I was reminded this week of some videos I had seen a while ago by Common Craft. These guys make some really great (and short, usually around 2 minutes) videos in which they explain technological concepts in ways that almost anyone can understand. They use a format they call “Paperworks”, which consists of a mix of live-action and stop-motion done with paper and whiteboard.

They’ve made a few videos on their own, and they also make videos for other companies. I was reminded of them this week when I saw the video they made for Google Docs, coinciding with the addition of presentations to the service. Here’s the video:

Now this video is paid for by Google, so of course it has a marketing message behind it. Here’s another example, one which isn’t sponsored. This one explains the concept/technology/service of social bookmarking:

What I want to say is I really, really like what these guys are doing. (It’s a husband and wife team, as far as I can gather.) Coming up with such an easy to follow explanation of ideas that so many can find confusing or intimidating (including, at times, myself!) is impressive. And I think the “Paperworks” style that they use is fun to watch. I wonder if it’s efficient: does it take a lot of time and effort to shoot the video this way, or is it reasonably straightforward after some careful planning?

Either way, kudos to Common Craft. I can easily imagine making “Paperworks” videos explaining any number of otherwise abstract or intimidating topics: Calculus, Physics, Statistics, etc.