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How to Produce a Whiteboard Video – And Reasons to Prefer It Over a Webinar
Simon Hyoun / Hanley Wood / September 25, 2013
Let’s take as granted that most PowerPoint presentations are needlessly long and severely unattractive. Just thinking about the last one I sat through makes me reach furtively for my iPhone.
So why extend the pain of slide-based presentations by distributing them as an on-demand webinar? Instead, why not produce a simple, three-minute video that does the same job with more spontaneity, fun and visual elegance — at a comparable cost?
I’m talking about the whiteboard video, in which a subject-matter expert (SME) illustrates a concept on a dry-erase marker board. The best I’ve seen are produced by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, but the cheaters are using a green screen and a lot of post-production effects. DIYers should note these less post-intensive examples on YouTube.
Whatever route you take, there are three components in a whiteboard video project that would be new to a webinar producer:
1. Storyboarding and illustrating the video. Besides being key to gaining approval, careful storyboarding ensures the audio narration will match the visual action of the video. (Figure 1) As for the illustrator, find someone who can draw in a style that matches the tone of the content.
2. Lighting and shooting the video. Even a minimal set-up will require a pro-sumer camera with manual exposure controls and adequate lighting. If you don’t have studio lights, 400-watt construction lights are said to work — but I can’t verify this. I recommend lighting from three points with diffusers. (Figures 2 and 3) Correctly lighting and exposing the shot so that the board looks white is the hardest part of producing a whiteboard video.
3. Editing the video and audio. The editor will need to speed up the footage (by about 50 times normal) and drop in the voice over. I also recommend using sound effects to punctuate important details.