Drawing and placement techniques

Straightforward drawing and placement techniques permit the creation of valuable films. Complex contents are reduced to their essence by the use of basic audiovisual techniques.


  • Duration
    Short (up to 30 minutes)
  • Complexity
  • Group size
    1 to 10 persons

This activity is not suitable online.

Description Long

You position paper cut-outs, move them around and change them, and photograph everything frame by frame. You film your hand while you are drawing something. This is how exciting films are created.


Successful informative, educational videos use drawing and placement techniques to illustrate content better. The video series ‘in Plain English’ popularised the method by Common Craft, which explains the functionality of various social media applications. The authors wrote a workshop report sharing their experiences when creating and using the placement technique in their learning videos, but they also provide recommendations for imitators.


Advantages of the placement technique are limitless fantasy and creativity, in order  to illustrate complex topics playfully. Having a person in the frame can distract from the content, while the placement technique tends to ‘keep it in view’ all the time. Technical expenses remain manageable and no professional equipment is needed. The result is not comparable to commercially produced videos, but learning videos do not aim for such perfection anyway.



  • Prepare for shooting in a controlled environment (indoors) and avoid drafts and changes to the lighting conditions.
  •  Practical and content-related preparation is needed, e.g., drawing symbols.


  • Mark areas outside the lens frame with masking tape.
  • Mount the camera at the end of the table and so that it captures the scene from above.
  • If you want to film a live drawing draw the contours with a pencil first. Double check to make sure the contours are invisible.
  • Keep in mind that time lapses will be played back in a substantially shorter time than it took to record them.
  • Pay attention to maintaining the same style for intros and outros.
  • Use coloured pens and paper. Coloured shadings. This way, your message will grab the viewers’ attention!
  • In the beginning: Use symbols sparingly, to express central messages.

Tools list

  • Arts and craft material




Document ‘Legetechnik’: here

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