Demo video guidelines

Create beautiful demo videos that capture the heart of your audience and show the value of your idea

In almost all the courses throughout the HTI Programme, you will face the situation where you have to present you idea, solution, or prototype to your peers. Only in some courses it is required to create a demo video as part of the presentation, but in almost all of them it is considered an added value. The demo video can make a huge impact in communicating your message to the audience. Additionally, it is considered a great asset for your future career.

The guidelines below aim at helping you understand the elements of the demo videos for your ideas.

The Basics

Some fundamentals of video creation

Experience

Before doing anything, and just as you are about to start the ideation process for your demo, pay strict attention to the experience of using your prototype. Rather than focusing on the small details and functionalities of your work, focus on the experience from the perspective of the user and what benefits will they get out of it. If you have conflicting ideas you can observe users interacting with your prototype to get a clear perspective. Once you are certain of the experience you want to convey , you can then start planning on the details and get your plot ready.

Plot

The plot is the key to a successful demo. In fact, after your initial ideation you should move to create the plot. Once you create the plot, you can then define your equipment, people, locations, sequences, and other details. The plot is the story that shows the experience and the impact of your solution. Just like a good essay, there are 3 main chapters: Intro, Main Body, Closing. In the intro give a snapshot of the problem, in the main body discuss your solution and show a few shots of your prototype in action, and in the closing make a statement on how your solution helps.

Equipment

It is always good to use the right equipment that give you presentable results, this includes a good video camera or a DSLR and a tripod. You can always borrow equipment from university or other sources if you don't have any. A smart phone with good enough camera and video capability is also acceptable, but ensure a good quality one is being used. If you have to record audio and don't have access to a mic then use a separate phone to record audio and synchronize with the audio at a later stage. One important thing to remember is that you might need to get creative at some point and think out of the box. For instance, If you cant't find a tripod then use a table and tape to stabilize your shots.

Editing

No matter what kind of videos you make, the edit makes a great difference in the quality of the final version. You can use basic software such as iMovie, Windows Movie Makes, or Wonder Share. These are very easy to learn and there are lots of good tutorials online for them. Once you learn the basics, you can move to more professional grade software such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier. It is vital to have some transitions between the scenes and make the video smooth and all of the mentioned software come with built in transitions. Adding audio is also important, choose a music that is not copyright or that the author allows use and match it to your videos mood. Finally export the video in a reasonable quality such as 720p.

The steps

Now that your are ready to make your demo video here are some steps to help you with the process

1. Plan

Before doing anything, plan the process for yourself. Define what is needed and suited to your demo purposes. A checklist is usually a great starting point.

2. Plot

The plot is the key. Focus on the experience and highlight that in the plot, then divide your plot into different scenes such as opening/main/closing message

3. Actors

In most cases you are going to be needing actors to have a good demo. Ask your friends/teammates/colleagues to help you out and get their valuable input as well.

4. Location

Define where you will be filming and plan ahead to ensure you have the right permissions/lighting/settings and people nearby. Reflect back on your experience and match the location to that.

5. Film

The shoot day has arrived, and now you are ready with your plot, scenes, and actors. Arrive early on location and before everyone else to setup the location and look at a few different angles. Then shoot your video scene by scene. Make sure to shoot multiple versions of the same scene so you can select the best one later.

6. Edit

Start this process by arranging the videos from the same scene into one folder. Then select the best ones from each scene and put them together in your favorite editing tool. Once you are happy add a fade or similar transition between each scene.

7. Audio

Search online for royalty free music and something that matches the mood of your video. You can have more than one audio track, but ensure they are the same level and a smooth transition between them.

8. Publish

Once your video opening message, transitions, music, and closing message are taken care of, export your video in your preferable format with a good resolution (min 720p). Now you can go ahead and upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and add a short summary of the project in the details section and your contact info if you want.

9. Share

Now it's time to show the world your work. Share your video on different social media such as facebook and twitter. Ask your friends to watch and give you feedback so you can use the ones you deem fit for your next projects

What to expect

Below is a video created by students in TUT as part of their coursework. Pay attention to the experience shown, transitions, music, and the overall look. Even though it's not done by professionals, it is still presentable and gets the point across and it is a great addition to the presentation.