When Jon Air rummaged through his parents' attic, the last thing he expected to find was a 60-year-old whiteboard video. Jon created VideoScribe in 2012 and thought that he had made something new. But then he watched the old showreel from the attic. Not only was he not the first person in the world to scribe his message across – he wasn't even the first in his family. The Pathé News reel played in cinemas in 1954. It tells the story of Jon's grandfather, the Reverend Herbert Mortimer Sinfield ('Bamps' to his grandkids). The old video shows Bamps drawing large cartoons on a flipchart in his study. He rolls up the pictures and takes them to Wembley Middlesex Methodist Church in London (now Wembley Park) where he uses them to illustrate his sermon. Jon's mother is one of the little girls in the audience. The pompous narration and emotional orchestral score are perfect examples of old movie news. Remember the beginning of Up? The dramatic cadence is so perfect it almost seems like a spoof – 'but overshadowing all … the atom bomb!'
'If the idea catches on…'
When Jon showed us the movie at Sparkol it struck us that it shows the very DNA of the company. Two generations before we launched VideoScribe, here is Jon's grandfather using images alongside words to add power to his message. When he first saw the video, Jon felt 'proud of my grandfather – I loved his creativity and pioneering'. The technology was different. These days your whiteboard videos can reach millions of people around the world, not just the members sitting in a church hall. But the principle is the same. Combining images and words – making a message dynamic – using the page and the voice together – creating clever visual metaphors – Jon has followed in Bamps' footsteps to bring scribing to a new generation. The showreel ends: 'If the idea catches on, ecclesiastical colleges might even add cartooning to their syllabus'. We're not sure about cartooning, but colleges, and churches, and businesses, and studios, are all using VideoScribe to get their message across powerfully. The whiteboard scribe lives on. Try it!.