What is a whiteboard explainer video? The complete guide!

This is the most elaborate guide to understand and make whiteboard videos on this mother earth!

What’s so special?

I am going to show you the detailed steps to create whiteboard videos and mesmerize your viewers!

Simply put, if you want to make high-converting whiteboard videos, you will love this guide!

Let’s get started!

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What is a whiteboard video after all?

A white background, a hand, a marker and a lot of creativity! That’s what a whiteboard explainer video is! It’s a fresh, dynamic storytelling technique that is loved by everyone!

In such a video, the ‘hand’ scribbles free-flowing text and drawings until the very end of the video. And it does that with amazing speed and ease.

If you watch one, you will see great text, lovely figures of people, icons, symbols, charts, animals, everything you can see in real life! All connected, woven into a story and a great narrative.

With soulful music and an energetic voiceover, it catches attention and brings out the child-like curiosity in you. It’s so versatile and engaging, you can use it for a topic as complex as quantum mechanics!

A sketch character created using whiteboard animation is often called a ‘doodle’. The world also uses terms like ‘doodling’ and ‘scribing’ for a whiteboard animation.

Why do you need whiteboard explainer videos for your business?

Before heading to whiteboard explainer videos, have a look at these statistics!

Wyzowl did an amazing survey on video marketing and here are some key findings.

  • 79% customers said – ” Videos convinced us to BUY!
  • 96% customers have seen an explainer video to learn about a product.
  • 68% prefer to see a short video to learn about a product. That’s an indirect reference to explainer videos!
  • 39% said, they absolutely loved to see explainer videos than any other type!

I created this infographic video that gives a crisp summary of these stats. I used the amazing Renderforest infographic video template to make this one in no time!

This survey proves that customers, viewers, audiences need explainer videos.

Now that we know how popular explainer videos are, let’s look at whiteboard animation! These are some real-life scientific facts.

  • Richard Wiseman, an award-winning Psychology professor, and a best-selling writer did a fun experiment on whiteboard videos.

    He was able to conclude that whiteboard videos helped the audience remember the concepts 15% more as compared to traditional videos.

    People were also more willing to share a whiteboard animated video (66% more). See this video made by Cognitive media.

  • As per Clara Clark, a neuroscience and psychology expert, our brain always tries to draw simple pictures of things we see around us.

    A whiteboard animation builds on this concept. As it presents complex topics in a simple and attractive format, we are bound to remember!

    In the same podcast titled ‘Your brain and animation’, Clara says whiteboard videos release dopamine in our brains. Dopamine creates feelings of reward and pleasure and motivates us to repeat an action. That means the audience will want to see a whiteboard video again and again!

  • A whiteboard animation uses a hand as a visual cue. This is similar to our school teacher writing and drawing stuff on the board. Viewers are able to easily grasp concepts, in a smooth silky flow of sequences.

Not just statistics, even science backs whiteboard videos! You must include whiteboard explainer videos in your marketing strategy.

What inspired whiteboard explainer videos

Remember the school days? Your teacher and the blackboard? Let us time travel.

On a crisp winter morning, with chalk in hand, she writes something on the blackboard, word by word.

It’s your favorite subject and you wait for each word to come out of that white chalk. And the teacher has a good drawing hand! As a bonus, she draws some great diagrams and pictures! You are glued!

And there’s your friend, the back-bencher with no interest in petty academics. Whatever is happening, he feels completely out of place. He thinks, ‘Who cares what’s on the blackboard. The view from the window is more appealing’.

As these thoughts play in his mind, he hears his name called out loud. He is startled. As he turns his head towards the board, the chalk comes flying towards him with the speed of a bullet! You can guess what happened next.

Coming back to the present day, whiteboards and markers have replaced blackboards and chalks. In almost all schools, in offices. Everywhere!

In every meeting room, you see someone that holds a marker, tries to show the big picture! Some are really good at it. They put facts, statistics, charts, shapes to explain the concept.

There are a few who completely suck at it. If you happen to attend their meetings, you will scratch your heads trying to absorb what’s on that board!

Irrespective of the context, a whiteboard, a marker, and a hand can be a fun combination for an explainer video!

The trend

Somewhere in 2007, some smart people realized the importance and started making whiteboard videos. These videos explained concepts with great writing and drawings.

Here is one of the oldest whiteboard videos. A real man explaining real stuff on a real whiteboard! He draws all the images in front of the camera to explain about UPS.

UPS whiteboard video

People liked it and wanted to replicate it. Someone might have said, “Hey let’s take real people off the video. Let’s just show a hand that scribbles fabulous text and drawings. And let’s add some great voiceover! That will be a really engaging whiteboard explainer video”.

