn-around and with a small budget. I liked the first video so much that I ordered 4 more! I cannot say enough good things about their Customer Service. Adam was super responsive, flexible, and certainly believes that the customer is always right (even when I wasn't). I would use them again in a heartbeat. ".

  • img

    Amy F., JumpCourse.com

    "WhiteBoard Stories created engaging and informative videos for me with a very short turn-around and with a small budget. I liked the first video so much that I ordered 4 more! I cannot say enough good things about their Customer Service. Adam was super responsive, flexible, and certainly believes that the customer is always right (even when I wasn't). I would use them again in a heartbeat. ".

  • img

    Amy F., JumpCourse.com

    "WhiteBoard Stories created engaging and informative videos for me with a very short turn-around and with a small budget. I liked the first video so much that I ordered 4 more! I cannot say enough good things about their Customer Service. Adam was super responsive, flexible, and certainly believes that the customer is always right (even when I wasn't). I would use them again in a heartbeat. ".