VideoScribe: A Powerful Whiteboarding Video Creation Tool

VideoScribe is a powerful but simple animated whiteboarding video creation tool by Sparkol, Inc. Using text, images, audio, and a large library of premade stylized artwork, VideoScribe makes it easy to create professional-quality narrated whiteboard videos quickly and easily with a minimum of other tools or technical knowledge. VideoScribe is used in many different contexts: YouTube videos, instructional videos, and marketing videos, to name just a few common uses for VideoScribe.

The following is an example of a short informational video about our HotChalk Learning Design team that I created using VideoScribe:

VideoScribe essentially provides you with an infinitely large digital whiteboard canvas, on which you can write or draw anything you want to convey to viewers, zooming in and out or panning as needed to shift the visual focus to specific visual elements or to an adjacent area of the whiteboard canvas. Because of the attention given to the library of premade artwork, VideoScribe offers a large degree of design flexibility while also making it easy to create a video with a consistent visual theme.

Having created many VideoScribe videos, both for educational use in online university courses and for other purposes, I have developed my own efficient VideoScribe content creation workflow that I and my fellow Learning Design team members have used to create professional-quality VideoScribe videos:

Script Writing and Editing:

  • Although you can record audio while narrating a VideoScribe video in real time, the result will be more professional if you take the time to create a polished and tightened script for the video’s audio narration.
  • The audio script should be highly conversational in tone, not too formal, and the transitions between sentences should flow naturally when spoken aloud.
    A single page of double-spaced text will result in a video that is approximately 2–3 minutes in length.

Recording Audio:

  • For narrated videos, begin with recording the audio track before you start producing the video itself.
  • Do not settle for your first attempt recording the narration; re-record the audio narration until you are fully happy with the end-result.
  • Use a professional-quality microphone, like this one: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. A dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern will help reduce background noise.
  • Record your audio using audio editing software such as Adobe Audition or Audacity so you can edit and tighten the recorded audio narration as needed.
  • The following audio file export settings are a good balance between audio quality and file size: 96 kbps, 44.1 kHz, Constant Bit Rate (CBR), Joint Stereo.
  • A volume level of –20 dB RMS is a good standard volume level to use, especially if you are concerned about having a consistent audio level across multiple VideoScribe videos.
  • When you are reading your script to record the audio narration, speak slowly and clearly, much more slowly than in casual speech. However, avoid being monotone in your attempt to speak slowly and clearly; the audio should be interesting to listen to and easy on the ears, even without the video elements.

Making the VideoScribe Video:

VideoScribe offers a series of video tutorials on the mechanics of how to create a VideoScribe video here: VideoScribe Tutorials. But the following are a few tips and tricks that I use when creating a VideoScribe video:

  • Make sure the video has a strong start, from the very beginning of the audio narration and the entrance of the first visual element. You have a brief window of opportunity to capture your viewer’s attention and make an initial impression; don’t waste it!
  • Pay careful transition to the timing of the addition of each new visual element, and to the pace of the transitions between visual segments. Use short, snappy transitions between segments, but attempt to align the introduction of new visual elements as closely as possible with the relevant portion of the audio narration. (This is why recording the audio track first is helpful for the production of the overall video, so you can align the visual elements more precisely with the audio.)
  • Develop your own unified visual theme and style (text fonts, color scheme, placement of visual elements within each frame of the video, etc.). These details can distinguish a professional-quality VideoScribe video from one that was produced haphazardly.

A VideoScribe video can be used as a replacement or supplement for almost any text-heavy piece of online content, whether a how-to article or an introduction to a topic in an online university course. The overall lesson about the availability of user-friendly media production tools like VideoScribe is that content creators and designers should be circumspect about finding the most engaging and creative means of presenting any given piece of content. While creating a video with a tool like VideoScribe is, strictly speaking, more work than writing text-only content, creating a short video with VideoScribe is still very efficient, as you can go from nothing to a professional-quality short video in just a few hours.

Zachary Fruhling is a senior instructional designer at HotChalk Inc. where he is responsible for the design and implementation of graduate-level online course materials. Zachary has over 15 years of experience in higher education, both in the classroom as a university-level philosophy instructor and in educational technology as a digital content author, instructional designer, and creator of interactive online course materials and media for a variety of disciplines.

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VideoScribe: A Powerful Whiteboarding Video Creation Tool

by Zachary Fruhling
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