This whiteboard video (the famous RSA animate series) shown below should be one of the earliest examples. If you notice, it’s a real person drawing all of that stuff on a whiteboard. This was actually shot using a video camera (you can even see the shadow of the hand). And then played at a faster rate to make it look like a very fast drawn animation.

Created by Cognitive Media for RSA

What about this one where a hand tries to mess with Fido Dido? I believe it is the oldest example of a whiteboard animation and doodle sketching concept.

The lovely 7up Fido Dido

And look at this one, where Fido sketches and brings a girl to life!

Best whiteboard explainer videos

Here are some truly remarkable whiteboard explainer videos of all time.

Mission Statement – ‘Wierd Al’ Yankovic

This whiteboard explainer video was created by Truscribe. The original song ‘Mission Statement’ was composed by ‘Wierd Al’ Yankovic for his album ‘Mandatory Fun’. It’s a fun take on corporate jargon.

This is a great example of whiteboard animation specifically tailored for a song that was already popular. The creators have used some complex sketches and doodles. For example, jump to 2:02 and see the creative genius used for the guitar music piece.

Coca Cola Content 2020

This 7+ minute long whiteboard explainer video explains how Coca Cola will leverage dynamic storytelling to add value to people’s lives.

This is an intricately animated video with some awesome sketches. You will love the transitions between the chapters (bubbly effervescence, so very Coca Cola).

Weeds Season 8 Intro

In this whiteboard video, the focus moves through the characters and images like a free-flowing river! With an excellent song, it introduces the cast and sets the perfect mood for the series. Quirky, violent and immensely watchable!

ESPN His And Hers – Marshawn interview

This whiteboard video is shot ‘interview-style’, with a funny tone throughout. The highlight of this video is ‘yeah’.

How the general election works

This video excellently sums up this complex topic in about 80 seconds. The highlight of the video is the amazing use of zoom-in and zoom-out effects. With an equal dosage of knowledge and humor, this one is highly recommended!

Check out this CSBA Bank In a Box whiteboard video. It is one of the topmost animated explainer videos of 2019.

What are the different styles of whiteboard videos?

Everyone is familiar with the typical whiteboard style. You have a whiteboard, a hand, a pen or a marker and loads of creativity.

On the highest level, there are 2 major variants for whiteboard videos.

Scribbles or doodle sketches

This is the most popular where you see a hand that scribbles messages and draws crazy images.

These come with their own styles of boards.

  • Traditional whiteboard – No fuss. Plain and simple whiteboard.
  • Blackboard – It’s a blackboard to take you back to school days.
  • Greenboard – The board becomes green in envy.
  • Glassboard – The board becomes transparent. It gives you a feeling that someone is writing from the other side of your computer screen.
  • Stichboard – This one looks like a cloth canvas.
  • Notepad – The board is replaced by a notepad. More childhood memories.

Cut-out animation

The concept remains the same – the whiteboard and the hand. But here the hand does not scribble or paint. It places and moves hand-drawn cut-out images one by one.

The emphasis here is on the voiceover and the cut-outs really give a visual cue to the viewers.

This is one of the oldest styles that became popular after the 1st cut-out whiteboard video for Dropbox was out. But people still love it and customers root for it!

Look at this cut-out video I made using the forever free version of My Simple Show. There are limitations to the free version. However, with the paid subscription, you can choose more peppy music, add your own voiceover, choose many other detailed cut-outs and make your video stand out.

The technical aspects

Traditionally, like the RSA whiteboard video, creators used actual whiteboards and a camera. After it was recorded, they used stop motion or played it at a faster rate to produce an animated video.

Today, the market is brimming with a wide variety of software to help you create a spectacular whiteboard video.

The key input for such software is a Vector Graphic Image. While there is a whole lot of technical nitty-gritty involved, this is is a birds-eye view of the gig.

An artist sketches an actual image (shown below) using software like Photoshop and creates a vector image of the sketch. These vector images can be SVG, AI or other file formats.

Screenshot of a video created by Yum Yum Videos for Health Mart

These vector graphic images have information like the direction (paths) in which the sketching was done, color, shape, thickness etc.

Screenshot of a video created by Yum Yum Videos for Health Mart

A whiteboard animation software takes these vector graphic images and creates an animation based on the data in those images. The software replicates each movement and stroke. Finally, it renders a video that makes you feel that you are seeing an actual person scribbling on the screen.

And such software comes with a huge variety of customizations. Don’t like a male hand? Choose a female hand. Want a different hand color? Fine, you get that too! Adjust drawing speed, scene transitions, board colors and much more!

