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One of the coolest tools for creating visual online content How To Shoot Your Own Promotional Marketing Video From Start To Finish How To Shoot Your Own Promotional Marketing Video From Start To Finish Read More  in recent years is the “whiteboard” video. You know the type—a hand, a pen, a whiteboard, and some fun drawings that help bolster your online brand and generate a lot of social shares. Have you ever wanted to make a whiteboard video for your company? I set out to see how it could be done, and found out that it’s actually really easy!

Draw Your Own Whiteboard Video

In my opinion, this is the best way to go. Hiring a professional to create a whiteboard video for you can be extremely expensive—I’ve heard of quotes in the $500 range per hour, and it could take several hours for them to create your video. Instead, you can take the creative process into your own hands. It also has a number of advantages over animation software, which I’ll discuss a bit later.

Of course, this requires you to put your drawing skills on display. As you can see in the video below, however, you can create a simple whiteboard video with almost zero drawing skills (trust me; I can’t draw to save my life).

The high-speed, jerky style means that you can draw as slow as you want and no one will know the difference when you’re done with it. The video that I created is displayed at 8x real speed.

Okay, let’s get down to practical matters here: how did I make the video above? All I used was a DSLR camera mounted on a tripod The Camera Tripod Buying Guide For Beginners The Camera Tripod Buying Guide For Beginners Tired of camera shake ruining your photos? Want to take time-lapse shots or long exposure photos? Tripods allow for all of these, so if you don't have one, why not? Read More , a whiteboard and marker, and iMovie. Here’s what you need to do:

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1. Plan your drawing. Whether it’s going to a 15-minute-long masterpiece or just a quick text-based one, it’s good to know what you’re going to be doing. Take a moment to sketch it out to see what it looks like, and commit it to memory.

2. Get everything set up, as in the picture below. You might want to use a couple different lamps to minimize the shadows on the whiteboard, and securing the whiteboard to the table will reduce shake and accidental movement.

whiteboard-setup

3. Turn on the camera and start drawing! Don’t worry about going fast—I took my time drawing the graph in the above video, and it helped me draw straight-ish lines and keep the shading within the bars.

4. After you’re finished drawing, turn off the camera and import the video into your software of preference. I used iMovie, but I’m sure you could use just about any simple video software.

5. Use your video editing software of choice to vertically flip the video (if you’ve used the above setup), crop out the edges of the whiteboard, and increase the speed of the video. In the video above, I used a speed of 8x to get the jerky motion without being too fast to see what’s going on. (If you need to get some video editing software, check our lists of free video editors for Mac The Top 8 Free Video Editors For macOS The Top 8 Free Video Editors For macOS The best video editors for macOS cost a lot of money, but what if your budget is $0? Read More , Windows The Best Free Video Editors For Windows The Best Free Video Editors For Windows Video has become a common part of everyday life. You'd think, then, that free video editors would be common. Turns out the selection is limited for Windows users. Here are our five top choices. Read More Linux 7 Free Open Source Video Editors For Linux 7 Free Open Source Video Editors For Linux Read More , and online 5 Free Tools For Online Video Editing 5 Free Tools For Online Video Editing Online video editors have helped to turn everyone into armchair filmmakers. Most online video editors give you the basic cutting, splicing, and merging tools. Then there are the ubiquitous sharing options. What else do you... Read More .)

whiteboard

 

There are a number of advantages to creating your own whiteboard video: it’s significantly cheaper than hiring a professional, it doesn’t require complicated or expensive equipment, and it creates a very natural-looking video.

These advantages are balanced by a number of disadvantages, though. The most impressive whiteboard videos require very talented artists, which you may not have easily at your disposal. It’s also really difficult to do any panning or zooming, limiting you to one section of the whiteboard (though you may be able to get around this using crop, zoom, and pan functions in your video software).

Note that while I used a DSLR to create my video, you could probably create a whiteboard video using your phone by mounting it on a DIY smartphone tripod 3 Cheap & Easy DIY Smartphone Tripod Mounts Made & Tested 3 Cheap & Easy DIY Smartphone Tripod Mounts Made & Tested Unless you are an avid photographer, you'll hardly miss the added features of a proper camera. Too bad your tripod isn't compatible with your smartphone. Or is it? Maybe one day smartphones will come with... Read More . I haven’t tried it yet, but if you give it a shot, let us know how it goes in the comments!

