Startup Shortcuts: Create Free Videos About Your Product
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.
Disclaimer: 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:
- A screencasting tool - check out Richard Byrne's recommendations
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
I 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:
- All the images that you see in the video were created via Powerpoint. (See my previous post on how I use PowerPoint as a free graphics' editor.)
- You can also use photos and other images that you own. (See my previous post on how to find free stock photo images.)
- In the editing process, we'll use pan/zoom effects to add "movement" to the images.
- At 0:26, I include a screencast that shows ProfessorWord in action. Screencasting, or recording your screen, is a pretty straightforward process and it's a great way to demo your product.
- You can even use it in your classroom. See Top Five Ways to Use Screencasting in the Classroom.
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,
- Startup Shortcuts: How to Find Low-Cost Legal Services
- Startup Shortcuts: Need Stock Photos, but Have No Money?
- Startup Shortcuts: PowerPoint as a Free Graphics Editor
- Exhibiting Your Startup at an Expo: The Ultimate Packing List
- What to Know When Registering Your Trademark
Have questions or feedback? Comment below or let me know on Twitter @professorword!