Make a demonstration video
In this module, you will learn...
- What makes a good demo video
- How to develop an outline for demo video
- Practical tips on how to create a demo video
What is a demo video?
A demo video is a product demonstration—you are showing off your mobile app and all its awesome features you created! The demo video should let the viewer experience the app as if they were a user, so they understand how the app works, how they might use it, and how it can help them. You will want to walk them through how to use the app, so they can get started on using it themselves!
The demo video will be essential to your Technovation submission since judges will use it to see if the app has all the features you noted in the technical checklist. Make sure to show those features in the demo video!
Here’s an example of a mobile app demo video, to get an idea of what the end product might look like. You can also scroll down and check out some of past team submissions too!
Demo Video Requirements
Before you start making your demo video, let’s review the deliverables that you’ll be judged on:
- Video can be up to 2 minutes long. A demo video should be short—even shorter than a pitch video. It should be able to stand alone and be primarily focused on the features on the app.
- Clearly demonstrate the functionality of your app. You can get as creative as you want here! Use a variety of methods to tell your story. Some examples are: skits, slide presentations, testimonials from users, or interviews. You might even want to add some text, arrows, or images to the video to clearly demonstrate what you are talking about.
- Highlight the unique features of your app. Show off all the awesome things you developed. These features will help you stand out from the crowd! If you can show them off in an original way, even better!
- Focus on the user interface. Many judges will be using this video to understand how your app works and how a user will experience the app, so it’s important to show how and why your app would solve the problem in your community.
- Show how the user navigates from screen to screen on the app. Judges will want to see that there are no bugs and that the user has no difficulty figuring out how to use the app and navigate through it.
- The video must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. Your submission should be accessible to the judges through a link on the Technovation submission platform. It should be uploaded and the link should be shared; we recommend using YouTube or Vimeo, but you can use other applications as long as the video can be accessible to the judges. You can make the video private or unlisted, so that only people with the video's URL can see it.
To get a better sense of the what a demo video is, we’ve added a few videos from previous Technovation seasons below. As you watch them, take note of what you like and want to incorporate into your own demo video! Here are some questions to consider while you watch the examples:
- How should your video start?
- How should your video end?
- What features should you emphasize?
- What methods should you use to convey your message?
Northgate STEM Unwind, 2014
This video explains its features only using visuals and very little written explanation. This is good if your team is concerned about language barriers for users and judges.
.comPote Active Citizen, 2016
The narration is concise and the video efficiently covers all the app features.
Outline Your Demo Video
Now that you've seen some examples and have started thinking about how you want to explain your app's features, it's time to start putting all the pieces together! As with anything, it's best to make a plan before you start diving into producing your video. Follow the steps below to break the planning process into manageable steps, and set yourself up to make a great demonstration video that will wow judges and users alike!
Step 1: Storyboard.
In order to make a good demo video, you can take a similar approach that you used for your pitch video by creating a storyboard or outline. Decide on how you will walk through and show off your app features; you can use your technical checklist as a reference. You can try using the Storyboard Creator app or you can use your own method. Do whatever works best for you and your team! Here's an example from Groove HQ.
- Introduce the app. Quickly demonstrate what the problem you are trying to solve, and how your app solves it. Try doing this in only 1-2 sentences!
- Introduce the solution your app provides. Explain what your product (your app) does, demonstrate the features using the technical checklist. You should show off the end product after all the coding you did.
- Prove that it works. Show that your app is functional and provide a demonstration of how it works. Walk through the app's features in the same way that a user would, and describe their functions and advantages.
- If your app is not complete, that’s okay! Show off as much as you can. You can also present what you plan on building next, or plans for your future features and show what they might look like.
Step 2: Write your script.
Using your storyboard/outline as a guideline, add more information. Write out what you are planning to say, how you will say it, and what will show up on the screen. This document will be the key reference for the rest of your demo video development. Keep in mind, the script is likely to change as you develop more app features!
Tip! Some teams feel more comfortable speaking in a language other than English for their pitch and demo videos. You may do this, but you must provide English subtitles in your video for judges to understand it.
Produce Your Demo Video
Now that you have everything planned, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start making the video! Follow these steps to put your plan into action.
Step 1: Film your video.
Record what you are planning on showing in your video, whether it’s screenshots, screen recording, demonstration, or a combination.
- Screenshots/screengrabs: Static (non-moving) images that depict what the app will look like on the phone. Make sure your images are high resolution and the viewer can easily see what you are trying to show them.
- Smashing Magazine: How To Create Effective App Screenshots For Your App Store Page
- App Radar: 5 Best-Practice Tips for App Screenshots
- Tip! Try highlighting or outlining the features you want the viewer to see, or try zooming in to the screen! And make sure that the viewer can see what buttons you are pushing.
- Screen recording: Video recording of the different app functions, which typically has narration. Screen recordings can be done through Screencast-o-matic or just by filming through a camera to show the app in action.
- Apptamin: How to Record a Video of Your Screen on Android
- Apptamin: How to Capture and Record an iPhone or iPad Screen Video?
- Tip! It can help to use a finger or an arrow to point to exactly what you want the viewer to look at; if the screen is really busy, the viewer can get distracted.
Demonstration: Short skit to show how the app is used in life; can include some screen recordings too. More imaginative and relies on storytelling.
- Dan Counsell: 10 examples of great app promo videos
- Quora: What are the best app promo videos and trailers?
- Tip! Check your video and make sure everything is in focus and easy to see. If it isn’t, try checking your camera and reshooting to get better footage. Don’t be afraid of filming a lot of retakes—it takes time to get it just right!
Step 2: Record your voiceover.
Narration can be helpful when it comes to video to help describe your app. However, a lot of videos do without narration and even have very little text! It’s up to you to decide. If you do choose to do a voiceover, make sure to use a really good microphone so the sound is clear. Or, you can try using a recorder app on a phone in a really quiet place (closets work well)!
Tip: If your audio is hard to hear or is in another language, try adding subtitles or text on the screen!
Step 3: Edit the video together.
Gather all your footage, sounds, images, screenshots, etc. It’s time to put all the work together! There are a variety of tools that you can use to create your video, including YouTube video editor.
Step 4: Review, edit, and repeat.
You put your video together and now it’s time to refine it. Remember that this video is important to judging, since it is a product demonstration to show the judges how your app can be useful. Keep in mind what kind of messages you are trying to convey and how you want your message to be received by your audience.
You can always ask your mentor or someone outside of your team for a second opinion, since the judges have different backgrounds and you’ll want to be able to get different types of people to understand your message. You can also have them try the app after they watch demo and see if the demo video matches up with what they experienced as a user; ask for feedback on any missing parts not covered in the demo video. For additional help, you can consult the Additional Resources below.
Step 5: Upload your video for submission.
Once you’ve finalized your video, upload your hard work! Just like the pitch video, you can upload in through any kind of application you’d like, but YouTube or Vimeo is preferred. Here are a couple guides that can help:
Good job! You finished creating a demo video for your app. This is not easy, you should be really proud! The demo app is really helpful when it comes to letting potential users or investors understand your product. You can use this video to show the world what you’ve been able to create, starting from just an idea to a real app!
As you look back on how you were able to create your demo video, think about:
- Was it hard to envision how you were going to demonstrate your app?
- Did your video change from when you outlined or storyboarded it? How did it change, and why?
- Who helped you the most in developing your demo video? Make sure to thank them!