Whiteboard explainer videos use hand-drawn illustrations and animations to convey complex and abstract ideas in an entertaining and engaging way. Attention is the new “currency”, and explainer videos are a great way to stand out and hold a viewers attention long enough to unpack the details of your product or service.
For me they are a lot of fun because they combine a number of disciplines that I enjoy, including script writing, storyboarding, drawing, illustrating, and video production.
It’s not always easy to describe to people what my style of whiteboard explainer video is like. So, I figured I’d create a whiteboard explainer video ABOUT my whiteboard explainer videos. This gives you a feel for how I approach creating my whiteboard explainer videos AND what a finished one looks like.
Note #1: The whiteboard explainer videos that I create for other companies DO NOT have my logo and branding on them. They would only have the logo and/or branding of the product or service the video is about. This one has my logo and URL simply because it’s a video about my services.
Note #2: I’m not the greatest voiceover artist. I normally use professional voice artists in my explainer videos, but in this case I felt it was more appropriate to have me do the talking since it’s my process I’m talking about.
Here is a recent series of whiteboard explainer videos I completed about annuities for an investment company. The agency I worked with provided a script and “visual cues/suggestions” to start with. From there we collaborated on changes and improvements to get a final script and storyboard. They arranged the background music and the voice artist. I combined all of this with custom illustrations to create the final explainer video.
I’m a big believer in working through a process when creating something like an explainer video, because the further along in the process you are, the harder (and more expensive) it is to incorporate changes. At the same time, I realized that there’s a certain amount of “art” to this, so this isn’t an absolute thing. Rather it provides a framework to ensure that things move along as efficiently as possible for everyone. Some projects require more milestones, while others not so much. With that said, here is the process I normally follow when creating an explainer video:
With an explainer video, it all starts with a script. People usually think about the end product, which is the actual video and the grahics, but if it’s not based on an effective script the final video will be no better. (“Garbage in, garbage out” sort of thing.) Often times I am collaborating with the client on the script, but in this particular case I wrote the script myself and got feedback to improve it. With a final script, I can also judge the approximate final length of the explainer video.
Ideation and Visual Outline
At this point I start to come up with ways to visually convey what is in the script. I’m looking for the important concepts and ideas that would benefit from complimentary illustrations or motion graphics of some kind. During this step I will also break the script into sequences, which helps with pacing and production of the final video. From this I will create a visual outline, which is a sort of rough storyboard, that includes thumbnails of these visual ideas along with the portion of the script they correspond with. The visual outline will also include any “stage direction” that I’m planning, like if things will move into frame or be animated at a certain time. I send this visual outline to the client for approval.
Then I will create actual storyboards, which are the final sketches of each sequence based on the visual outline. I will share this final storyboard document with the client for approval. These final storyboard images also server as the basis for the illustrations in the final explainer video.
Explainer Video Production
With everything approved up to this point, I then create the actual explainer video. This includes lots of drawing and other technical stuff, so I won’t bore you with the details (but I’ll share if you’re interested).
Voice Work and Background Music
Arranging the voiceover artist and getting background music can often happen at the same time. For the voice work, I’ve used online voice talent services, or have had the client provide this. For background music I normally use a website that offers royalty-free music.
Explainer Video Finalization
When the explainer video is complete, I export a high-quality file and send to the client. I will also send along a few still images from the video for use as video thumbnails for YouTube or other social media sites.
If you’re interested in a whiteboard explainer video for your product or service, contact me and we’ll discuss.