Using Animation Software to Create a Whiteboard Video

The popularity of whiteboard videos has resulted in a number of companies bringing pieces of software to market that let you create a whiteboard video without doing any filming. They rely on pre-selected images that are “drawn” by virtual hands on the screen. Creating a whiteboard video with this type of software is very easy, and can be done quickly.

Here’s one I made with VideoScribe:

As you can see, there’s a different feeling about software-created whiteboard videos. The hands don’t look natural, and the handwriting is obviously computer-generated. The lines are just a little too straight, and colors appear out of nowhere at times. That being said, using a program like VideoScribe is really, really easy.

All you need to do is select from the images that are included with the app (there are hundreds), add some text, make a couple adjustments, and export the video. I created the one above in about 20 minutes, and that includes experimenting with a few different things.

There are a number of pieces of software that will let you create videos like the one above. VideoScribe, VideoMakerFX, Easy Sketch Pro, and GoAnimate! GoAnimate: Cool Cartoon Animator Online GoAnimate: Cool Cartoon Animator Online Read More all provide the necessary tools to create a whiteboard video.

After taking a look at all of these apps, I settled on VideoScribe as the best as it has the most natural-looking hand motion. While it’s still noticeably unnatural, it’s leagues ahead of the videos that are produced by the other pieces of software.

To see what I mean, compare the video above with this video, from the VideoMakerFX website:

Get Drawing!

The ease of creating your own whiteboard video and the availability of different tools that can help you out means that anyone can make a whiteboard video for their website. Whether you’re doing it to add visual content to your business website in the hopes of driving traffic, in an effort to promote your freelancing business How To Use Video To Promote Your Freelance Work How To Use Video To Promote Your Freelance Work Video production is an important tool for any freelancer, but at the same time, it's a rather expensive commodity. With that said, you need it, and MakeUseOf is here to tell you how. Read More , or you just want to do something different and goofy for your blog, if you follow the steps above, you’ll have a cool whiteboard video in no time.

Have you made a whiteboard video yourself, or used any of the tools mentioned above? How did you find them? Share your thoughts (and links to any videos you create!) in the comments below!

Image credit: Paul Downey via Flickr.

  1. Will Doyle
    September 26, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Planning to make a whiteboard style video as a scholarship application, thanks for the tips :D. I'll let you know how it goes and post the result!

    • Dann Albright
      October 19, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Please do! I'd love to hear about it.

  2. mike
    July 6, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Hello,

    If you want the most professional white board video go to whiteboardvideos.org
    they simply have the best professional delivery i used them 2 times and i am super
    happy with the result.

  3. Click How
    April 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Makeusof
    i like your article about whiteboard but i have free hand skech video to make free animation using white board.
    if any one needed contact me.
    thanks

  4. Patrick
    February 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Video is still set to private. Are you saving the changes on the setting?

  5. ashish dangwal
    December 21, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Thankyou for posting such a Interesting and helpful Article. It is a very helpful trick to create own videos for such a low cost.

    • Dann Albright
      January 2, 2016 at 1:27 am

      Glad you found it useful! I hope others find it as instructive as you did.

  6. Wendy Franks
    July 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Hi Dann,
    Great post. I'd like to vouch for Video Scribe, but if you're going to make a video worth putting on your website you need to commit some serious time to mastering the art. For those on a tight budget you need to weigh up your time v's quality. How much is your time worth? You may spend weeks trying to figure out how to put a simple video together and end up going back to the drawing board because the quality isn't great.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a video is worth about 1.8 million and I don't think anyone wants the first 10 words to say, "I couldn't afford to pay someone to do this right."

    There is an art to creating a great video-pitch. Check out this one from Video-Pitch.com

    https://youtu.be/23BfM5fuNV8

    • Dann Albright
      January 2, 2016 at 1:27 am

      I totally agree about the time vs. quality measurement; sometimes it's worth taking the time to make a solid video yourself, and sometimes it's just not. A lot of things come down to time and effort vs. money, and this is a great example of one. Thanks for the link!