You can either hire a studio, a freelancer or make it yourself using DIY whiteboard explainer video software. Whatever you choose, the process for creating an explainer video (irrespective of the style) remains the same!

How can you make a whiteboard video? (The ways)

You have these 4 options to show your whiteboard video to the world!

Hire a studio or media agency

PROs

  • You will get a super-customized whiteboard video! This will look different and unique from any others in the market.
  • You will not have to spend your time learning how to create a whiteboard video. Instead, you can spend that time launching or growing your business.
  • These agencies have a big team of whiteboard and voice artists, editors, project managers etc. You will get everything done under a single roof. You don’t have to run around looking for voice artists, editors etc.
  • Best for anyone who wants a highly customized video and has a separate budget.

CONs

  • Budget! You need to have a separate budget allocated to get whiteboard videos from an agency. Agencies charge anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per minute of a whiteboard video!

Hire a freelancer

If your budget is very small, but you still need a custom solution, you should go for freelancers.

You have to be absolutely sure of your requirements. Freelancing whiteboard artists are good at their job. But it is your responsibility to make them fully aware of what you want.

PROs

  • You can get a custom whiteboard video for as low as $50.
  • Best for companies, entrepreneurs, online marketers needing a low-cost solution.

CONs

  • When choosing a freelancer, you have to make sure you do a rigorous follow-up! Freelancers are busy with multiple projects and the quality may take a hit.
  • A freelancer may not offer a ready-to-publish video. He/she may give you the final animation. You may have to hunt for the voiceover and make the final edit separately.

You can get lots of talented freelance whiteboard animators at Fiverr.

Have your own team

If you are running a company you would want to have your own creative team.

PROs

  • You will have full visibility of the project. You can jump in anytime to check the progress.
  • You will have a better handle on the quality, costs, and timelines of the project. After all, it will be your team!
  • If you are planning a long term marketing strategy, having a team is a must-have.
  • Best for companies, entrepreneurs planning a long term video marketing strategy.

CONs

  • You need to have a multi-skilled team. Whiteboard artists, voice artists, scriptwriters, editors, project manager etc. Building a team is not that easy.
  • You will bear the brunt of the ongoing costs. Salaries, hardware, software, etc.
  • High chances of IDLE time, when the focus of your business shifts to burning problems.
  • Not a good choice if you are planning a short term video marketing strategy.

Do it yourself

If you are running a very small business you probably would want to do this yourself.

PROs

  • Low cost as you don’t have to pay people for their skills. Most of the DIY whiteboard software is very affordable.

  • Full control over the output of the video.

  • It is the best option if you want to make videos very often. You obviously can’t go to a studio or a freelancer every now and then! Once you get familiar with the software, you can make these pretty fast.

  • Most DIY software like Renderforest has ready-to-use whiteboard templates. You can use these to supplement your ongoing content creation.

    For example, for every blog post, you can create a whiteboard video. That will be a nice touch. Just pick a template and publish your video! It will help you increase your website traffic immensely!
  • Best for one person entrepreneurs, online marketers, freelancers, etc.

CONs

  • Learning curve – You have to spend some time learning the software.
  • Delays – As you will be doing it all alone, there are chances of delays.
  • Quality – If you are a total newbie to whiteboard videos, the quality may take a hit. As you will use DIY software, the videos will look generic.
  • Costs – Even if you are not paying people, you are spending your own time. Indirectly, that time translates to money!

How much do whiteboard videos cost?

The price of a whiteboard video can range from $50 to $10000 and more! It really boils down to which option you choose.

Let us look at the approximate prices for different options.

Agency pricing

Studios can charge from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per minute of a whiteboard video!

The price increases based on these factors:

  • The complexity of the whiteboard. If it is very simple, with lesser details, the price tag is on the lower side!
  • If you need a lot of fine details, awesome transitions, attractive color palettes, sophisticated visual effects, it will come with a hefty price tag! And why not? A professional studio will have a detailed process to make a whiteboard video for you.

    For e.g. look at the below whiteboard process from Cognitive Media. They pay so much attention to each aspect, that the videos are bound to be stunning!

While they have not mentioned the pricing, take a look at the pricing of some other big studios.

Wizmotions pricing starts at $497.

Wowmakers charge between $2300 and $4000 per minute.

Whiteboardanimation.com prices start from $2800 to $8000 per minute!

Freelancer charges

Freelancers charge anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars depending on the complexity.

DIY (Do it yourself) whiteboard software pricing

The price starts from $67 per year i.e. Explaindio and can go till $648 per year (Vyond) for the entry-level plans.

