Getting Your Demo Up and Running: 6 Steps to Demo Production


By Katie Anderson, Lead Scriptwriter at Consensus, @KMussman

Source: Ronaldo Ferreira
Source: Flickr Ronaldo Ferreira, licensed under CC

How do I make a product demo? Whether you need to spend less time demoing your product or you’re just curious what goes into making a top-notch video, I have compiled a few easy steps to making a video. I actually work on the Content Creation team at Consensus, and I have found there are many misconceptions about my job. Most of my friends think I spend all day taping people with my iPhone, adding some elevator music in the background—and presto—I have a demo. If only it were that easy!

While making demo videos can be exhilarating, it can also be very challenging. I know, you probably have a Macbook with iMovie and you’re ready to make your own demo. Being good with the computer is a start. However, the majority of people do not know how big of a project demo production can be. Having the right team, outlining, script writing, and doing visuals are just the tip of the iceberg.

1. Planning your video

Being excited about your product is great, but often people get so excited that they forget that potential clients may not understand the product unless it is presented in an organized way. Take some time to outline what makes your product unique. Frankly, why should consumers be interested in your product?  Tell the consumer why yours is a great idea, and why you’re the best person to give them this service. Once you have a few high points of your product, organize them and give us more details. Once you’ve finished, it’s time to move to the script.

2. Scripts, timestamps, and visuals

Keep in mind that writing scripts requires different language and writing to read well. “Sally sells seashells by the seashore” looks pretty on paper but will give your voice actor a heart attack. It might be best to spare yourself (and your voice actor) the trouble and hire a professional script writer. Scripts have a certain rhythm. So, if you decide to write the script yourself keep it conversational. If it sounds too wordy or like an alien wrote it, you’ve gone too far.  One more thing to keep in mind is that your script needs to lend itself to visuals. You don’t want the voice actor and your video designer to dislike you for your way with words.

3. Getting the Stamp of approval

Still with me? Good.

Once you’ve gotten this far, you will need to take your script to your team or supervisor and get their thoughts. If you’re the man or woman in charge, it’s always good to get a second opinion. After looking at a script for a few days, and fresh set of eyes may give a better perspective. This step seems like smooth sailing, but you need to be prepared for a storm. This step can be difficult because everyone has his or her own opinions about what should and should not be in the script. For example, your software engineer may think you need to explain everything under the hood of your product whereas your art team may think that you need to write more about the pretty colors and graphics–And back and forth and back and forth–Whew! So, keep in mind  that it is important to present the features of your product, but you also need to emphasize the benefits of your product too. This can often get lost in the shuffle of editing– so don’t let it!

Take a deep breath and continue.

As you can tell, this part of the process can take a very long time with all of the edits being thrown around. Take everyone’s opinions into consideration and be thick skinned. No one is trying to insult you, your family, or your dog. Just keep calm and weather the storm.

4. The golden voice: Finding a voice actor

Once you have gone through several drafts worth of editing, you need to decide what kind of voice is going to read your script. Should they be a gent or lady? How old should they be? Do you want them to speak like Morgan Freeman or perhaps Meryl Streep? Accents matter. There are many things to take into consideration when picking the voice that’s just right. You might decide to record your own voice, but I should warn you that not everyone has a voice for demos. It might be better to hire a seasoned professional. If you decide to hire someone instead, you need to look into talent agencies and compare prices (it gets very expensive). When you find the right agency, you have to go through their voice actors, write out instructions, and sometimes hold auditions. Once you do find that “golden voice” you need to set a clear deadline for the voice actor to have the recording completed by. Often, these recordings do not get to you on time or they might be in the wrong format. Once you get everything straightened out, you can move onto visuals.

5. A picture’s worth a thousand words: Matching your visuals to the script

While the script is away being recorded, visuals need to be made. You know what they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So, your pictures need to be worthy of every single one of those words. You can’t just take images off the internet (you might get sued). You need to purchase stock images or have someone design them for you. This can get tedious and, contrary to popular belief, not everyone has an eye for design. Make it easier on yourself and hire a video editor to make graphics and animate them for you. There are varying prices floating around the internet about video production, but one thing is for sure—it will cost you at least a few thousand dollars to do this part well.

6. Putting together the 1000 piece video puzzle

As soon as you get back your voice recordings, you need to pair them with your visuals. There may be a lot of tweaking that goes in to this step since you want the visuals to match perfectly with your script. Now it’s time to buy the right kind of music for your script. Websites like Tunefruit are a good place to start. Music prices vary depending on what website you use, but it will pile up and get more and more expensive. Also, just to be safe, you’ll probably still need your video editor to do this step as well.

Curiosity may have just killed the cat.

You probably felt your wallet get a little lighter somewhere in the middle of this post. After all of the outlining, recording footage, script writing, editing, more script writing, approvals, voice recording, visuals, and piecing it all together you’ll need a small army of people to get it done in a timely manner—if you decide to hire a freelance or contract video worker, be sure to communicate with them clearly so deadlines don’t get missed.

Demo creation is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you haven’t learned anything else from this post, just remember to leave the iPhone and elevator music at home.

We hope this helps you make a beautiful and effective product demo video. If you are looking for inspiration to make your own video, check out this post on 5 amazing product demo videos for every type of product.

Consensus is Intelligent Demo Automation that scales your presales function.