The best way to make an instructional video is to 1) write a video script, 2) narrate it as voice-over and 3) animate scenes that reflect each sentence of the voice-over.
In terms of tools, you really only need a subscription to Vyond. But it's not the most efficient to start with animation. Contrary to popular belief, the process also doesn't have to start with storyboarding.
In this post, I'm going to share a 3-step process for how to make effective instructional videos—using a script, a voice-over and Vyond as your weapon of choice.
1. Script for Instructional Video
The Better World
The USP Uzi
2. Voice-Over for Instructional Video
3. Animation for Instructional Video
How long should instructional videos be?
How do you make a video in Vyond?
How long does it take to create a Vyond video?
What are examples of instructional materials?
Let's go over each of the 3 steps.
The first step is to write your script. The script is your guiding light throughout your creation process. If you write a simple and clear script, you'll get a much better video than with a long, complex script—or no script at all.
The key to writing a good script for your video is to simplify your message. A video script is not the same as an article. It needs to be much shorter, much more condensed and with a more lively and casual tone of voice.
If you are new to script writing, a script template might help you in the beginning. I've developed 3 different script templates, based on the years of running my own animation production studio.
We wrote hundreds of scripts, and the vast majority fit into one of these three script templates. The blueprints help you structure your storyline and makes it easier to overview the story you want to tell.
The Fish consists of 3 components:
The Fish can be used in many situations, but is especially popular among businesses that have a product/service, which solve a problem for someone. Then, it's easy to tell the story about their ideal customer who finds their product—and finish off with a commercial CTA to buy the product.
This video is a lesson from my course Strong Scripts, where I go through each script with 2 different examples (marketing+e-learning) step-by-step.
The Better World consists of 2 components:
The Better World is commonly used to contrast what is—to what can become. It's effective in situations of change management, internally in an organisation. But it also works as a commercial format, where e.g. a product is the enabler of the better world.
Lastly, the USP Uzi consists of a string of selling points that highlight the best features and benefits of certain products/services or similar.
The USP Uzi script tends to get very long, if you aren't attentive to not including all the features of your product. Try to pinpoint 4-5 key selling points that your audience value the most.
Write your UPSs around benefits, instead of features. Try to talk about what the result of your product is—not how the product works or gets you there.
If you want a step-by-step walkthrough of each script blueprint, I've included a video with examples written with The Fish, The Better World and The USP Uzi.
Step 2 of the video creation process is to record your script as a voice-over. You need a recording software, a microphone and someone with a good voice.
The immediate way to get started with your voice-over is to do it yourself—using the software you already have on your computer.
For Mac-users, I recommend GarageBand, which is built for music production, but works well for voice-overs too.
If you don't want to spend any money on a USB microphone for your recording, you can use your smartphone. But, I do recommend investing sub-$100 in a microphone that plugs into your computer and outputs much better audio quality than a phone.
To learn more about how to record, edit and output your voice-over recordings with GarageBand, I recommend my course; GarageBand Voice-overs, which takes you by the hand throughout the production of a good voice-over (ready for video).
Now you are ready for the fun part—the animation.
With a finished voice-over recording in hand, you are ready to upload it to Vyond and start animating sentence by sentence, scene by scene.
Log into Vyond, create a new video, and upload your .mp3 file to the software. When it's imported, you find the file in My Library. Click it to add it to the timeline.
The process from now on is to listen back to a sentence, then build a scene that reflects what's being said—with environments, characters and props.
I've made a complete video walkthrough of all three steps in order to show you how they play together and can be performed from the comfort of your own home.
Now that we've covered the basic 3-step process, I've used to make 200+ explainer videos over the years, I'm going to answer some of the most asked questions around instructional videos.
A short answer is 6 minutes. This is enough time to achieve the learning objective, you have in mind—without losing the interest of the viewer.
It's hard to put a solid number on the perfect length of an instructional video. But a large body of science around micro-learning suggests that we learn better if the content is broken up into micro lessons with shorter durations.
