How To Make A Whiteboard Video

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Last week we highlighted a few examples of companies employing a “non-sales” video marketing strategy – videos that seek to entertain or inform, but not necessarily push a specific product or service that the company has to offer.

One of the examples we showed was a whiteboard video from SEOMoz, an SEO SaaS firm:

Whiteboard videos are an informal and strangely captivating way of explaining concepts or systems. Simply put, a whiteboard video consists of nothing more than a person standing in front of a whiteboard and sketching a visualization of what he or she is trying to explain, without the help of expensive animation or CGI. You’ve probably seen several variations online or on TV:


We’ve had several readers ask how to achieve the look of a whiteboard video on camera, so in this post we’re going to cover the technical aspects of creating your own whiteboard video.

Lighting

Lighting is easily the most difficult aspect of a good whiteboard video. There are several challenges that you will have to overcome. If you light too much from the front, your speaker will cast a shadow on the board. You also run the risk of throwing a glare onto the whiteboard, since whiteboards typically have a glossy coat. Since a whiteboard is already white, less is more. Starting with a darkened room:

  1. Light the speaker first. Use a large, front-facing light with a soft box or diffuser on it.
  2. Light the board next. With just the speaker lit from the front, he or she is probably casting a shadow on the board. To remove this and illuminate the board, place a light on the top-left and top-right corners of the board, right up against the wall. Have them point down towards the board, illuminating the space between the speaker and the board. This should eliminate any shadows.

If you’re limited on lighting solutions, be sure to use a well lit room. Avoid any open windows as sunlight can cast a glare on the board or alter the color temperature of the shot. If you have any floor lamps (especially with adjustable arms), arrange them in the corners of the room between your speaker and the whiteboard. Vellum paper over the fixture makes a great diffuser in a pinch.

Framing

There are two stylistic elements that you’ll see in almost every whiteboard video on the internet. The first is a locked-down camera. You can see in the above examples that the camera is mounted on a tripod and never moves. The second element is the framing of the whiteboard relative to the speaker. It’s important that the boarders or edges of the whiteboard are not visible. This gives the visual illusion that the speaker is infront of a seemingly endless whiteboard. You can also see in the above examples that the speaker is generally seen from the waist up, and has a lot of horizontal space to move around. Be sure that you have a large enough whiteboard, and enough space between your mounted camera and the whiteboard to achieve optimal framing. A GorillaPod placed on a tabletop a few feet away from your whiteboard should do the trick, in lieu of a tripod.

Audio

Since the on-camera speaker is going to be switching back and forth between looking at the camera and the board, getting consistent audio off a microphone that is attached to the camera will be difficult. To avoid any muddle audio, make sure your speaker only speaks when facing the camera, and doesn’t speak when facing to the side or towards the board. For optimal audio, have your speaker wear a microphone on their lapel, like a wireless lavalier mic. If your camera doesn’t have a microphone input, you could use a second audio recording device and match the recording with the video later in editing.

Producing a whiteboard video can require some pro equipment to get the best possible quality. 12 Stars Media’s full-service video production can deliver, but if you follow some of the tips outline above you should come out with a pretty good video. What examples of whiteboard videos have you seen?

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  • umairkhalid40

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  • umairkhalid40

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  • umairkhalid40

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  • umairkhalid40

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  • umairkhalid40

    You have covered the technical aspects on Whiteboard Animation quite beautifully. Lighting is definitely the most important aspect of a Whiteboard Video. Quality do matters to make your video standout, same is the case with Whiteboard Animation. For more information about whiteboard animation, you can visit the following link:
     
    http://www.videoexplainers.com

  • Great Video. I really enjoyed watch this video. Such a great information for making Whiteboard videos.

  • I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.

  • Very informative, however I’m using easier ways to create “Whiteboard” videos that relieve me from using an expensive equipment as described above. It really depends what you’re looking for – if it is a real person speaking to the camera then yes, you’ll need everything explained in this post but it requires a quite expensive financial investment and quite some time. If you’re looking for quicker ways just to get the Whiteboard “effect” then there are better ways to do that.

  • videoscribe37

    thank you, you make me learn another skills for whiteboard video, please see my whiteboard video and tell me your opinion http://bit.ly/Xs9RN3

  • HandikaSetiabudi

    well the hardest part at whiteboard animation is the final editing, combine all video, make i more fast, etc, really need  a lot of time, great share ! thanks ! visit my site sometime mate, http://masterwhiteboard.com

  • Pingback: Video Blog Creation And Marketing Strategies That Really Work | Whiteboard Video Advice()

  • AnuradhaSKowtha

    Thanks for the awesome post! Answered my questions about video shooting with white boards! We’re using a cheap set of LED lights for cameras and they work great with this set up.

  • Whiteboardexplainers.com

    Steven great article. The lightening is the biggest challenge in the process in my experience. Here are some examples
    http://www.whiteboardexplainers.com

  • Saikat_at Contenteams

    I think I am finding this nice article after 5 years but curious to know how many producers still shoot on a cam to create whiteboard videos. I use Adobe Illustrator for illustration and After effects to animate hands. Please check this one I have created: http://contenteams.com/video-making/#whiteboard_demo