Product demo video can go a long way in promoting your product. However, getting a video done is quite difficult. Usually an app developer isn’t equipped with video skills. External sources can quote for a video anywhere from $5k to $20k, which is quite steep!
With the launch of 60Hz 2.0, we wanted a video to tell our story. We have excellent UI and it is dead simple to use. So here’s how I created a video for 60Hz with the help of my trustees Suneth (other half of M2D2) and Dilani. If you want something similar done, approach me or follow these steps!
First, the end result:
This is my first ever video creation. I do watch a significant number of TV shows and movies so I understand a little bit about what makes a good video: It is a good storyline, coherently captured in a series of sequences, and stitched together with an uplifting track.
A lot of product demos come with a narration to help the story aspect. However, it was obvious that there wasn’t enough time for that; I had to get this done in 2 weekends to kick off marketing.
2. Writing the Script
Every good movies and shorts start with a script. Ever heard of “failing to plan is planning to fail”? Same goes with a movie script. This is where planning starts.
I came up with a tagline / theme for this video: ”tvQ: keeping up with the story”. This proved to be an important part of making the movie. Everytime I had to make a decision, I asked myself, does it help me get to my theme?
This theme is exactly what 60Hz (formerly tvQ) does; it helps me keep up with all the great stories on the telly. Being in the country where back to back episodes are almost never from the same season, it makes me less frustrated too!
I wrote down how I would tell someone about 60Hz; a little pitch. I presented the problem I was having keeping up with times, downloads, repeats and how 60Hz just lets me consume everything in order. I took the script to Google Docs and had a shared editing session with Suneth (other half of M2D2) and Dilani (trustee M2D2 sidekick advisor, aka Suneth’s wife).
All good videos need to be storyboarded. We did the same with 60Hz video. This is a very important step. I don't quite have a pretty storyboard so here’s a substitute from Momento Jar (a video that never got made):
This was important because between the storyboards and the script, I could write down a list of sequences and estimate length of the sequences I required to complete the video. I wrote down a long list of shots, including zoom levels, to shoot. The list also had things like still shots I made in Photoshop afterwards.
It looked something like this:
- Pressing on icon ( < 1s )
- Start screen up, scrolling down ( 2s )
- Pressing community episode on the main list, reading the synopsis
- (Zoomed In) new show being added (probably do a few and make it a cool sequence)
4. Quick Hack
Then I did something silly and unexpected: I shot a quick video!! I was impatient and just wanted to learn iMovie (never used it before). So I spent the next 4 hours on making a self shot quick video around my script. I cannot post it here due to copyright restrictions on the music I used (Change of Seasons by Sweet Thing). Message me privately for a link.
Something great came out of this exercise: Lots of feedback!!! I figured out everything good and bad witch what I did and carried on to shooting it all properly.
5. Lights, Camera, Action!
Equipped with a list of sequences, we got shooting. Interesting lessons learnt:
Mid morning shoots are the best for the right kind of light. iPhones screen causes havoc on contrast balance on them point and shoots. I wish I owned a DSLR.
Tripod is a must.
Little details matter, like arrangement of icons on the iPhone home screen.
Let the video start and run off for 5 to 10s at least. Helps during editing.
With my newly acquired iMovie skills, editing the video wasn’t a problem. Just have to play around with transitions, cuts, speeds, sounds etc.
Music is the one big problem. Most music is out of bounds due to copyright restrictions. YouTube automatically detects and flags your video if you misuse stuff, which is why YouTube is full of covers. EMI Music was asking what our payment was going to be so we looked to royalty free music. Here’s a great site: www.premiumbeat.com - $40 for a full track.
In the end, the video looks great. It gets the point across and shows off our apps. I think it’ll make a big impact on our way to the 60Hz launch on 10th of May. I hope people will appreciate the effort spent. It’s just as fun to make a video as it is to make the app itself. If you need help with your video, send me a message ;).
Remember to get your free copy of the iPhone app for FREE on launch day.