This suggests that we'll have better results with our e-learning efforts if we make 10 videos of 6 minutes—instead two videos of 30 minutes.
In terms of productivity and joy around the creation of your instructional video, it is much more delightful to create shorter videos at a time—to not burn out and loose all hope around finishing the project.
A technical comment is that Vyond handles 10+ minute videos poorly. The workflow of the animation maker slows down and makes it harder to work efficiently with your video.
If you are completely new to Vyond and aren't familiar with the interface, the tools and the libraries yet, I recommend watching my Vyond Tutorial's introduction to the basics.
This playlist includes all the micro-lessons from Section 1 of the full course, Go Beyond Vyond.
It not only teaches you how to make a video in Vyond. It also teaches you advanced techniques that will make you a top 10% Vyonder—able to bend the boundaries of the software and make fully professional animation videos.
Use variation, dynamics, mixed formats and hyper-relevant information. These are the components of appealing instructional videos that learners enjoy to watch.
If you combine these factors and include them in your instructional videos, you are more likely to offer your learners content they find interesting and insightful.
Furthermore, this is backed by the idea of "edutainment" that suggest that entertainment and education is combined in order to engage the learner and thereby raise memorability (source).
For teachers, course creators and HR professionals, it's a matter of learning the basics of video creation processes and a practical video maker. In combination, most anybody can create good teaching videos.
Understanding the 3-step process of script, voice-over and animation is foundational to creating good educational materials for any context.
It's a new take on a traditional process that starts with storyboarding. This alternative process significantly reduces the time-spend needed to produce good video content.
It's worth spending a few hours on getting familiar with tools that can add a bit of extra dynamics to your recorded footage. One example is to layer animation on top of your video, in order to make it more interesting to your students.
It takes around 2-3 hours to animate 1 minute of video. Of course, this varies with experience level, level of detail and type of message.
As I animated my course Strong Scripts, I found that it took me an average of 1 day (6-7 hours) to create each lesson. The lessons were 80% animations and 20% live footage, imported into Vyond.
The lessons varied in length but were generally around 5 minutes long. A reason why I was able to be more efficient with my script lessons was that they were produced in batches or bulk.
This means that I recorded all the live footage first, then all the voiceovers, and then assembled my lessons in Vyond at the end.
The more live footage you incorporate, the less time it will take to create the video in Vyond, as you are given sequences of 10-20 seconds where little animation is needed.
One thing is for certain; to create a video in Vyond is much faster than creating it in e.g. Adobe AfterEffects or similar animation software. This is the reason behind Vyond's popularity and the biggest strength of the animation maker; time-saving.
To inspire your own creation of instructional materials, I'll share some examples from my own courses and Youtube channel. These are all made in Vyond and are my attempt at best-practice e-learning materials that entertain and educate at the same time
A ScreenFlow mini-course I created in Vyond and ScreenFlow, using lots of animation and screen-recordings. The format alternates between recorded and animated clips and has a high pace with focus on basic learnings in a short amount of time.
A Youtube video that guides budding video makers through the basics of light, sound, shot, outline and edit. It uses a lot of live footage of me in my living room, as well as some animations made in Vyond to explain the concepts, I talk about.
A combination of "talking head" and animation, where the animation is layered on top of the recorded footage. The production is rough, shot with an iPhone and recorded in a basement, but it's still possible to spice up your instructional materials with animations nonetheless.
Now you know how to create instructional videos in Vyond.
I've shared my tips on how to approach the process, how to make your content better and how I've used these ideas to make instructional videos myself.
Are there any of these tips you've already implemented? Or do you have experiences from your work-life, you want to share?
Feel free to jump into the conversation in the comment section below!
Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from me. Your information will not be shared.
Videos are like songs; no matter how great of a vocalist you find, you'll never make a hit if the song itself isn't great. In other words; you need a strong script to create a strong video. Get my free e-book 'Strong Scripts' with templates, processes, best-practices and much more.