Imagine Cup 2012: Tips for Recording Video Demo

The due date for Imagine Cup 2012 Local Malaysia round one is coming soon and many Imagine Cup challenges second round due date too. As usual, recording a video of your system demo is usually one of the requirement for round one submission for Software Design in Imagine Cup Malaysia. If you haven’t start planing how to do your video demo, now is a good time to do so. Don’t wait until last minute because if you fail to plan mean you plan to fail.

Every year I’m sharing some tips and trick competitors should highlight and becareful when they are planning and creating their video demo of their system. I’m going to do this again this year. This is my personal point of view and it is NOT related with any Imagine Cup Malaysia round selection guide or what so ever. I would said, take it as a reference only.


  • Come out a script or scenarios for the system demo. Competitors might want come out a script on what to present before the recording begin. This can help to avoid missing some important element or point when recording. (When start recording, everyone will get panic, trust me!).
  • Record in multiple smaller part and compile into one later. It is easier to record part by part first because you might not want to record everything all over again when something went wrong (such as system crash, mispronounce, interruption, messenger popping out!). Combine into one after finish recorded all parts. Please don’t submit multiple parts, because it is irritating and judges might miss one or two video clip (they have ton of video watch you know).
  • Narrative / Voice over on video demo. Even you don’t have a sweet voice, but explaining the system and problem through narrative definitely is a plus point. Not recommend to use computer voice narrator, because the voice is very irritating to listen for 15 minutes long. Not recommend to use only subtitle to replace the voice because judges will be too busy reading the subtitles and cannot concentrate on the system demo, but you can have both if you want. Highly not recommend to submit a video without any voice or subtitle explanation, audience cannot read your mind!
  • Be creative, but not over creative. Add some creativity into the video demo to attract the attention of judges. Impression is very important. Competitors might want to come out a story line for video demo to make the video more lively. Some animation or effect will be good to have, but don’t take too much time on this, because it is not the main presentation point. highly not recommend to create a video with super visual effect and rocking background music.
  • Add some research element. Show some research data in order to make the audience believe how serious the problems are or how much impact the solution can be . It is better to say like this disease had kill XXX,XXX number of peoples every year instead of this disease had kill many many people every year. Please don’t craft your own number or unclaimed research data! You need to state the source of the research data or the assumption of the data given, else it is just the same as unclaimed research data.
  • Make it simple, the audience may not have a IT background. Try to explain the system in a simple way and easy to understand. Judges might come from different fields and they might not understand some scientific term. Judges are also have very little interested to know the technical part on how the system work, so don’t go and explain how your system can fly until outer space.
  • Skip unimportant part. Don’t bore your audience. Competitors might want to fast-forward some unimportant part such as data entry. Audience do not have that much patient to wait. Skip the loading time of a website or data will give more time on other demo of the system too. Remember to show the coolest part of your system or the uniqueness part of your system and don’t just show them add, edit delete functions.
  • Practice before real recording. It is good to have a round of practice or two before go for the real recording. Although competitor can direct read from the script they prepare when recording, but not everyone can read the script as smooth as normal way of speaking, they sure got a lot of half way full stop! Practice also can reduce Manglish or Singlish (those “eh”, “ah” and etc). It doesn’t sound nice when audience hear those “ah”, “eh”, “oh” and half way full stop. Although it is hard for most of us to reduce Manglish to zero, but reduce is better than did nothing.
  • Hide the bugs! If the system is yet to complete, competitors doesn’t required to tell the audience which feature is yet to complete in current stage. This will just give audience a bad impression on the system as the system might crash anytime. Just show whatever the system currently got, if not, tell the audience what it might become when it complete. Competitors can always cover part of the system which is yet to implement by some scenario or story telling.
  • Simple introduction will be nice. It is always good to have a short introduction. The video might want to have a few minutes telling the audience what problems the system is targeting and which millennium goal the system is trying to archive.
  • Concentrate on your system demo. The video is all about the system you developed. The video should show the feature of the system and how it can solve the problem. It is alright to show some user feedback research or interview, but not too much. Don’t just show the audience some picture, the problem and nothing else any more. Who in this world will know what solution are you providing by just telling us the problems? Imagine Cup want the solution not the problem only! Hiding your solution and think that not revealing your solution to anyone before final won’t make any benefit but only risk yourself to be disqualified for the next round.
  • Remember to give credit. Although this is not much about the competition, but giving credit to the author of the song or research data is a good practice. Who knows one of the judges is the author and s/he didn’t see any credit given to him/her.


I try my best to keep the list short… well, it is much shorter compare with the previous year. So, after go through all the list, is time for you to kick start and plan your video recording now. Don’t wait until the very last minute. All the best for all competitors who are joining this year. Hope to see you all in the final.

If you have any question, feel free to post it in the comment. I will help answer as much as possible.


by Ooi Keng SiangMSPSMT via Ooiks’s Blog

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