Making an App Preview Videos for the App Store and Pitfalls
Here at Part Time Evil, we just created a video for our new title Puzzle Football (view the vid on youtube here for an example). We generally cringe at making preview videos, usually because of the normal annoyances: getting the aspect ratio right, outputting it in a way that doesn't make it look blurry, and getting the right format. There are enough weird pitfalls in this process that we may be able to save you some time. As you know, the Apple App Store now lets you put a preview video up for your video game or app. Here is a quick walkthrough to save you some pain.
Capture the Video
- As of the release of OSX Yosemite, you can capture straight to Quicktime.
- Hook your phone up via USB to the computer, launch the included Quicktime, and find "new movie". Make sure the video and audio are set to your phone!
- Choose the right device. You could use an ipad as well, but we are not a giant studio with a video artist. Our strategy was to capture with the highest resolution phone, and then de-res it for iPhones, but also letterbox and crop for iPads. At this date, that's the iPhone 6/6s. Resolution needs to be 1080 x 1920 (or vice versa for landscape apps).
- Get all the clips you need.
- When you're done, save it.
- PITFALL: Don't do "export". We are used to doing this, and it won't let you do 1080x1920 video. Do "save" instead.
Make your App Preview
This part's full of potential pitfalls. But we're here to help! We recommend using iMovie, even if you use After Effects or something to do your clips. It just plays nicely with this whole process.
- Choose New App Preview. This lets you do (especially for our app Puzzle Football which is portrait), the right orientation.
- PITFALL: This is the weirdest and most important setting in iMovie. Make sure the FIRST THING you drag into the timeline is any 1080x1920 clip. This basically sets the resolution for the movie and in our case, let's it be Portrait. For our first version, we made the mistake of using our lower resolution clips (because we didn't do the above recommended SAVE in Quicktime). This made the whole movie lower resolution. If you look at the game on the phone before say, two weeks from now, you'll see that the iPhone 6 one is BLURRY. Oops. There is a FIX for this, though. If your movie is the wrong resolution, make a NEW project, make sure you drag in your high res clip to auto-set the resolution. Then go to your old project and just do CMD-A to select the entire timeline, and CMD-C to copy it. Then go back to your new shiny project and paste the whole chunk it. It will fit the higher resolution project.
- Make App Preview in imovie using all your favorite tricks.
- Export: Be sure to export as app preview (this is the only way the 1080 x 1920 one will get accepted easily). If you export as a File, it will not be accepted by iTunes Connect out of the box. File-Share-App Preview.
Convert for all other resolutions
- At this point you have your 1080 x 1920 version. For the App Store, you will need all these resolutions. The following is a screenshot of the current chart Apple supplies.
- To make our lives easier, we chose to pony up the 30 dollars and get Quicktime 7 Pro. Note that this is not the included quicktime.
- For iPhone, export all of your versions listed by Apple. Make sure you get the settings right or you will get an error on upload.
- Use these Video and Audio settings, or iTunes Connect will complain.
- Once you get this set up, you can just choose the SIZE option for each resolution.
- For your iPad version, if you don't want to be editing a totally different video, just choose the Letterbox option. That will give you a nice video that doesn't look all stretched out.
At this point, you should be ready to drag them into the iTunes Connect portal. Good luck, and we hope this helps you save some experimentation time and get back to your game and app magic!