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August09

Whiteboard Animation Video Q&A – Camera Set-Up For Transitions

As more and more people become interested in whiteboard animation videos, I thought I would share some of the questions I receive from folks.  This one comes from Eveline Sonneville, of www.mareef-film.nl in Holland:
 

Q: When you make the video-shot of the hand that is drawing, there comes a moment where you want to move the shot to the left or the right, or up or down.
 
How do you move your shot?
 
Do you move your shot by moving (turning) your camera? Or do you move your tripod as well?  Or do you use transitions between shots?

 
A: Great question!  Thanks to editing, these videos look deceptively-simple.  In reality, there is a great deal of planning that goes into these projects.  Part of the planning includes how to set up the video camera… and a major part of the planning includes the storyboarding process.
 
Here are three thoughts on how to handle this transition.  First, the video components… using highly non-technical language because I am not a videographer:
 
Fixed Camera
 
One is to work with a fixed camera.  By this, I mean that the camera is on a tripod mount and does not move.
 

Whiteboard Animation Setup - fixed camera on tripod

 
If your whiteboard is on the wall, this will mean that your drawing frame (the area of the whiteboard visible by the camera in which you will need to work) will also be fixed and will not move.  In this case, you will draw a portion of the video, erase the contents of the frame, and continue on with the next series of drawings from your storyboards.  Your video crew will then knit those footage sequences together during editing post-production.  This is how we shot the whiteboard animation video for Ken Blanchard.
 
If you are working with a fixed camera and a moveable whiteboard (such as one used as a table top surface), then the camera would stay in place for a top shot and you would move the board.
 
Track Camera
 
Another option is to mount the video camera onto a track and/or dolly instead of a fixed tripod.  In this case, the camera will be able to move smoothly from sequence to sequence.

Video camera on track and dolly

 
Your video crew may or may not have the equipment to support this, so it is important to check with them.  Also, your drawing surface will need to be much larger as you will be mapping out the complete story on the board instead of erasing segment by segment.
 
Now, The Storyboards
 
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of storyboarding here.  A good storyboard will show you how the visuals will unfold as the shoot progresses.
 

Storyboard by Jeannel King

 
Part of the process is being aware of those natural transition points as the script unfolds, and storyboarding the image builds in such a way that the transitions make sense for the story you are telling via the video.
 
On the day of the shoot, those storyboards guide the illustration process, and help the video crew to identify natural anchor images for knitting those video components together.
 
Conclusion
 
These are only two options for setting up your video camera.  Of course, there are many other ways to approach these sorts of projects.  Ultimately, these are resource-dependent questions that your video crew will need to answer.  In particular, what sort of gear do they have to work with?  You will also want to be sure to share this information with your whiteboard animation illustrator so they know how to visualize the flow in those all-important storyboards!
 
 
Got A Question?
 
Are you thinking about a whiteboard animation video for your business, and have some questions about what’s involved?  Send your question in to Jeannel… and it may be answered as the next Whiteboard Animation Video Q&A blog post!
 
 

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In this 4-part recorded training series, whiteboard animation veteran Jeannel King teaches you how whiteboard animation videos are made…from script to storyboard to setup to shoot!
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