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How to Create Apple’s Captivating Instructional Videos

Tanner Shinnick

A few tips from the latest Apple iPhone 7 instructional video can help you create captivating instructional videos.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

Let’s face it, instructional videos are never the most entertaining projects, and they can even be daunting. I’ve personally created many of these videos, and I have always looked for ways to improve them. Recently Apple released a new series of instructional videos for photography on the iPhone 7. These videos stood out to me for many reasons, so we’ll go through them to see how you can apply them to your own work. First, check out one of the videos from Apple’s campaign.

Step 1: Simplify

Photography is a complex art form. However, Apple simplifies this complex process so their most inexperienced customers can apply compositional principles to their own photography. As filmmakers, most of us gravitate toward voiceovers for instructional videos. However, the text animations in this video work extremely well, and they help viewers visualize the ideas.

If you’re the copywriter, or working with a copywriter, take the time to simplify your instruction. It can seem easier to be complex with your instruction. However, clarity and concision are more beneficial in the end, as you can see in these videos.

Step 2: Give it Energy

Nothing is worse than getting an exciting new product and then watching a boring video on its functionality. Instructional videos are great opportunities to capture an audiences’ attention by adding energy. This will make the instructional process enjoyable for the viewer, which can lead to improved product satisfaction.

There are many things that you can do to increase excitement. For example, you can use motion graphics, which will help a traditionally boring medium find new life.

Also, spend time to find the perfect music track. The Apple instructional video featured a wonderful composition that not only drove the video but also made the video feel fun and playful.

(If you need affordable royalty free music for your video, check out the curated library at PremiumBeat.)

Step 3: Inspire

An instructional video should inspire your viewer to take full advantage of the product. These videos are also advertisements. The iPhone 7 videos are perfect examples — they really support the Apple brand. Not only do these videos instruct, they also inspire the viewer to explore the fuller range of the products’ capabilities.

One way to help inspire your audience is to step away from the white backdrop of a studio wall. Find the lifestyle or target demographic of the user, and film the video in a location that reflects this information. For example, if you’re filming an instructional video about making a cup of coffee, film it in a coffee shop.

Step 4: Summarize

Instructional videos can be powerful, creative tools. If we, as filmmakers, put in the time and effort to create something simple, energetic, and inspirational, we can turn this mostly stale medium into something dynamic.


Do you have tips for shooting instructional videos? Let us know in the comments.

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