The Art of Whiteboard Videos

Whiteboard Video   •   Feb 18, 2019

Explainer Video

Now some may think that creating a whiteboard video is simple, they look simple after all, and if you look on places like Fiverr, it seems someone can produce you an ‘amazing’ whiteboard video for just $5. But looks can be deceiving, and whilst the simplistic black lines on a white background look easy to create, the process of creating a ‘good’ whiteboard video starts at the script stage.

As with any explainer video production, whiteboard videos are no exception and start with a script. Typically we are supplied with either a draft script or a finalised script, either is fine and this is always our first step to understanding the project.

But very often, especially with whiteboard video scripts, there are changes required, and there is one main reason for this. When creating motion graphic style explainer videos, the scene can built to deliver what we call the final punch-line to the scene. So the scene can build and motion graphic animated elements can animate on the screen to help visualise the dialogue.

With whiteboard video this tends to be flipped around, if the whole scene is being drawn out to build to a final punch line, we barely have time to digest before the hand has moved on to draw something else. So normally we would want to draw a chunk of there visual quite early on into the dialogue for that scene, so the viewer has time to digest the visual before moving onto the next drawing.

Here is an example of one line of dialogue for a scene, and see how this changes visually when working in a whiteboard video style compared to motion graphic explainer style.

Script Example A for standard Explainer video

Dialogue- “ During 2019 you can see we have opened 20 new stores across the UK, that’s a 20% Growth in real terms”.

Script Example B for a whiteboard video

Dialogue – “ With 10 new stores opening across the UK, we have grown by 20% during 2019.”

As you can see the difference between the dialogue in example A and example B is that the points have almost been flipped, allowing for the whiteboard video to draw a map of the UK and 20 stores first, so this can sit on screen for longer with just the 20% and 2019 wording on screen being drawn in at the end to finish the scene.

In the motion graphic explainer video example, as the scene can be built quicker and in a more animated way, there is no need to rely on the same amount of screen time for certain things. Whilst this rule isn’t set in stone, it is always important to consider what elements are being drawn first.

With whiteboard videos, especially, if you leave the important part of the scene to be drawn in last, then this will have less screen time, and you potentially miss the opportunity to drum the point home, or make best use of talking about a specific, important element of the scene.

So when planning a script for a whiteboard video, remember to think about how the scene will unfold. Try to avoid building to a big surprise or leading the viewer into the scene to hit them ‘with it’ aye the end. With a whiteboard video, draw the important stuff first, say it first, let the viewer digest the important stuff for longer.

This approach will lead to a more engaging whiteboard video, and minimise screen tie where the viewer is looking at a static image, or having a fleeting glimpse of what is in reality an important point.

The drawing style itself for whiteboard videos can vary, but typically this tends to be more casual and cartoony. Using black on a white background is a great first start, but we often like to mix things up. Looking at your brand it can be sometimes fun to do the main lines in a blue for example and then use another colour from your brand to act as a shading or fill colour.

Mixing too many colours within a whiteboard video can distract away too much form the whiteboard video style. So where possible owl always suggest using 2 or at most 3 colours, and use them sparingly. If you wanted a heavily coloured video, then we would suggest perhaps looking at a more motion graphic style video.