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Tips for Crafting Recorded Software Demos

Joey D’Antoni has some advice:

In the last few weeks, I’ve been at several conferences, such as the MVP Summit and SQLBits, and have watched many demos. I’ve noticed a trend in the previous couple of years where presenters use more recorded demos than in the past. This trend is mainly something I’ve noticed with members of the Microsoft Fabric team, but I’ve seen others do it as well. When you do it correctly, only the keenest eyes in the room will notice that you aren’t doing live demos. When you do it poorly, everyone’s eyes quickly divert to their phones, losing the audience.

Click through for Joey’s advice. Mine differs from Joey’s in one aspect: I actually record the audio before the video. I used to use Joey’s approach but flipped and found it’s actually easier to do it the opposite way. For my YouTube videos, the basic workflow is:

  • Build out the demo I’ll show. Use this to get a feel for how long things should take
  • Script out each section, including intro, demo, and outro
  • Record each audio segment separately
  • Play the demo audio segment and go through the demo. When I do this, I have the audio input muted so my screen recording has no audio track
  • Splice together the audio and video tracks. Sometimes, I’ll have minor changes, such as needing to pause the video while waiting for a demo step to finish

It took me a dozen or so videos to get this system down but it does work really well.