Prepare for Success: How to Create a Great Software Demo Video

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Before you start creating a video highlighting your software, there are a few preliminary steps you must take to ensure your  video’s success. Just like any builder needs to work from a solid, reviewed blueprint, so does a videographer need to work from a planned and precise script.  As all builders know, it’s easier to correct a problem at the blueprint stage then it is to try and fix something after the structure is finished.

When creating a demo video, be sure to put sufficient work into the  blueprint or the design phase to avoid headaches at the end. Do this by paying attention to the following topics.

Why are you creating this video?

Establish the purpose of your video. Is it to highlight a new feature? Sell the overall product? Differentiate yourself from your competitor?

Figure out why you want to make a video and then make sure that every single scene and every aspect of the video matches that purpose. If it doesn’t, then it is just diluting your final message. Get rid of it now to make your video’s message as strong as it can be.

Write the entire script first

Don’t think you can improvise at the last minute. Have someone who is well versed in script writing create the entire video script up front.  Once you have the script, practice how it flows by reading it out loud. Use a story board with visuals for each scene to see how the sequences will flow.

Avoid using colloquialisms (regional words or phrases, like “wicked” for very) and make sure that the script addresses your entire audience - which may be worldwide - and shows the proper respect to that audience.

Keep it simple

Everyone is busy. Your video should be no longer than 3 -5 minutes (even tutorials can be broken down into bite-sized segments.) If your video runs over 5 minutes you’ve probably included too much information or have gotten off-topic, review your purpose and cut anything that doesn’t support it.

Anything much longer than 5 minutes and you will run the risk of your audience hitting the delete button.

Engage and entertain your audience

Even with demoing software, people want to be entertained. Make sure:

    • the person doing your voiceover has a lively voice


    • you use animation where appropriate


    • you include interaction where appropriate


    • the graphics are clear and uncluttered


    • you avoid acronyms but if you do use them, identify all so that you don’t leave your audience scratching their heads

While we’re at it, make sure that you recording devices (including headsets and microphones) work properly. One of the fastest ways to lose your audience is to have your message be muffled.

And it probably goes without saying but test your software. An error box during a run is not something you want your audience to see.

It’s not about you

Focus on features that your audience wants to know about, not the ones that you think are cool. When I worked with the engineers at Digital this was one of the most difficult concepts to get across.  Sure they spent a lot of time designing a neat new widget, but when you came down to it, if it didn’t add value to the audience, if it didn’t make their job easier, then it was nothing more than a nice-to-know.

And while it is nice to include some of those nice-to-knows (after all they are interesting and can set you off from other companies) they should never upstage the focus of your message.

In the next post, we’ll take a look at tips for creating the video.

Intel Software Premier Elite Partners and Premier Partners in the Intel® Developer Zone also have access to Wooshii, a video and animation production service.