TL;DR – Not worth $60 (NZD) per month to create content when you are an in-classroom teacher

This post isn’t long; but if you are interested in how those cool little instructional / informational animation videos are made, then you could have seen a Doodly video. It’s a software for Windows/Mac that you need to download and install ( small footprint) locally before running it. Right after giving your credit card details and getting the download link, they try and sell you the enterprise version (more clip art, more music, more features). Once installed, the app looks easy to get started with; however, once again, on the home page, they will try to sell you add-on packs (like on left). I would be interested to test out the rainbow add-on as it looked interesting. The enterprise version doubled the amount of pictures (over 3k) as well as music. Let’s just have a play with the basic package first.

I decided to make an instructional video on ‘How IoT works’ as that’s part of my learning resource I’m developing for Outreach with Spark NZ. The UI is very intuitive and friendly. Resources are on the left, drag and drop them in the middle (design area) and a familiar timeline down the bottom (if you have used Animate) and on the right side are the properties, layers and actions panel. There are a wide range of fonts as well, but again plenty more to buy should you have a bottomless pocket. However, you can import your own images (thank goodness) so I quickly sat down with Adobe Sketchbook on my iPad and started drawing some line art specific to IoT which I couldn’t find in the resources. You had to pay even for a cell tower image.

Adding animation to images is predone which is great. However you can make changes to how the path works especially when you bring your own image in. This is a good feature I thought like here, on the right, when I was trying to explain cell signals are needed to transmit data in remote regions. I could add paths to the cell tower and make it pop up the way I wanted.

You can add upto 4 track channels, but you can always overlap two tracks on the same channel. So I first recorded the script on Adobe Audition using a decent condenser microphone (Yeti) and then imported that audio on one track, music on another.

Finally after spending about 6 hours messing about with graphics on the tablet and redoing animation to fit the audio, I managed to get a 3min long animation.

The final export was an HD quality video and you can make a smaller resolution for social too. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself; if you are a classroom educator, do you really want to get a software worth 60(NZD) bucks a month, spend hours making graphics because the ones you want won’t be free or available. It works fine for YouTubers who have a massive consumer base for this style of content. Anyways I have put my video alongside a professional content maker. See the results and judge for yourself.

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