How we made a product video in 4 hours and $46, using Apple Keynote


Last week, we made a new product video for Weld. Here’s the results:

Guess how we made it? It was made entirely in Apple Keynote! Previously, we’ve used iMovie, Premiere, After Effects and Motion – but this time we wanted to try a new lightweight approach.


Why make movies in Keynote?

  • Fast & cheap. It was an extreme ROI for the time and money we spent on it. From start to final cut it took 4 hours, and we actually had a rough cut in only 1 hour. The remaining time was tweaking the details (and solving one major bug – see below).
    The only money we spent was $46 for 46 seconds of licensed music from Epidemic Sound’s excellent library.
  • Great animation tools. Keynote is simple compared to After Effects, but the animation tools (especially Magic Move) are powerful.
  • Easy to change text and images at the last minute. No need to use multiple tools, and export/import assets when something needs to change.
  • Exports to QuickTime video. You can easily get a video file for uploading to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook etc.
  • Can also be used for animated GIFs. Take the exported QuickTime file into GIF Brewery (or export images and bring them into Photoshop) and you can easily make an animated GIF such as this one:

One big bug

The movie was almost ruined by one big bug that we didn’t discover before uploading to YouTube.

It turns out that timing of the movie is different in the exported QuickTime video compared to when playing the slideshow in Keynote, if these conditions are met: 1) you have imported video clips on the slides, and 2) you have defined delays on the slides.

The solution is to use Play → Record Slideshow to set custom slide timing, which is actually a better and faster process altogether.

How to make a product video in Keynote

  • Set up the document. On Document panel, you have two presentation types that are relevant in this context: Normal and Self-Playing. “Normal” is actually the better option, because of the bug above. We used the “16:9” slide size.
  • Timing of slides and animations. The only thing you need to care about is the timing of slide transitions and object effects/animations. The rest will be taken care of with Record Slideshow.
  • Importing video clips. We used QuickTime Player to record shots of Weld in action. These clips can then be imported straight into Keynote. Editing tools (Format panel → Movie) are limited: you can change start and end points, but to change the speed of the movie you need to use iMovie. Make sure to disable the “Start movie on click” option.
  • Music soundtrack. Music can be added to the presentation (Document panel → Audio). Note that when you preview the presentation, the music always restarts, so play from slide 1 if you want a better understanding of how the music syncs with the slides.
  • Animations. Plenty of options both for slide transitions and object animations, but the “Magic Move” transition (Animate panel with nothing selected) is worth mentioning: make a slide with objects laid out, duplicate the slide and rearrange the layout – Magic Move will “morph” the objects between the two layouts.
  • Record Slideshow. When all content is imported and animations/transitions are set up, it’s time to set the final timing of the movie. Go into Play → Record Slideshow. Mute the microphone and click the Record button. The music will start playing and you can now advance the movie manually, in sync with the music.
  • Export to QuickTime. Export at 1080p resolution and make sure to use the Slideshow Recording playback timing.