I'm trying to find someone who can make videos similar to one shown here:

At 49 seconds, the actress writes on glass to explain the concept.

Does someone know what this effect is called so I know what to ask for?

Also, if you know how to do this sort of thing, please reply.

Thanks so much,

  • please update your profile with your website - would like to get in touch. Oct 19, 2011 at 1:22
  • you have my email under my account...
    – Desmond
    Oct 19, 2011 at 13:45
  • Desmond, sorry couldn't see your email address - I might not have had enough privilege. Oct 20, 2011 at 10:54
  • 2
    You could always have her write on actual glass in front of the screen and then flip horizontal.
    – NReilingh
    Nov 18, 2011 at 4:15
  • 1
    @claws Exactly like that. I prefer the flipped actual writing--it's probably easier for the actor as well. Also it reminds me of this.
    – NReilingh
    Aug 6, 2012 at 22:55

8 Answers 8


There is a much better way to do that. That example video is a pretty poor illusion.

  1. It can be done "for real" with with real light. But it looks different. It has to be dark.
  2. You can use motion tracking to create an animation path.
  3. You can also use manual key frames. There are lots of tutes on the intertubes about that. Here is one:
  • hahahaha what is this?????? this is nothing like what the op is asking for
    – Dmiters
    Feb 13, 2018 at 12:08

The easiest bet is to actually draw on a piece of glass and there are actually boards made for just that purpose for the classroom. It is probable one of those is being used here and the video reversed to make it readable from the other side. This seems likely as the video shows the guy left handed and the buttons are on the wrong side of his shirt.

The same look can kind of be achieved using write-on effects and/or animation, but you would still need some prop for the speaker to interact with so that they position their hand in roughly the right area and it still wouldn't like up exactly.

Doing this kind of shot practically is the best way to achieve it.

  • Thanks! I did notice the left handed writing but I missed the buttons on the shirt, nice catch!
    – mmvsbg
    Jun 26, 2014 at 8:35

Upon closer examination of the sample video, she is not writing what you are seeing, her movement only approximates the motion and if you look close enough you can see it is a mime--take a good look at the "E". She is not moving correctly to get that "E". I don't know what resources you have to work with, but if you want to copy this technique you need to have 2 things:

1) an actor that can closely mimic the correct motion as if she/he is really writing. 2) a good post production video editor so you can animate the writing content on a separate video track and make a composite.

Hope this helps

ps, by the way I think the actor in your example did a marvelous job of miming the motion to trick us into believing she was actually writing the text on glass.


After seeing something similar and wondering how it was done in a video with a guy, girl video looks edited. I tried this, and think that he actually is writing on glass, is filmed from front, with mirrored letters. After filming just simply flip video horizontal, and text will be mirrored back to normal and guy will be mirrored. Just make sure there is no other text in shot.

Clue: guy on this video is writing with his left hand, but holds pen in right handed way.

  • Sharp observation on the left hand writing, but what do you mean by holds pen in right handed way? Sep 26, 2014 at 13:03
  • @BartArondson Most of left handed people I know tend to bend their hand more and almost put their hand above text while writing, so they wouldn't smear text with their approaching hand. :) Oct 1, 2014 at 15:15

We do this in post, and we can call this "the write on screen/glass effect", we can track her finger and write out what she is writing in the air...and more...

  • 2
    More like pretending she is writing and pretending you are tracking! ;)
    – horatio
    Oct 18, 2011 at 17:14
  • indeed, but hey, we ll get some negative points for joking around without a solution... :P
    – Desmond
    Oct 18, 2011 at 17:30

write stuff up on a smart board and then mirror the person but keep the written stuff as is. on closer observation, we have a habit to start from the left side of the page and in this case, the guy is right handed and his text has been moved to the right and the lady is left handed and her text is moved to the left. Hope this helps


We are using this now. A large pane of glass ( Lexan scratches too easily) in a frame. A black backdrop. There is a string of LED ribbon lights along the top edge of the glass.

Room lights are off. Camera adjusted to bring black levels up...Once recorded, use Premier to horizontally flip the video.

Writing magically apprears.

If we want to see the artist/SME, we can light it. The question I have to that: what is the more critical point? The content or the person?

Take a look. https://vimeo.com/246090021


Based on this video

I kind of figured it out how he did that. But the fact that I found this forum is because I thought it was amazing.

I think the way he made the video is

  1. record behind a glass
  2. draw on the glass like a whiteboard
  3. flip the video.

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