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5 DIY Tips for Product Demo Videos

Oscar Daniel Garza

If you’re in the world of video production, you’ll likely shoot a few product videos at some point. Here are a few DIY tips and tricks for getting them right.

Top image via Shutterstock

Shooting a product demonstration video is a must for a company of any size. You can easily make a good-looking product demo — you just need to be aware of some of their pitfalls and keep a few DIY tools handy.

1. Camera

5 DIY Tips for Product Demo Videos - URSA mini
Image via Blackmagic

Admittedly, this first tip isn’t very DIY. But it’s important to find a camera that works well in most lighting and gives you flexibility over its settings (manual control over the shutter, aperture, etc.). HDMI out with live monitoring is a must if you’re working by yourself. Without it, you’re going to have a hard time judging exposure, focus, and framing while you or your hands are in the shot.

Remember, HDMI out does not always mean live monitoring, so do your homework. Also, unless you want to take long breaks to recharge your battery, make sure the camera can record while charging. You might want multiple batteries ready to go as well.

While the URSA Mini pictured above is a little more costly, here’s a great post from Caleb Ward featuring cameras under $1000 that offer flexibility on a budget. Okay, now onto the DIY stuff!


2. Tripod

5 DIY Tips for Product Demo Videos - Tripods
Image via Shutterstock

Have you ever tried to do an overhead shot with a normal tripod? Overhead shots can be a complete nightmare without the proper equipment. If you don’t want to splurge on a tripod arm attachment, you can rig up a monopod on a boom stand with gaff tape. It helps if the monopod has a ball head to get the angle just right.

Of course, this technique also depends on the weight of your camera. You can always get a few sandbags to stabilize the stand or find some other counter weight for the boom. This is a simple DIY solution, but there are some folks that have gone the extra mile, as demonstrated in this video from PetaPixel.


3. Lighting

5 DIY Tips for Product Demo Videos - Lighting
Image via Shutterstock

Continuous LED lighting that can change between tungsten and daylight AND has variable power is ideal, but can get expensive quickly. There are plenty of kits out there — but if you’re running low on funds, there is an easy DIY fix.

Head over to your local hardware store and gather a variety of bulbs in different wattages and different color temperatures (incandescent to daylight) to make sure you have enough power and the right type of light for each shoot. You’ll also need to purchase at least two to four inexpensive clamp lights (size is up to you) and it never hurts to have extra clamps on hand. You can find a few more DIY lighting tips here.

I also highly recommend using a soft box. Making your own is pretty simple and cheap, as seen below via Dustin McLean

Just make sure to test your lighting while you’re in the shot. There’s nothing worse than meticulously lighting your shot, then realizing you are casting a shadow.


4. Reflectors

5 DIY Tips for Product Demo Videos - Reflectors
Image via Shutterstock

Reflectors are not that expensive, but if you need flexibility in size, there is an easy solution. White foam core reflects and diffuses well, can be cut to size, and can be clamped onto just about anything. Need silver or gold? I’ve seen some people use foil paper, but that gets wrinkled easily. Just buy up some plain silver and plain gold wrapping paper and tape it onto the cut-out foam board. Easy enough!


5. Tabletops or Desktops

5 DIY Tips for Product Demo Videos - Tabletops
Image via Shutterstock 

It’s important to use a tabletop with a color that generally contrasts your product. Black on black is rough. We don’t all have the luxury of having different desktops or tabletops. In a pinch, you can buy an appropriate size poster board (black or white) that contrasts in color to your product (assuming you’re doing tight shots). You could also get a few pieces of plywood and stain them to get the look that you want.

Every DIY solution will have some quirks. Once you figure them out, you can make great product videos on a budget easily!

What are some quirks that you’ve had to work around during a shoot? Share your stories in the comments below.