Although ScreenSpace makes the process of building engaging product videos effortless and fast, there is a bit more beyond the ScreenSpace platform that goes into building a polished promo video.
This is the complete guide of how to create a 30-60 second promo video from idea to completion - all inside one day of work.
Step 1: Story
Before you think about execution you must determine the story and vision for your video. Are you creating a quick high-level teaser for an upcoming release? A launch video that dives into core product features and value? Or a full length product demo with in-depth walkthroughs?
Regardless, you will start with an outline. List out all of the features that must be included in your video and order them in progression of value. Make sure your titles are no more than 4-5 words. You want to quickly tell your audience what the features are but rely on visuals to SHOW it to them.
Include problem/solution in the opening title or two. What’s the key benefit your product provides? This should be your opening line.
On average, each feature segment (title + product shots) will be about 7 seconds. So if you are showing 4 features of your product, your video will run about 30 seconds.
Step 2: Script (optional)
If you expect the length of your video to exceed 30 seconds and you want to tell a story that cannot be conveyed through titles or visuals (problem, solution, etc.), you may want to consider incorporating voice-over.
Using your outline as a guide, write your voice-over script as if you were talking to a prospect.
Once you have your script written, cut it in half. Tighten up your words and keep the talking points associated with your outline. Anything that does not add value or support your outline should not be included.
Almost every working script a client provides to us ends up being half the length. This keeps your video interesting, short, concise, and ultimately makes your video easier to execute.
Once you are happy with your script, record yourself reading through it 3 times. Take the average length and add 5-10 seconds. That will be the length of your video.
Step 3: Music
Music selection is extremely important when it comes to promo videos. It sets the mood, tone, and pace. Always select your music before you start building your visuals. You can change it later, however starting with the right track will help guide the rest of the process.
We highly recommend PremiumBeat to source your music as every track already has a 60, 30, and 15 second cut down. The license is $49 per track.
Step 4: Screen Capture
Now that you have your outline and/or script, you are ready to gather your assets.
You will need your logo and screen captures of your product. Either export images/video of your product from your design software, or follow this guide to create new screen captures from an existing product.
In order to keep your video concise, keep your screen captures relatively quick without lingering on any one feature for more than a few seconds (unless you intend to add voiceover).
Step 5: Rough Cut / Structure
Bring your screen captures into any basic editing software. If you've edited in the past, you already know what tool you plan to use. If you have never touched an editor, we recommend using iMovie or Adobe Spark (30 day free trial then $9.99/mo).
First add your music track and, if needed, fade the music out if you need to trim it shorter. If you intend to use voiceover, record yourself reading the script as a temp track and lay that on top of the music. Spark has a built-in tool for this.
Now bring in those screen captures and string them out in order based on your outline. Optionally add titles and your logo to introduce your product and each feature. Trim and re-time them until they fit your music and/or voiceover perfectly.
Some additional tips & tricks based on 17 years of producing product videos:
The pace is the key to engagement – too slow and your audience is bored but too fast and they move on. Feel free to adjust the speed of each shot until it feels right.
Trim all static moments between animations to no longer than ½ a second and static screens to no longer than 4 seconds.
Title cards should be about 2-3 seconds in length and your logo/CTA 4-5 seconds.
If using music, shift each edit point to align with the beat. In other words, tap your foot to the beat. Your edit points should sync up with a tap (or slightly before it).
Avoid changing the speed of UI transitions or the cursor – re-capture those screens if you need to.
Do not show a cursor or interaction indicator on mobile screen captures – you’ll use framing and camera movements to highlight interactions (more on that next).
Once you are happy with your cut, show it to friends and colleagues - especially those who have never heard of your product. Ask them questions about the content and how they felt while watching it. Use their response to make necessary adjustments.
Don't worry if the response is "I wasn't sure where to look or what I was looking at." ScreenSpace (the next step) will allow you to guide their focus and highlight UI elements very naturally.
Step 6: Product Shots (ScreenSpace)
Once you and your friends feel the video is in a good spot, you're ready for the fun part – the ScreenSpace platform.
Prepping Your Screens
Re-export each of your product shots (assuming you made timing adjustments) in the original aspect ratio. This will ensure the scenes in ScreenSpace match your timing perfectly. Again, here's a guide to ensure you have the right resolution and aspect ratio.
Within ScreenSpace, create a new scene for each individual screen capture. Each scene represents one product shot. Click here to learn how to navigate the Scene Browser and organize your project.
Once your scene is created, make it your own! Click here to learn how to customize the look and feel of your video.
Flex you brand identity and make it your own – incorporate your brand colors into the device and backgrounds.
Keep your background simple using subtle gradients, solid colors, or seamless backdrops – let your product stand out
Switch up your backgrounds throughout the video – using the same environment can become fatiguing and monochromatic if your video is longer than 30 seconds
Now that you have the look down, let's bring it to life with animation. Here's a guide to animation in ScreenSpace.
Always include movement throughout the video – movement motivates transitions, shows the viewer where to look, provides depth, flow, and story.
Use motion to guide your audience’s eyes by pushing in or pulling out of focal points – you never want a viewer to try to figure out where to look
Motion adds character and life to your video – exponential and custom easing allows you to quickly transition and end with subtle floating movement
Motion sickness is real – don’t overdo it
Take advantage of various compositions and framing to keep your video engaging and to tell your story.
Show off your UI designs and animations with sexy closeups
Use wide shots to establish new screens or environments but quickly pop into close ups to highlight specific features
Don’t linger on wide shots – the viewer will not know where to look and often times miss key information
Mix and match wide shots, medium shots, and close-ups to keep things interesting
Use your framing and camera movement to highlight interactions on mobile devices by jumping to a close-up on a button just before it is selected
Step 7: Render & Finish
Once you have your scenes just how you want them, you're ready to incorporate them into your project.
This guide will help you render, preview, and download your product shots.
Once you have them downloaded, simply replace your shots in the edit or over-cut them on top (hiding the raw screens). Export your final video and you're ready to publish it.
This is the workflow we use on every video we make using ScreenSpace (including the Cardhop video above) and it can take you less than one day to pull it all together.
If you have any questions regarding this process or would like to consult with our creative team to build your video for you, feel free to reach out! We are always happy to help.