By robyncourtney on December 12, 2013

You’ve probably seen a whiteboard video in the past. There are many ways to employ whiteboard to help you visualize an idea, for example:

– Using graphic facilitation like our friends at Image Think
– Live at a whiteboard with a narrator like the UPS videos
– Traditional whiteboard with a voice over like this video explaining representative democracy
– Digital whiteboard produced with digital support like this Switch Video

Traditional whiteboard videos are an effective way to explain an idea, product or concept but they have their disadvantages. They’re effective because many of us are visually-oriented creatures and we were raised with visual and multimedia storytelling via film, tv, the web, games and other immersive media. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this kind of whiteboard visualization is limited by the skill of the presenter and the producers.

Think about this: The presenter must be an effective speaker working off of a well-written script. He or she must also be a skilled illustrator with the ability to keep up visually with the story they are telling. They must be compelling in spite of having their back to the audience, a kind of Jedi mind trick. All in all, these kinds of whiteboard videos can work but they have their limitations. But there is a more sophisticated alternative that offers far more options and benefits.

Enter the digital whiteboard video.

Digital whiteboard video combines the familiar whiteboard environment with an animated illustrator drawing a story while a narrator tells it. You see the arm and pen of the illustrator but they don’t get in the way of the images. In fact the images typically flow in a continuous storyline as the narrator speaks. This timeline approach is a way of telling a story that we are all extremely familiar with– it has a beginning, a middle and an end. In an explainer video this might correspond to defining a problem, demonstrating a solution and wrapping things up with the value of that solution to the viewer. Finally, the video ends with a clear call to action: A next step, a landing page, an offer, a simple way to contact you. This easy to watch and understand flow comes from a sophisticated process for creating these videos:

A script is written

A visual treatment is created that uses the unique flexibility of animation to emphasize the most important story elements in a powerful and compelling visual model
A storyboard is created that is aligned with the script, following the creative treatment
The illustration flow is drawn using digital tools including the ability to animate things like erasing and redrawing for dramatic impact or transforming objects into other objects to convey meaning
A voice-over (V/O) is recorded, music and sound effects chosen (if relevant)
An additional animation of the artist’s arm and pen are recorded in various positions
The arm angles are layered over the illustration flow and images appear digitally as the pen moves through the animation.

All of these elements (audio V/O, animations and music) are edited together and cadence adjusted until the story is compelling and paced for quick understanding
A web-based landing page offering next steps is created to support your call to action

Why Digital Whiteboard Animation?

This process, though involved, is a highly effective way of conveying information about a product or service to a media-savvy audience (that would be virtually everyone these days). You and the video provider have a high level of control over the end result because it is not dependent on a one-time performance of a presenter/artist. You can edit easily, embed illustrations into digital documents, social media and the web and make changes to the information conveyed, without starting over. This flexibility means your explainer video assets will have a longer shelf life.

Aligning Your Message With The Way We Process Information
Humans process information in different ways. Some of us are primarily visual, others are auditory and most are combination of the two. Uniting a storytelling track with a visual animation of that story ensures you capture the attention of both types. For a catchy video expression of how this works take look at this Explainer Video On Explainer Videos.

Explainer Video on Explainer Videos from Column Five on Vimeo.

Conveying Sophisticated Value Propositions

Simple animation videos are very effective at conveying simple value propositions. If your service is primarily a time-saver for your customer it might be overkill to go beyond a simple animation. But if you are conveying more complex value propositions, such as those found in business to business (B-B) marketing environments, the power and flexibility of digital whiteboard videos offer a distinct advantage. Why? Because they are capable of delivering a large amount of sophisticated information in an easily digestible format and that information is delivered both visually and as a story. The impact can be dramatic with the right creative approach.

 

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