Recording iPhone App Demos for Content Marketing
Last week, I was asked to help a fellow marketer out with a new video project. At the time, I assumed he needed help recording some talking heads or something simple like that, similar to the videos we create on OpenView Labs.
As it turned out, what he was hoping to do was create a video demonstrating a new iPhone app his company had just launched to post on the site. I’d never done this before, but I assume it’s going to become more common as tech companies continue to carve out a niche with offerings in the mobile market.
As far as I know, there are three basic ways to record these types of demo videos.
#1. Take a camera and point it at your phone.
Believe it or not, this is actually what we did. (Hey, cut me some slack – I didn’t know this was the type of vid we’d be shooting, and we had a short amount of time to get it done.) All in all, it came out OK.
What I did was:
- turn the lights down in the room so there was no glare coming off the phone
- lay the iPhone flat on its back so it was stationary in the shot, using a little tape to hold it in place
- tilt the camera so the lens was facing down on the phone
- zoom in tight on the screen and manually focus the camera to make sure the shot came in nice and clear
After that, I just mic’d up my fellow marketer, hit record and let him take us through the demo. The only video we recorded was of the phone itself and the various finger swipes needed to go from screen to screen.
The result? Actually, the playback looked pretty good, and we were sure to leave room for slides/art cards to be added and inputted as necessary during the editing process. All in all, I think my friend will be left with a pretty cool little demo to post on the company’s site.
Of course, had I known the type of video he was looking for ahead of time, I might have tried a couple other different tactics, such as…
#2. Take screenshots of the app first, create the video later.
My gut tells me this would be a preferable option for a screen app demo on a corporate site where you probably want things to look a bit more professional and a little less “YouTube-y”.
The first step would be to write out a script or short outline with everything you want the demo to cover.
The next step would be to then open the app on your iPhone and take screenshots of all the different screens and features you want to demo. Taking a screenshot on an iPhone is easy; you just hold down the power button at the top and tap the Home button. Once you have all your images, and you can then go into your photo library and email them to yourself.
Then, it’s just a matter of using a screencast video editor like Camtasia to add the audio and edit it together with the appropriate slides and images (I would also recommend adding “zooms” where appropriate).
Of course, not everyone has screencast editing software. (That said, I’d argue that it’s a good investment for tech companies both from a demo and internal training perspective. Most are one-time purchases and very easy to use.)
Then again, the other flaw with this method is that it’s no good if your app requires seeing things actually move on the screen, as it’s made up of only stationary screenshots. In that case, you might want to go with the first method above, or…
#3. Try using screen recording software made specifically for mobile devices.
I’ve not used any of these myself, but a quick search on Google shows that they are out there. Some of them have not-so-great reviews, others only record video but no audio, and the ones that do record audio might not be of the highest quality. Others appear to require jailbreaking your phone to work.
Since I haven’t used any myself − and don’t have a pressing need to try them at the moment − I won’t offer any links here, as I’d hate to lead someone toward an app that, you know, sucks. On the bright side, what’s available appears to be pretty damn cheap, so if you are looking for higher-quality video demos with lots of moving parts, this might be the best option to consider.
As it is, I’m really just spit-balling ideas here. But as more companies develop versions of their products for mobile devices, these demos will continue to become a popular form of content for marketers.
Have any of you created demos like these for your company apps? Is there any cool software that you’d recommend? What about for Droids or other devices? Sound off below.
You can find more information on content marketing and editorial practices at the OpenView Labs website. You can also follow Brendan on Twitter @BrenCournoyer and find more from the OpenView team @OpenViewVenture.