Don’t Make A Talking Head Hostage Video: Video Production Tip

ct-video-marketingOnline video is a big deal these days.  Aside from the fact that YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google, and the younger generation is spending lots of time on sites like Instagram (pictures & videos) and Vine (videos) – consumers just expect companies to have videos on their website.  When someone recommends a restaurant, we want to check it out before we go (watch a video).  If looking to hire a contractor, accountant, or consultant, we want to get to know that person a little (watch video) before we meet.  If it’s widget or software that we need to buy, we may want to watch review, testimonial, and FAQ videos.

I’m a big believer in having a real person from the company appear on camera (talking head video).  It can go a long way to build credibility and trust, especially if it’s the business owner or founder.  You can still have other images, graphics, animations, powerpoint, etc edited into the video to make things more interesting – but it’s nice having the personal touch.

The biggest challenge with this making sure to come off as “real”.  Even the most charismatic people seem to clam up in front of a camera – or they’re just not themselves.  This happens mostly when they read from a script.  Either their eyes are moving back and forth, or they just sound monotone and fake.  Even if they use a teleprompter, it can come off badly if they’re not used to doing it.  It’s NOT as easy as it looks!

(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

I hope I made the point well enough in the video above – whatever you do, don’t make a hostage video – where it looks like someone put hot lights on you and forced you to read something at gun point (which is precisely what many taping sessions probably feel like to someone who’s not used to doing it – but, the experiences our clients have are much different – we pride ourselves on making it easy and enjoyable).

Whether you do it yourself or hire someone like us, there are basically two solutions I recommend:

1. Take the script one segment at a time, memorizing one line or section at a time, and looking right into the camera.  Just deliver as much as you can remember.  In editing, we can piece things together, using other images to cover up the cuts.  The best part about this approach – since people tend to speak differently than how we write, what ultimately comes out with the approach will be better and more conversational – more real – than what would happen if the script was read out loud verbatim.

2. Don’t look at the camera at all.  Talk to someone who’s off to the side – I call this interview style.  You still don’t want to read off a script or telemprompter.  Either have that person ask you questions that lead you to say what you want to say, or have them feed you one line or section at a time, just like I explained in solution #1.

By far, the easiest way to handle this is to have a good interviewer stand next to the camera leading the conversation – talk for a while and then pull out the best parts in editing.

Mike Liebensohn is a producer and the owner of VideoActive, a video production and marketing company that helps service based businesses, professionals, consultants, experts, entrepreneurs, coaches, and job seekers build credibility online, one video at a time.  They are experts in making the taping process easy and enjoyable. Look up the Shower & Showup™ package on their website,

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