January 23, 2013

Create an App Demo Video in 3 Easy Steps

Quick Intro

This step-by-step guide explains how to record a video of your app demo. The prerequisite is that you have your app demo created on AppDemoStore.com platform (please see step 1).

It's really easy, you can do it with completely free tools and the result is a high quality HD video of your app which can be uploaded to YouTube.

Here are the steps we're going to go through:

  1. Prepare your mobile app demo
  2. Prepare for HD video recording
  3. Record the video

1 Prepare your mobile app demo

For the purpose of this tutorial, we created a demo of the Evernote iPhone app. You can have a look at the demo on the right hand side. Click through the demo to see how the app works. We've created this using a few screenshots of the app and then defining the navigation and screen transition effects.

You should have a similar demo for your own app. You can easily create it on AppDemoStore.com. Here's a short guide to help you create a demo: How to create an interactive app demo. It should not take you more than 5 min for a simple demo. Also make sure you define a meaningful end-to-end navigation scenario and you configure the UI effects and screen transitions to resemble those of your mobile app.

To get a realistic video recording you should consider customizing a few things:

  • Go to Demo Edit > Interaction and disable the highlight property for hotspots

  • Go to Demo Edit > Settings and disable the AppDemoStore toolbar). Also, you could replace the white hand with the default one.

2 Prepare for HD video recording

In order to get a high quality HD movie we need to record the demo in a big enough size. A 720p HD movie means a resolution of 1280x720, so we'll have to make sure we play our demo in a browser window of this size or bigger (more info on Wikipedia on 720p video ).

In order to get the desired demo size we'll have to use the full screen functionality. On the demo page press the full screen button to run the demo in the entire browser window. Also make sure your browser window is maximized.

The last thing you need to do in this step is to go through the demo once just to make sure you remember where to click when you record the video and also to make sure all app screenshots are loaded and cached so they won't have to be loaded during the recording

3 Record the video

For video recording you can use your favorite screen recording application. If you don't have one already we recommend the excellent BB FlashBack Express screen recording tool. It's really easy to use, it's free and in case you need more features you can buy the Pro version.

OK, now just run BBFlashBack Recorder (or your own screen recorder) and choose to record a region of your screen. Drag the red rectangle to include your entire demo and hit the Record button. When you finish recording your video BBFlashBack Recorder saves the recording in a file which you can open with BBFlashBack Player:

Now in order to save your video press the Export button on the toolbar and choose to export the video as AVI.

The next step is very important because, depending on how you choose to encode your video, meaning the codec you use, the quality of the outcome can be very different. To get a good quality to file size ratio you can select the DivX codec for example, then click Configure and choose the 720HD profile. You might have other codecs installed on your computer (the Xvid is another good codec) - you can experiment and try to see which codec gives you the best video quality for a reasonable file size.

Once you export the video with these settings you get an avi file which you can embed into your web site or upload on YouTube.

How to share the video on YouTube

For this tutorial we have uploaded our video on YouTube and then embedded it in this blog below. You can adapt the embedding code you get from YouTube to better match the format of your demo - for example for our vertical demo we changed the width and height values to better fit the vertical iPhone frame:

One more tip: You need high quality video, preferably HD, to show mobile app demos - otherwise the app UI elements (like text, buttons, etc.) would appear blurry. YouTube automatically adjusts the video quality depending on the size of the video. So make sure that, when you embed the video, you give big enough values to the width and height attributes - larger values will get you a betetr quality video. You can also change the video playback quality using the little wheel-like button on the YouTube video control bar.

Finally, here is how my YouTube video looks like: