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How Produce Live-Action Common Craft Style Videos

Learn how to produce explainer videos using a video camera, paper cut-outs and a whiteboard.

This Course and "Common Craft Style"

10 years ago, my company Common Craft started producing short, animated videos that were designed to explain technology and other subjects. They caught on in a big way, earning over 50 million views, and are now known as the first "explainer" videos of the YouTube era. Along with the videos, we became known as professional explainers.

Throughout that time, Common Craft videos have had a consitent look and feel which has become known as "Common Craft Style" and has inspired educators and video producers all over the world. Here are the basics:

Today, our goal is to help promote the use of "Common Craft Style" as a simple and effective way for professionals to create animated explainer videos.

This course is packed with know-how and resources (like script writing templates and visuals) that make DIY video production easier than ever. And it's all based on over a decade of experience.

Is This Course For Me?

Here's a simple question to consider: are you ready to shake up how you think about communicating and try something new?

This course is for people who are ready to solve problems. Now more than ever, clear communication matters. Long articles and policy documents are easy to ignore. You can do better. Animated explainer videos are a resource that accomplishes a few powerful goals:

Efficient Communication - Short explainer videos can pack a more effective punch that text or a presentation.

Attractive Presentation - Common Craft Style videos offer an attractive and professional resource that people find interesting and remarkable.

Shareability - Short explainer videos can go places you can't. Let them do the heavy lifting.

Why This Course Matters

When you don't have tens of thousands in the budget for explainer videos, you still have a great option to create compelling and useful explainer videos. Today, it's possible to use common and affordable tools like PowerPoint and screencasting software to turn your ideas into quality do-it-yourself animated videos.

With years of experience creating professional explainer videos, we wanted to make it easy for anyone to create their own - and have them look professional. We've spent over a year developing and refining a step-by-step methodology for producing DIY animated explainer videos with quality results.

Whether you're a professional who is:

• Introducing a new project
• Presenting research to a group
• Changing a company policy
• Making your case for funding
• Training colleagues or customers
• Demonstrating a product
• Or even requesting a new position

Carefully crafted explanations and explainer videos will help you make the most of these opportunities. Your ability to build support, respect and attention depends on others understanding your ideas.


Your Instructor


Lee LeFever
Lee LeFever

Lee LeFever has been a professional explainer for over 10 years.

Lee is the co-founder of Common Craft, an international keynote speaker and author of The Art of Explanation (Wiley, 2012). He is also credited with inspiring the online "explainer" video industry. In his work, he's helped companies such as Google, Intel, LEGO and Ford to explain their products. His explainer videos have been viewed over 50 million times and licensed to professionals and organizations in over 50 countries.


What Will I Learn?

This course walks you through the six skills of animated video production with a focus on clarity and understanding. The skills below follow our tested methodology for creating DIY animated videos.


Write Your Script. Transform your ideas into a script that will become the narration for your video. We provide templates and models for getting started.



Create Your Storyboard. Learn how to create simple storyboards that help develop your ideas for visuals in each scene.



Find or Create Visuals. Learn to create DIY visuals for your video, find ready-made visuals online or use a free starter pack of Common Craft Cut-outs.



Record Your Voiceover. Learn how to record professional quality audio and edit the voice-over for your video.



Produce the Video. Choose from multiple options: Produce live-action videos, videos made with screencasting or with web-based tools.



Edit the Video. Learn the basics of editing and how to match your video footage to your voice-over for a professional quality video.

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What is a Common Craft Style Video?
In 2007, Lee and Sachi LeFever, founders of Common Craft, started producing videos that explained technology using a unique presentation style. This style, now known as Common Craft Style uses paper cut-outs on a whiteboard to tell a story. Common Craft videos became very popular and inspired others to create similar videos. Learn more at http://commoncraft.com.

Get started now!