Behind the Scenes Part 2: Scratchboard Video

By Jen Casson     |     August 20, 2013

At Room 214, we love to experiment with new forms of video scribes. Our last test, the chalk scribe, was a huge success. Emboldened by that project, we wanted to see what a Scratchboard Scribe would look like and learn how it would differ from our traditional whiteboard scribe.

So we worked with a talented scracthboard arist and friend of Room 214, Lisa Haney. Be sure to check out Behind the Scenes Part 1: Scratchboard Video, to learn more about Lisa, her process, and why the kid on the cow on the bike.

 Here’s a quick-hit list of what we learned through our experiment:

  • Time to Produce:  It took Lisa a full day to create this piece of artwork, which was just one scene.  For a whiteboard scribe, we can typically crank out 4 – 7 scenes in a day.
  • Size: Scratchboards come in various sizes. However, considering the level of detail of each scene, we had to balance board size with the time it would take Lisa to create the scene. The size we chose for this test was 11” x 14”.  Our typical whiteboard scene is created on a 3’ x 5’ board.  So the scratchboard surface area was significantly smaller. We had some work to do get the camera and lights re-position to work for this smaller area and ensure we had high enough resolution to capture all the detail.

Whiteboard Scene (left) vs. Scratchboard Scene (right)

  • Animation: Most of our whiteboard video scribes incorporate animation in some form. A bird may flap it’s wings, a woman may fall thru a trap door, or a dentist may joust with a monster. But with the scratchboard medium, animations will likely have to be very subtle and will likely have to wait until the scene is complete.
  • The *&(*^! Scraping: As the videographer on this test, I have to say it was a bit painful to hear the scraping of the blades against the board. Lisa has apparently gotten use to it. I, however, did not.  Ear plugs are certain to make an appearance on the next one.
  • Element of Surprise: For those who hadn’t seen the sketches, when they watched the video, they weren’t quite sure what that big black blob was going to become.  The Scratchboard video pulled the viewer in – they wanted to keep watching.  Anyone who works in social media or advertising knows that getting viewers to watch an entire video is a real challenge.

Select frames from start to finish

  • Voice Over:  If you’ve seen our whiteboard animations, you’ll notice nearly all of them are accompanied by voice over to help tell our client’s story. For this test, however, we decided to leave it out. We just wanted to let the scene play out, accompanied only by music. We do, however, believe VO could be added to help tell a more specific story.
  • Artwork & Uses Beyond Video:  When we work in whiteboard, we can spend hours creating a single scene, only to erase it away. It’s a good practice in non-attachment. But with scratchboard, there is a final product that can be leveraged beyond the video. For example the artwork can be given away as a gift or prize, auctioned off for charity, or sold. With a little bit of photoshop work, it can also be used to create a digital asset for use in web or print.



A very special thanks to Lisa Haney for her time, talent, and willingness to explore the Scratchboard Scribe with us.  We love working with her on whiteboard scribes and look forward to doing more videos in her preferred scratchboard medium.

If you’re interested in doing a Scratchboard Scribe to help tell your story, we’d love to hear from you.  Please contact us at


About Jen Casson

Jen Casson is what you'd call a "Pi Person" – broad experience (top of the π) with depth in specific areas (the legs of the π). Her career began as an IT consultant, working on enterprise software projects as an analyst. She quickly moved into Business Consulting, specializing in Corporate Performance Scorecards, Program Management, Knowledge Management, and Systems Thinking. In her late 20s, she decided there wasn't enough creativity in her job, so she made the bold move and changed careers. Fast forward 8 years and you’ll find she's a video producer and award-winning editor, having worked on projects for the likes of the Discovery Channel, Sundance Channel, Science Channel, Ford, Dish, and others. In 2011, Jen joined Room 214 to create video content for digital campaigns. Here, she produces and edits video projects and provides leadership to the creative team and agency.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.