  7. Kayla Kirsch
    July 1, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Why did you set the first video to private now? Kind of defeats the purpose of this post.

    • Dann Albright
      July 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out; I'm looking into getting it resolved. Should be back up soon!

      • dave daverson
        October 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        Still private. Can't watch it.

        • Dann Albright
          October 31, 2015 at 1:57 pm

          Bah. Okay, try it again and let me know if it works!

        • Jing
          December 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm

          Not working now.

        • Dann Albright
          January 2, 2016 at 1:26 am

          Not sure why I keep having problems with this! Try it again and see if it's public now.

  8. Sandy
    May 18, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Do you think this is the best site for me if I just want to make a custom whiteboard video for my sister for a special occasion? I know nothing about any of this tech stuff but wanted to post something special on facebook for my sister.

    • Dann Albright
      May 19, 2015 at 6:47 am

      If you need something as soon as possible, I'd use VideoScribe. If you have a couple days to get it figured out, making your own would be a great personal touch! It's not really very difficult.

  9. Lin
    March 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    With the increasing popularity of Fiverr (fiverr.com) now, fortunately we can find great whiteboard animator making beautiful videos, from a low price of $5 onwards. You can see their portfolio and reviews/ratings before you engage them. Make sure you read what they offer exactly for 5 bucks. Extra requirements usually requires add on prices. You either have to submit your own script, or pay extra if you want it written for you. Still, even if you add it all up, it's still cheap for the quality you'll be getting. Definitely check it out before you pay thousands to some freelance designer

  10. Bob
    January 31, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I feel sorry for the audience that you are showing this to tbh, I mean these awkward jerky animations look terrible, I appreciate that the nobody wants to spend more than they have to, but really, it's a wonder that anyone has the motivation to become a professional at anything if every time you choose your specialism you find that you get criticised for charging more even though you are usually giving a WAY better service. Becoming a professional at anything is no small feat, and unless you are a professional you can't get taken seriously and yet nobody wants to pay when you do get there. Does nobody respect skill and effort these days? Everything has to be done to the "highest grade possible" and yet you have to pay for your life doing this work for pennies. Appalling.

    • Dann Albright
      February 1, 2015 at 7:20 am

      I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make here, Bob. Are you saying that the homemade whiteboard videos are jerky and cheap-looking? Lamenting the fact that people want to do some work themselves instead of spending thousands of dollars for someone else to do it?

      As for professionals doing better work, I think that's obvious—anyone who's seen a whiteboard video will know that the one that I made to demonstrate this procedure is significantly lower in quality than a professionally made one. No one's criticizing anyone for charging a lot here—but many people (including small business owners) can't afford to spend $1,000+ on a small piece of their website.

      Also, I'm not sure why you put quotes around "highest grade possible." Are you saying that things DON'T get done at a high grade? Are you quoting someone?

      And, finally, if someone is creating whiteboard videos and other visual online content for a living, they're not getting paid pennies. As I've mentioned a couple times, they could be making several hundred dollars an hours. That's hardly pennies. Even if they only have irregular contracts (and if they're good, that's very unlikely), that's still a solid amount of pay. I know that not everyone charges this much, but you make it sound like most professional creatives out there are starving . . . and that's not the case.

    • dave daverson
      October 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Bob, there is no doubt that these are inferior on a number of levels, but for those on a budget it is better than nothing. Those guys were never going to use your services anyway. They aren't doing a spot on TV, they're doing one of a million shoestring-budget you-tubes.

      So rather than complain about it, why don't you show HOW and WHY your services are better. "skill" and "effort" mean nothing if they result is the same product, and you and I both know they don't, but to the average user they need examples. Yes, nobody respects "skill" and "effort" if all that translates to them is a larger chunk out of their wallet. That's how to get people to hate "skill" and "effort". Learn that concept or watch your career evaporate. I'm doing you a favor here ... quit moaning and sell why and how your result is better and worth paying for, and accept the fact that when you insult your target audience you only disenfranchise them. This is why I, and most businessmen, hate hate hate, and absolutely despise most marketing companies. Stuffed shirts. Great results, but Holey Smokes ... what a pita to work with. Like paying someone to kick you in the crotch.

