This post is the first in a series designed to relate the big ideas behind conceiving and producing amazing explainer videos. For now, let's forget about video. I want to talk about explanation. You’ve probably explained something recently: Why you prefer a dish or why political event matters. We are all explainers. We create understanding as a normal part of our daily communication. So much so, that we never think about it. It's like design. If you've ever made a campfire or a paper... Continue Reading
Since we started making videos in 2007, we’ve heard one question consistently: “How can I make my own Common Craft Style video?” Today, we’re announcing an answer to that question. We’ve partnered with GoAnimate, an online tool for making high quality animated videos. Here’s what our partnership means: Our library of original Common Craft Cut-outs is now available inside the GoAnimate system, making "Common Craft style" videos easy to create using only a website. This short (01:19 ) video,... Continue Reading
Today, everyone can be a video producer with the help of a computer and editing software. This video, a top request of our members, explains the big ideas behind video editing. Watch it now. What it Teaches: We are shooting and sharing video more than ever before. To make it useful, we need to learn the basics of turning raw video footage into a short video. This is the story of Liz, who edits a video for her company’s website. It teaches: How video footage moves from the... Continue Reading
I was recently honored to appear on The Forge, a series of video interviews from the folks at TechSmith, makers of Camtasia and Snagit, among other products. We focus a bit on Common Craft history, lessons from the Art of Explanation and the best explainers out there. (17:33) If you're reading in email watch the video here.
I will bet you know people who need this video. It's designed to relate the basic ideas behind resolution and pixels in digital images. This video follows the story of Neil, who learns why he can’t enlarge and print a photo that was taken with his phone. Using an analogy of a blanket, the video illustrates what happens when a small image is enlarged and what’s needed for printing larger photos. It teaches: The basics of pixels in digital images Why a digital image with a small number of... Continue Reading
The blog It's OK to be Smart pointed me to this animated TedEd video that explains how humans are not that different from Pavlov's dogs. Like a dog that is trained to salivate when a bell rings, we too learn to react to events and stumuli. We may not drool, but may fall in love. Watch: Email Readers can watch here. More about the genius of dogs at Brainpickings.
Lee is a hand model - of sorts. When you see a finger appear in a Common Craft video, it’s usually Lee’s right index finger. Each video is live action footage and before each shoot, this finger is inspected and potentially manicured for each performance. When problems persist, the left index finger may be used. In some cases, Sachi’s hand appears when handwriting is required. We could keep Dunder Mifflin in business. Each video is shot with hundreds of paper cut-outs. Each cut-out begins... Continue Reading
Based on suggestions and votes from Common Craft members, we just published a new video called Website Evaluation - Explained by Common Craft. About: This video walks through the basics of evaluating a website to find quality information. It encourages viewers to evaluate websites in the way an editor would review an article. By thinking like an editor, we can be our own gatekeeper and learn to find the most trustworthy information. It teaches: • Why editors matter in helping books and... Continue Reading
Joe Hanson at Itsoktobesmart.com shared this video and it made me laugh. A perfect satire of highly academic explanations.
Kottke reminded me this morning about this mid-century video that explains, very clearly, how a differential gear works in automobiles. Watch: Email readers can watch here. Notice how the video starts with a scene that everyone can grasp before going into more technical information. They focus on "why" before "how". The simple model they use to explain the mechanism is a great example of simplification. The "noise" of the actual gear is removed so the instructor can focus on the big ideas. A... Continue Reading