Almost all of these have a TRIAL or FOREVER FREE plans.

Some of the DIY companies also offer pay-per-video plans as below.

MakeWebVideo offers whiteboard videos for as little as $13 per video.

Rawshorts has a package that starts from $100 for 5 videos.

Renderforest has a pay-per-video package starting from $9.99.

How much time does it take to make a whiteboard video?

It may take anywhere from 1 week to several weeks depending on the complexity, the richness of the animation and the number of revisions.

  • Agencies – They may take anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months, depending upon various factors.
  • Freelancers – Freelancers typically deal with small projects. You should get your whiteboard video in 2 weeks max.
  • Do it yourself – Most DIY whiteboard software is easy to use. If you use templates and plan it well, you can produce a video in 1 single day. If you use the editor, it may take a couple of weeks depending on your skill.

Which are the best whiteboard explainer video software?

All the whiteboard videos you saw in the post are custom made in studios. The studios use a lot of different animation tools and software to make such compelling videos.

If you are not keen on custom animation and want a decent whiteboard video, DIY whiteboard software can help!

These are some of the best DIY whiteboard software. Most of them are online (cloud-based). Some extremely easy to use, some have a bit of a learning curve.

To keep it simple, the list is alphabetically ordered.

Animaker

Animaker offers a range of animated explainer video options including whiteboard.

For whiteboard animation, you can get as many as 5 different options to choose from!

  • Whiteboard
  • Blackboard – Nostalgic school days feel
  • Notepad – Notalgia #2, don’t you remember your scribbles in your notepad during lectures?
  • Stitchboard – Create your sketches on a cloth canvas
  • Glassboard – Well there is no board! Feel like someone is writing on the screen from the other side!

Pricing – It has subscription plans for all types of users. And there is a forever free plan as well! Plans start at $12 per month for a Personal plan to $99 per month for Enterprise (paid annually).

Animatron Studio

With Animatron, you can

  • Create amazing whiteboard-style videos using a simple drag-and-drop interface
  • Access your projects anytime over the cloud, no hassles of installing anything

There are templates available for other explainer video styles.

Pricing – You can go for a Pro plan for $15 per month or the Business plan for $30 per month (paid annually). And yes, there is a forever free plan!

Explaindio

Explaindio offers installable software, a video making ‘studio’ basically. Among other styles like live-action, kinetic typography, 2D and 3D animation, it also offers the whiteboard style.

There is a bit of a learning curve with Explaindio. It takes time to learn and get familiar with the interface. It is for people who have some animation skills (at least powerpoint animation). Or for people who are ready to invest time to learn the product.

There are video tutorials to help though. Plus they even offer a Facebook group for expert guidance. As well as a support team for any bugs or issues.

But the best part is the amount of customization you can do! You can customize almost everything out there.

  • There is a big library of ready-to-use doodle sketches to make your whiteboard animation.
  • You can import any Free SVG image and make a doodle sketch whiteboard animation out of it.

Pricing – Explaindio comes with an annual plan for just $67 i.e. the Explaindio Personal plan. There are additional packages and plans for premium add-ons.

Want to sell videos to your customers? You can go for the Explaindio Agency Plan for an additional one-time payment of $67! And you get not just 1 but 4 commercial licenses. You can add up to 4 users to this Agency account (that’s what an agency plan should be).

Explee

Explee allows you to create only whiteboard animated videos with a lot of customization options! It offers a very easy to use interface. Just select images, drag and drop and you are done.

What do you get?

  • A big image bank of 6000 images!
  • You can upload any image, even your photo and Explee will animate it.
  • Built-in audio editor and text-to-speech system for recording voiceovers.

Pricing – The price starts at $25 per month (paid annually) and goes till $149 per month. You also get a 14-day free trial.

NOTE: The lowest price plan starts at $7 per month. But you will have the Explee logo in all videos. So it is not worth mentioning in this list.

Make Web Video

Make Web Video offers template-based video creation across all styles of explainer videos. As of today, it has a limited collection of 13 really good whiteboard animated templates.

  • It’s very easy to use. Just replace messages and pictures as per your need and you get your very own whiteboard animation in minutes!
  • You can make all videos for free and even download it WITH the watermark
  • If you want HD videos without watermark, you have to pay for that video.

Pricing – The pricing is very unique. Pay per video! You pay for only the video that you want. The price is really cheap. As cheap as it can get. You can make your whiteboard video between $13 and $26.

Mysimpleshow

Mysimpleshow offers a unique, classic, cut-out whiteboard animation. Here the hand does not draw or sketch. Instead, it places some really cool hand-drawn cut-out images to make the video.

