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Is Your Whiteboard Explainer Video the Real Deal?

Since making my first whiteboard explainer video back in 2009, I've noticed a growing number of companies offering "whiteboard videos" or programs you can use to create them "like the pros." As I've watched the videos, however, I've observed that only a small percentage of them are actually created on real whiteboards. For those of you unfamiliar with whiteboards (is that possible??), here's Google's definition: a wipeable board with a white surface used for teaching or presentations.

Most of the "whiteboard" videos I've seen are actually computer animations made to look like a whiteboard. On the high end, the video producers draw and scan original art work and then animate a hand to make it look like it's drawing the image onto the screen. On the low end, they use cheesy clip art style images and do the same thing. On the low end, it's usually pretty easy to tell it's a fake "drawing." The higher end productions do a much better job masking things. If the image looks too "perfect," that's probably a good indication it's been animated in this way.

A second technique for making "whiteboard" videos is to drawn them by hand on paper using a sharpie-type marker. To me, these are equally authentic to real whiteboard videos with the exception that they aren't actually drawn on a whiteboard. Admittedly, "white paper video" doesn't quite roll off the tongue, so I certainly don't blame them for using the term whiteboard.

Over the past several years at Wienot Films, we've honed the craft of making authentic hand-drawn whiteboard videos using real whiteboards. None of the videos we make are from scanned artwork. Definitely nothing is stock art work. Admittedly this is the harder way to make the videos, but if you're looking for something that has an authentic, unique look, you've come to the right place.

Perhaps, you're wondering why most of the other companies don't make whiteboard videos on real whiteboards. I can't speak for them, but my guess is because it's harder. What makes it harder? Here are just a few reasons it's difficult to make real hand-drawn whiteboard video:

  • Whiteboard - Real whiteboards are extremely difficult to draw on. They don't give the artist consistent friction, making it difficult to control the marker. On top of that, you have to be careful not to drag your hand over the part of the image that has already been drawn or it will erase it. 

  • Markers - Whiteboard markers don't always produce a consistent ink outflow. This makes it difficult to predict exactly how dark or light the ink will appear. Likewise, if you cross over an ink line with your marker, there's a good chance it's going to erase the preexisting line. 

  • Lens - If you're shooting the video with a wide angle lens, which is likely unless you want to shoot the video from a distance, there's a good chance the lens will distort the image. This means that drawing a line that looks straight to the camera may require you to draw something a bit "off" in real life. 

Needless to say, creating the real deal is a lot harder than it looks. Why does this matter to you? Well, if you want your video to stand out in the crowd of explainer videos out there, one way to do so is to commission a company like Wienot Films to make one that is hand crafted.

With that said, let me leave you with two caveats. First, artistic style is largely a matter of taste. It's why we offer other computer animation styles in addition to our hand-drawn whiteboard videos. It's also the reason we add in some animation techniques and elements from editing. Our goal is to create videos that are unique and fun in addition to clear and concise.

Second, and most importantly, we're the first to tell potential clients, or anyone who will listen, that developing the story is the most important part of what we do. Maybe you don't have a budget to hire us to create something hand crafted but you still need a video. Always remember that without a good story, your video isn't going to have the intended effect on your audience. Think about the story first and foremost!

And with that, below are a few examples of our hand-crafted whiteboard explainer videos. (You'll note that we sometimes use color correction techniques to turn our whiteboard videos into blackboard or colorboard videos when it makes sense to do so...they're still drawn on whiteboards, however.) We hope you enjoy them...

If you're looking for a fun, memorable way to tell your story, give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to talk with you!



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