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Startup Shortcuts: Create Free Videos About Your Product

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In this series, I share some of the free/low-cost solutions that I've discovered for common startup challenges. Read previous posts here, here, and here.

As you run your ed-tech startup, there will be many times when you'll need to create a video, whether it's submitting a video pitch to a business plan competition or creating a demo video for your product. But hiring someone to create these videos can be quite expensive and it limits your flexibility to make changes to the content, both when you're facing a deadline and down the line.

Here's how I create basic videos using free software that you probably already have on your computer. I use a Windows PC, but there are many comparable tools for Macs.

PW-28-3.jpgDisclaimer: These are not fancy videos with cool graphics and slick animations, but they are functional and I personally think that they're better than just videotaping yourself talking about your startup. As the saying goes, "Show, don't tell." The point of submitting a video pitch or creating a demo video is to show people what your product does, not just re-tell them all the things that they probably just read in your business plan or on your website.

Here's what you'll need:

Software that is probably already on your computer:

Software you may need to download:

Okay, let's get started. I'm going to split this into two posts, so that it doesn't get too long. Today, we're going to tackle Steps 1 and 2.

  • Step 1: Write your script
  • Step 2: Create your visuals
  • Step 3: Record your audio
  • Step 4: Edit it all together

Here's an example video that I created using this method:

Step 1: Write your script

PW-28-1.jpgI start with the script, because usually there's a time limit for the video. For example, business plan competitions often limit you to one or two minutes. I write out exactly what I plan to say and then I time myself as I read the script out loud to make sure that I don't run over the time limit.

This is really important. I've been a judge and reviewer for a few business plan competitions this past year, and it was surprising how many applicants would submit video pitches that exceed the maximum time limit. Don't do that. It's not fair to the others and it doesn't help you. In fact, in some cases, we've been instructed to disregard the additional time, and just stop the video when time is up. Respect the time limit. And the way to do that is to start with the script and edit it down.

Step 2: Create your visuals

The next thing I do is break the script down and figure out what visual I want to show for each section. I usually create a table like this to help me plan out the visuals so I know what I need:


In the demo video above, I use images and a screencast:



Okay, that's it for today. I'll continue with Steps 3 and 4 in the next post. I hope this is helpful. I know I wish someone had explained this all to me when I had to create my first video!

Until next time,


See also:

  Have questions or feedback? Comment below or let me know on Twitter @professorword!

Photo Credit: Flickr user Craig Chew-Moulding, Joy Kertesz


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