The interface is super easy to use! Some of the features are:

  • Add your script and it generates a ready-made storyboard.
  • If you have a Powerpoint presentation, you can directly upload that to create a storyboard as well.
  • You can then customize the storyboard as you like, add music, automated text to speech and your video will be ready!
  • You also have the option to import any image to use it in the video.

Pricing – You can find plans for all levels of users. From $79 per month (Business plan – paid annually) to $399 per month (Pro) and beyond. You also get a forever free plan try!

Readers of this post can avail of a 20% discount by clicking Mysimpleshow and using code MYDEAL20 during check-out.

NOTE: The lowest price plan starts at $4.99 per month. But you will have the MySimpleShow logo in all videos. So it is not worth mentioning in this list.

Powtoon

Powtoon gives you the ability to make all styles including whiteboard explainer videos.

Some key features

  • The interface is easy and quite similar to Powerpoint.
  • There is a rich library of templates that covers almost all industry domains.

Pricing – The plans start at $19 per month (paid annually).

Rawshorts

Rawshorts core strength is the AI-based video maker. Give a text script or blog post URL and it can turn it into a video! You can make any style of videos using the video maker or templates.

For whiteboard animation, it has dozens of ready-to-use templates.

  • You can choose any whiteboard template and customize by ‘drag-and-drop’
  • Add your favorite media, transitions, and effects to make your super customized video
  • The text-to-speech functionality produces some really good ‘close-to-real’ voice

Pricing – Choose any plan from $39 per month onwards or the pay-per-video package starting at $100 for 5 videos.

Renderforest

Renderforest has more templates for all styles of videos than any other software that you see in this post! The highlight of Renderforest is the collection of scenes or packs across categories, including whiteboard animation.

  • For whiteboard animation, you have 2 awesome scene packs with 1000 and 400 scenes each. That’s a lot!
  • Create your own whiteboard video using any scene and customize it as you like.
  • The interface is really simple and easy to use.

Pricing – You can either choose a subscription or pay-per-video pricing. What’s unique about the pricing is, with the subscription plans, you get 1 website and unlimited logos as well!

The subscriptions start at $14 per month (paid annually) and the pay-per-video at $9.99.

Videoscribe

Videoscribe by Sparkol specializes in whiteboard animation.

  • You get an easy to use whiteboard video builder
  • You get access to thousands of customizable media objects

Pricing – starts with a $8 per month plan (paid annually).

Vyond

Vyond (earlier GoAnimate) allows you to create animated 2D and whiteboard explainer videos.

  • You get ready templates and easy drag and drop interface
  • There are cool features like character lip-sync to add a punch of reality

Pricing – It starts with a $54 per month plan (paid annually)

Conclusion

Why not try whiteboard videos for your marketing?

In this guide, we looked at every possible angle to have whiteboard videos for your business. There is statistical and scientific proof as well as booming demand for whiteboard videos.

If you want a very effective and engaging way to captivate your audience, you need explainer videos. And what better format than whiteboard videos?

Every person, be it you, or your customer has an ‘inner child’ that will lap up to the visual feast of whiteboard explainer videos! So go ahead and bring that child out!

And especially when deciding to choose DIY software, there will never be a ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL solution. To help you further, check these simple pointers to help you decide.

Which DIY whiteboard software should you go for?

These recommendations will depend on your present situation and what you want to achieve.

If you have an extremely tight budget

If you are in this category and want a decent quality whiteboard, go for Explaindio. You will need to spend some time learning it, but it is worth it.

Moreover, it is a multipurpose video creator. You even can create 2D animated videos, stock footage videos, logo reveals pretty much any style! For $67 per year, it is great value for money.

Next in the line are options like Videoscribe ($96 per year).

And if you want only 1 or 2 videos, go for the pay-per-video option.

If you want a pure whiteboard only software

If you want a 100% whiteboard ONLY software, you should go with these options.

  • Explee – It’s a pure whiteboard scribbling based software with a lot of customization options.
  • MySimpleShow – MySimpleShow is the only software to offer cut-out whiteboard animated videos! If you like traditional, evergreen ‘Dropbox’ style videos, go for it!
  • Videoscribe – Videoscribe is one of the most popular options for making whiteboard videos.

If you want an all-rounder package that includes whiteboard animation

All of these options come with multiple styles and ready-to-use templates.

Animaker, Animatron, MakeWebVideo, Powtoon, Rawshorts, Renderforest & Vyond.

So what is your next whiteboard project all about? Hit the comment box!

Featured image credit –
Screenshot from the Renderforest Whiteboard animation pack.

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