VideoScribe HD App

VideoScribe HD AppVideoScribe HD (iPad): I’ve enjoyed watching videos from RSA Animate, as have others, that take an audio track (usually a presentation or speech) and animates the drawing of concepts and take-away quotes. The best of these is the speech of Sir Ken Robinson ‘Changing Education Paridigms’.

“Award winning software, Sparkol VideoScribe is a completely unique way to create engaging animated videos quickly and easily. Often called Whiteboard animation or sometimes Fast Drawing, VideoScribe replicates the stop-motion capture style of drawing that’s so popular on commercials at a fraction of the cost.”
VideoScribe HD (£3.99)

Advertised features of the App include (and are also available on the PC/Mac 7 day free trial): 

  • ‘lifelike’ drawing style
  • scale, rotate and arrange images & text with endless possibilities
  • link to Dropbox for image import, music and exporting Movies
  • draw anything to any timeframe
  • add an audio (music or narrated) backing track
  • full colour, outline, black and white and more effects
  • move-in drawing style
  • change the paper texture & colour
  • draw the movie left handed, right handed or without a hand
  • record your own voiceover & mix with a backing track 

Here are some screen shots from the iPad and from my VideoScribe I created for the recent #BYOD4L course:

YouTube: BYOD4L Reflection

Despite enjoying creating this scribe, and the excellent results I got, I had some issues which dampened my spirits:

  • the App crashed quite frequently during a variety of tasks.
  • each time you start the App, including after every crash, it goes through a slow ‘loading essential data’ process.
  • despite specifying a URL for the audio track (background music) it was not used or downloaded for the processed video.
  • you need to sign in to your online account every time you use the App, it doesn’t remember your details (including after every crash).
  • I didn’t try the Drop Box integration for bringing resources in or saving video out, so I can’t comment on whether this works.
  • connection to YouTube did not work, so video had to be exported to the iPad camera roll for manual upload … but YouTube was unable to process this file as it did not recognise the file format.

To upload the video with audio to YouTube, this was the full process I had to endure (bearing in mind the video output file wasn’t recognised by YouTube):

  • output video from VideoScribe HD App
  • import into iMovie
  • add audio backing track
  • output from iMovie
  • upload to Dropbox (iMovie couldn’t connect to YouTube either)
  • download from DropBox onto PC
  • upload to YouTube through PC browser.

Not a brilliant workflow, but at least I got the video working and on YouTube.

Unfortunately the support team at Sparkol could not help me; problems were blamed on iPad (it’s a 4th generation, so not at fault), poor wi-fi (I tried at work / University and at home, so not at fault), not the latest iOS (it was updated last week, so not at fault), not enough memory (it was the only App running, so not at fault). In fact everything was at fault except the App itself, according to Sparkol. The only solution they had for me was to reset my iPad and start again or get a refund. Neither are routes I want to go down. Reading through the Sparkol support site it seems I am not alone in the problems I had, in fact it seems I got off quite lightly.

I can see this as a great tool for teaching theories or concepts of making audio recordings more interesting, even better if students could use and create narrative to cover their own work. But until the reliability of the App is sorted I’ll be waiting for a promised update or looking at alternatives.

  • Sheila MacNeill

    Hi David

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve now had a play with the desktop version which seems much more stable. This could just be the thing I’m looking for to update our staff portal.



    • Excellent, thanks Sheila. Don’t forget to come back and share your efforts please?

      All the best, David

      • Sheila MacNeill

        will do!

  • Emma Velle

    Hi David,

    Great blog! I have always been fascinated in how these videoscribe videos are created and their usage. I’ve just downloaded the iPad app and looking forward to giving this a try.

  • Warren Beaterferd

    It is great software…but crashes far too often. I lose about 30% of production time. Continuos updates ignore this problem. Latest Beta version crashes even more often.

  • Charles Cornelius

    I used to use this a lot, and it worked fine. Today I decided to make a video, and the lagging, especially when I tried to zoom in or out, was awful. Then it started to crash repeatedly. Now I’ve given up using it.

    It seems that the app has been updated since I last used it, so in typical software developer fashion, they’ve taken something that was ok, and messed around with it. Why can’t they leave it alone? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • Hi Charles.

      I haven’t tried it for quite some time now but you are not alone in saying this about it. Perhaps updates have been made to make it iOS8 and compliant with the newer iOS devices and resolutions/screen sizes?

      All the best, David