      • Dann Albright
        October 31, 2015 at 2:03 pm

        "but for those on a budget it is better than nothing" — that's exactly what I was trying to say. Thanks for putting it more eloquently than I could!

  11. Alanda
    December 14, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Dan, I wasn't too sure if it would be appropriate to post a link so I'm asking permission before doing so. I'm really on a budget and cannot afford to hire a professional and I just don't know which software (low cost one). Through searching ( maybe I'm using the wrong key words but I've come across fiverr. I am skeptical as to the quality of the work but found some's video about 90 percent of what I was looking for. I wanted to know if you have any clue what program they use or if there is any program out there to get videos similar? If you respond and say I can post the link I will.

    • Dann Albright
      December 20, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Yeah, feel free to post the link and I'll check it out! Not sure how much help I'll be able to provide, but I'll see what I can do, and hopefully someone else will be able to identify it. Also, I've heard of people getting some great results from Fiverr, so it might be worth a shot! If it doesn't work out, you won't be out much money that way.

  12. Kyle
    September 9, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Hey Dann,

    Thanks for you advice.
    Yes, I could try to make one, but these videos made with some software looks kind of unreal for me, like the one named Sparkol, the same pen, the same characters almost everywhere.

    • Dann A
      September 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Yes, I find that the automated ones like Sparkol look a bit unnatural. I hope you find an option that works for you!

  13. Kyle
    September 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Where can I buy Whiteboard videos like this?
    I tried a site: whiteboardanimationshop.com
    Maybe these would be cheaper.

    • Dann A
      September 9, 2014 at 8:34 am

      I'm a bit suspicious that this is a link posted for SEO, but in case it's not, I'd recommend searching Google for "custom whiteboard video" or "hire whiteboard video." That should get you a number of useful results. Or just make your own! It's easy, and pretty fun, too.

  14. Geert C.H.
    July 15, 2014 at 5:51 am

    try Moovly,free to use

    • Dann A
      July 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Moov.ly was one of the things that I looked into while I was researching this article, but it didn't quite have the whiteboard feel that I was looking for. It's good making videos, though, so it's definitely an option for creating visual content for your site!

  15. Saikat B
    July 14, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Good suggestions and a very useful post Dann. Bookmarked for future reference.

    From my amateurish attempts so far, I can say that the biggest challenge is lighting -- eliminating the shadows as you have also mentioned.

    • Dann A
      July 14, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Yeah, I can definitely see that being an issue. I would imagine that strong overhead lighting combined with a number of table lamps would do the trick, though I'm not totally sure. I had the whiteboard on a table, and doing it on a wall might work better—then you could use room lighting as well as a directed lamp from below.

      Glad you liked the article!

  16. Doug Holton
    July 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    There are some apps like Explain Everything, ScreenChomp, and ShowMe that might be useful.

    Or if you use a Windows tablet, you can draw your notes in a drawing program like Paint.net (I forget the name of the one the Khan Academy uses) or note-taking programs like OneNote, and record what you draw and say using a screen recorder like Screencast-o-Matic or Jing.

    • Dann A
      July 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

      I hadn't heard of those apps—defnitely a great idea if you're using a tablet, and especially so if your'e using this sort of thing for teaching. Using any app and screencasting the result could work in a pinch, too, though I think most of the solutions you present here don't result in quite the degree of polish that people will be looking for if they want a whiteboard video for their business website. But everyone has different needs, and these are good tools!

  17. Cody E
    July 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Not quite the same as a whiteboard drawing, but I'm a fan of Adobe's "Voice" app on the iPad. Using clip-art, you create a story using your voice and it creates a fun, simple, video as well. Thanks for the suggestions mentioned above ... can't wait to try them!

    • Dann A
      July 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      I've never used Voice, but it sounds like a cool app! Anything to create unique, visual content is good. I hope you give the whiteboard video suggestions a shot. If you do, let us know how it goes!

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