Harri Le Claire, Marketing Events Manager at CLC gives her top tips for diving into Sparkol’s Videoscribe tool.

So, you saw the presentation about Videoscribe at the CLC Member meeting and you’d like to get stuck in and have a go? Excellent! It’s a fab tool that can be used for all sorts of projects and messages.

As Martin said in the Lightning Talk session at the June Members’ Meeting, I was asked to create a video for our Clear Lessons seminar slot at the CIPD Learning & Development Show and thought I’d share my top tips for getting started.

1) Script before you start
Decide what you’d like to include, write your text and then plan what sort of images you’d like before you even start your ‘Scribe’. Keep the text short and to the point in order to avoid long stretches of watching the hand writing (it can get dull after a while) and break up text with images.
You can use the free animated images provided, pay a small fee for their premium images or upload your own. If you upload your own it will not intuitively draw it like the original Videoscribe stock pictures but it will animate them well enough that it won’t make them look out of place. This is great for things like logos. There are more tutorials on how to convert the images so that they can be drawn fully by the hand on-screen.


2) Watch the Youtube ‘How to’ videos BEFORE you start.
I made the mistake of diving in head first, struggling, and THEN watching the video. You can find lots of useful videos on the Sparkol Youtube channel

They’ve thought of everything and take you step by step through your first scribe. I suggest watching the basic set up videos which they email to you once you join Sparkol and also this one which helps you tune your video.


3) Plot your Canvas wisely

You will see when you log into Videoscribe that it is a great big canvas that you storyboard your entire video onto, rather than several different canvases for each section.

When I first started using the tools I placed different text and images here, there and everywhere – then realised that I couldn’t keep track of it all!
The programme works by zooming in and out and moving around the one single canvas.
I learned that the best way to keep control is to zoom right out of the canvas and split it up into an imaginary grid of blocks. Create each part of the video in a block and work systematically from left to right.

Bear in mind that at the end of the video you can choose to have the final frame as a zoomed out version of the canvas to show all of the elements. It looks fab if you’ve planned it well.


4) Allow yourself plenty of time

It took me five hours to script, plot, create and upload my Videoscribe – I thought it would take less than two hours! So do leave plenty of time to plan and execute it effectively if you’d like it to look polished and professional. Most of the time is spent tweaking pauses and transitions between images and setting camera positions.


5) Get a friend or colleague to review speeds as you go

Videoscribe animates at a set speed. It is up to you to set animation and pause speeds that allow the viewer to read and absorb the content. Ask a colleague to watch the video and tell you whether things happened too fast or too slowly, adjust accordingly. Bear in mind that you already know what the content will say so you will read it faster than someone viewing it for the first time.


6) Leave the music until last

Unless you’d like to hear it over and over and over again – they’re catchy tunes and they get stuck in your head in no time! Some of the videos have different lengths so check that the tune covers your whole video


I have put the final result of my first Videoscribe attempt below and, even though I can see lots of ways I could improve it, it did provide the impact we were looking for at during the seminar.
You can sign up for a free trial of Videoscribe here