How to Make Product Videos in 7 Simple Steps 🎬
Tutorials, guides, how-to’s: Product videos are key to any business and can improve onboarding and customer support ✨
If you’re building a product, you know that showcasing it is crucial for it to be seen and valued in the market. But your customers need more than that. And the same applies to your team. After all, everyone has to be on the same page, right?
This all comes down to product documentation. It’s a manner of providing relevant information on your product — while reducing customer support needs and team training.
The best way to present your product is through videos. It’s a way of getting closer to your audience and creating a lasting connection. As a bonus, you facilitate the onboarding of new members to your team.
But it’s not as easy to produce video docs as it may seem. We certainly took a while to get it right here at Curiosity.
Even though we’re still trying and optimizing, we found our way — a workflow that lets us get out videos fairly quickly to our YouTube channel and to our database.
Here’s what we learned.
Making Video Documentation 🎞️
Ok, so videos are still the easiest form of promoting self-learn and self-help nowadays. You can talk directly to users, guide them through different steps in tutorials and promote your features.
If you already have the instructions on text and images, this should be easy… right?
Well, not so much. But we’ve prepared a simple guide for you.
At first, it’s essential to have in mind what you want to express with your product videos. What matters here are the audience's needs. Having them in mind throughout the whole process is a vital point.
🔎 What your customers (and your team) need
To know your product
To understand how it works
To see all its features and how to use them
To get answers to common questions
🪨 A couple of things to consider
From start, making product videos was surprisingly hard. We had to overcome complications such as:
Getting clicks right 📸 (lighting, resolution, angle, a nice background… Tip: put the camera on a steady tripod/surface and go for eye level)
Getting reasonable sound 🎙️ (which was tricky with our shared location — but mainly avoid echoes and use a quiet place, with no AC or fan)
Getting the narration right 😎 (without sounding like a zombie 😅)
Editing the recorded material 🧑💻 (we tried Loom, but something always went wrong… and then we got jumps during editing)
After a couple of tries, we realized we needed a new workflow.
🎬 Creating your Workflow
A well-designed outline can help you be more efficient with your video project, by smoothing the process. Some of the steps can be automated, and it’s also simpler to create new versions if necessary.
You can easily see and do what’s in order next, and keep track of progress — especially if you’re working with a team.
**Check our current workflow for ideas 👇💡
1️⃣ Write a basic script with the topics you’ll address in the video. Read it out loud to have an idea of the timing of each item, and leave it in the notes.
2️⃣ Get the screen recordings you’ll need of your product. It helps to do a rough narration over to get the timing right.
3️⃣ Create titles. We split topics to keep the flow, so tape short title animations to insert between them.
4️⃣ Edit and render version with titles and screen clicks.
5️⃣ Record your video/audio explanation while watching the base version (remember to look into the camera 😉). Use the titles as breakpoints.
6️⃣ Edit video/audio on top of clicks and render
7️⃣ Finishing: YT upload and thumbnails
An important part of the process, the tools that you use can make a difference in the final video. They can give it a homemade look, or make it more professional and appealing — thus easier to explain your point and your product.
This is what we use… but you can probably save money by shopping around for alternatives to the hardware. 😉
🎙️ Sound: Rode microphone —* this made a huge difference for sound (we borrowed this from a buddy*)
📸 Camera: Logitec — *this HD camera helped, but make sure you have an extra USB-C port if you go for this version
🎬 Titles: Keynote (or Powerpoint) —* just edit what you need and export it in MP4 format
🏳️🌈 Gradient background: CutscreenApp — nice to have a color pattern to follow
✂️ Snap tools: PowerToys (Windows) / BetterSnapTool (macOS*) — snap your product being used so you can voice ov*er
📼 Video recording: OBS Project — a* free and open source software, you can also use it for live videos
🎞️ Video editing: DaVinci Resolve —* the free version already lets you do plenty of what you’ll nee*d
🎨 Thumbnails: Canva — *easy to use, free, and collaborative
This is how we record videos for product documentation so far. There’s still lots of room for improvement… but this has simplified the process a great deal.
Piece of advice: Do create a predefined workflow.
The more predictable and systematic it is, the better. Having an established sequence of steps in place makes it easier to create and edit different versions of your videos when needed. And to repeat all over again.
You can also set a more efficient timeline and share tasks and projects with your team. This will surely save you time, so you can focus on actual documentation instead of worrying about pre and post-production efforts. After all, as your database gets bigger, you’ll want users to quickly find the correct answers and procedures*.*
Any tips on how to improve this process or to speed up documentation? Let us know in the comments! 😉
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