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What I’ve Learned About Video Creation During my Internship at Sparkol

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

That’s a wrap folks. As my internship at Sparkol draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on all the tips, tricks and skills I’ve gained since joining the Marketing team over the last few weeks. 

Starting out as a complete novice having never made a video of any kind, I felt intimidated by the thought of creating content. Now I feel able to make animations that I’m proud to show off.

Is that shameless brag I hear you ask? Well, actually, no. I wish I could say it was my raw talent and skills that have enabled me to make some great videos, but unfortunately Steven Spielberg I most definitely am not. 

It’s a credit to the simplicity of Sparkol products that me, somebody who can struggle to work an iPhone can create smart, professional-looking videos. Before I’d downloaded the software, I found myself watching example scribes on YouTube, wondering how on earth I was going to make a video of that quality.

Once I’d opened it up, I realised how easy it is to get to grips with. VideoScribe is user-friendly, and designed to minimize the frustration of complicated animation software. Over the course of making several videos I’ve learned some handy techniques that I wanted to share with you.


One of my recent animations; ’10 Presentation Tips for Students’.

Watch tutorials and example videos

Firstly, get inspired! Make use of the multitude of VideoScribe animations on YouTube to give you ideas for your own video. Available from both VideoScribe users and VideoScribe’s YouTube channel, example videos are a great way to spark ideas and get you thinking about how you’ll recreate various techniques.

Or, perhaps you’re watching my video and thinking there’s no way you would’ve chosen a particular image or animated it that way. You’ll find yourself able to take ideas to adapt, change and make better. Either way, watching other people’s creations gets the cogs in our minds turning.

Watching tutorials is also a great way to both fire up those creative juices and make sure you’re getting the most out of the software. Sparkol has a brilliant tutorial series on YouTube, available here. Even experienced animators will find themselves able to adopt new techniques and ideas for their own work.

If like me, you often find yourself with an idea but you’re not sure how to bring it to life, a tutorial can be a great way to help execute your plan. For example in this video, I knew I wanted the space rocket to move across the screen, but couldn’t work out how to make it happen.

After watching a tutorial, I discovered that by making the image morph I could create the illusion of movement. In fact, this is a technique that I’ve replicated in multiple videos to breathe life into images and give an extra bit of sparkle.

Storyboarding

It's easy to get carried away when making a video. The temptation to add extra captions and animations can make your video double the length you intended, at the risk of losing the interest of your audience.

When the best length for a YouTube video is 2-3 minutes, it's important to prevent your video creeping much further than this. Using a storyboard to plan is key to making sure you stick to the correct pace with a clear idea of the message you are trying to convey.

You can use VideoScribe’s free storyboard template to keep you on track. Decide the purpose of your video, whether you’re trying to attract new customers, explain a product or simply animate a piece of information. Then, decide how you will convey that information, using the template throughout to keep you focused.

A clear theme

Whilst color, fonts** and different forms of animation are all brilliant elements to incorporate into your video, I often found myself without a clear theme or style. Instead, I would reach the end of my video and find it looked like a patchwork blanket, rather than the smart and uniformed image I wished to convey.

I found it was best to decide on one clear color scheme and try not to use more than two fonts. As well as making a decision on how titles, pictures and text will be animated. For example, if you decide to draw pictures and ‘bounce’ in annotations, stick to this idea for the duration. It will save you time and effort, as you avoid having to edit a video that looks disjointed. 

Be sure to make use of VideoScribe’s premade templates. They’re a fast way to create a professional style and, rather brilliantly, no one will know you used a template! Instead, your audience will assume you made it from scratch. 

My personal favorite is the whiteboard explainer template.



**A free font website such as dafont.com offers additional fonts you can download and import into VideoScribe.

Animation timings

So, you’ve made your video and it looks fabulous (of course). But, your animations are being raced through, your audience can’t read your annotations and they’re left struggling to grasp the message of your video.
You might have conveyed your message clearly and concisely, but if your elements are drawn too quickly, the viewer will be unable to take it all in. Similarly, draw your elements too slowly and you risk the audience losing interest. Getting your timings spot on will elevate your video and make it far more memorable.

The tricky part here is that, when it comes to text, you know what it says. When you review your creation, put yourself in the shoes of a first-time viewer. Read each and every word slowly, as though for the first time. Particularly if your audience is international and your viewers won’t all have your language as their native tongue, make sure to allow additional time.

Carefully placed pauses will add to the impact of your video. Having a 0.5 second pause at the beginning of your video allows your audience to ease in, whilst I like to have a 1 second to 1.5 second pause at the end of each scene. Adding pauses gives viewers time to soak up the message and prevents them feeling stressed as they race to take in all the information on screen.

That just leaves me with a little bit of time to say a giant thank you to Sparkol! At a time when we’ve all been working remotely, I appreciate people taking time out to offer me guidance and support. It takes extra effort when we’re not in the same room. The experience I’ve gained during my time with you has been invaluable and it’s been a great learning curve to follow your expertise and advice. 

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