Software Demo Video: What, Why and How?

This is part 1 of a 2-part series we’re writing to help you better understand the process of creating a software demo video and some of the common elements. In...
This is part 1 of a 2-part series we’re writing to help you better understand the process of creating a software demo video and some of the common elements. In part 1 we will address screencasting, voice over / background music, and editing and assembling. Part 2 talks about video formats, uploading to your website, sharing, and marketing techniques. What’s So Great About a Software Demo Video? If one picture is worth a thousand words, one video is worth a thousand pictures. There is just no arguing the fact that a well-made software demo video will do your software more justice in less than 90 seconds than dozens of text-based pages, even if they are fantastically organized and include great illustrations and screenshots. Sound is another of great feature that really set a live software demo video apart from an article. Video gives you a fantastic opportunity to engage with your audience both visually and audibly using sound effects, voice and music. And once your software demo is complete, you can place it on your website, upload it to video share sites, share it with other sites and bloggers, or include it in presentations. Elements of Software Demo Videos Screen capture. A lot of people will include screencasts in their demo video, which makes sense. Screen captures can help you explain how your software works, what it is best used for, where things live within your software, etc. If you’re creating your own screencast, Camptasia, is good for PCs (they also now have a Mac version) and many Mac enthusiasts use ScreenFlow. Both programs cost about $99 at the time of writing and have downloadable free trial versions. If you’re creating a how-to screencast, you can turn off sound recording and add voice over / background music later. Voice over / background music. Audio should almost always be integrated into your demo video to complement imagery and animations – it’s one of the greatest advantages that live demos have over text-based articles. And don’t underestimate the value of a product demo script. A well-written script can save you a lot of time and more importantly lay the groundwork for a video that converts. Furthermore, you might prefer to order a voiceover service for your video and if so, the script will serve as a blueprint not only for what the talent is saying, but also for pause points. Making sure your talent adequately pauses at strategic points will make it easier to edit the audio post-recording and synchronize it with your video. Besides voice-over audio, background music can be used to enhance your video, evoke the proper emotion from your viewer and fill pauses between phrases. It just helps make the whole demo video more engaging and dynamic. Some people will create their own music loop using Garage Band or some similar software, or you can buy a royalty-free music loop. Editing and assembling. This is probably the most time-consuming part of creating your software demo video, and quite frankly where a lot of amateurs miss the mark. Slicing then assembling your imagery and screencasts from the original clip, then adding in voice, music, and effects can take anywhere from two to three days to a two to three weeks, depending on your skill set, experience, and bandwidth. There are a lot of tools you can use for editing your video starting at around $50 and going up in price from there. We won’t go into great detail in describing the editing process (mainly because that is another article or even series of articles), but editing video and audio for ideal timing and maximum impact is an intuitive process consisting of many detailed and repetitive tasks and processes that can include rendering the output file, adding static imagery (thumbnails) to the beginning and clickable links inside the video. Don’t forget to add your website URL to the video where your viewer can go to download a free trial of your software or order now. What next? Stay tuned. In part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss converting video to different formats, uploading your video to your website or YouTube and utilizing your video for online marketing purposes. To be sure you don’t miss it, follow us on Twitter @DemoFlick or on Facebook at!

Wade Koens

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