Producing a talking head video can potentially be one of the best investments you make as part of your marketing endeavours.
In this blog post we will share some useful tips for producing a talking head video. These will be useful if you produce it yourself as well as if you are working together with a professional video production company.
WHAT IS TALKING HEAD VIDEO
Talking head video is a video consisting mainly of a close-up of a person (head and shoulders) who is talking about a certain subject.
This is one of the most popular online video formats as it is relatively easy and affordable to produce.
WHY USE TALKING HEAD VIDEO
VERSATILE: Talking head video can be used for many purposes which we describe further in this post. Also if you produce several talking head videos as series on one subject you can later on use them as part of a longer video.
AFFORDABLE:Talking head videos are relatively more affordable than other types of videos to produce.
TELLS STORY: It’s a great way to tell the story behind your product, service, project or cause.
EDUCATES: Talking head video is a great way to inform and educate your audience.
PERFECT FOR INTERNAL COMMUNICATION: Many kinds of internal communications can often be done in a form of a talking head video.
BLOG: It can be a fresh addition to your written blog. Talking head can also be one type of video used in series of vlog videos.
TRUST: It’s a great way to build trust as people can see representatives of your business or organisation as if “in person”.
Here is an example of talking head video used for corporate internal communication. This video is produced by CineEye:
HOW TO PRODUCE A TALKING HEAD VIDEO
Target Audience and Purpose of Video
Before doing anything else ask yourself if talking head video really is the type of marketing tool that you need to use. Ask yourself what is your target audience and what is the purpose of the video. And then decide whether a talking head video is the right medium to convey your message to your audience.
Choose the Right Presenter
Who should appear in the video? In ideal situation you should find someone who is good at public speaking, who can memorise text easily and who possesses a certain level of natural charisma.
Prepare Key Points/Interview Questions
The best way to get a natural sounding delivery for a talking head video is to talk freely without learning any scrip or using autocue. In this case you can prepare some key points yourself and then just talk freely to the camera. Alternatively your marketing manager or video production company representative can prepare interview questions and ask those off camera.
Autocue can be useful if you have no time or if you have large amounts of specific information to deliver. But if at all possible try to avoid it.
Find a Good Location
Finding the right location is crucial for a talking head video. The right location will it make the video look visually appealing. Location also conveys information about the subject being filmed. Filming in personal home conveys different information than filming in a corporate office or library.
It is also important to find a location enough large so that you can have enough room behind the subject. This will give a visually more appealing look as the cameraman will be able to use more shallow depth of field ( with subject in focus and background out of focus).
Get the Right Equipment
If you are producing the video yourself try to get at least a point and shoot camera or DSLR as well as a tripod. Using some semi professional or professional lights and a microphone will also make the end result look and sound better. It is certainly possible to shoot a decent looking video on smartphone, but you need to do a lot of research to really do it right.
And know your limits – if you are not a technical person, don’t hesitate to take services of professional video production company.
Wardrobe, Hair and Makeup
The wardrobe should be appropriate to the subject matter. There are though certain types of clothes that usually look bad on video. Those are for example clothes with close repeating patterns. You should also inform your subject to groom his/her hair. Makeup is optional, but it can be advisable to have at least some powder with you in case there is a need to reduce any shininess of face.
Set Your Camera/-s
A professional talking head video will usually be shot with two cameras. In this way during editing it is possible to cut from close up to a wider shot. You can also choose to position the cameras with different angle towards the subject so that you capture both a portrait shot and a three quarter angle shot. But it is certainly possible to shoot a decent talking head video with one camera.
Light Your Subject Well
If you produce the video yourself you can try to use natural light. In this case it is essential to position your subject correctly. Avoid using windows as backlight. Shooting with a window behind you will make you look like a silhouette.
It is safer to shoot while the subject is facing the window. In this case try to also use a lamp and direct the lamp towards the subject’s back. This will make the subject “pop out” visually from the background.
If you position the subject with the window on the side then don’t forget to even out the lighting by pointing the lamp towards that side of face which is in shadow.
Common problem with natural light is it’s unpredictability. The clouds can come and go and thus it is not easy to make an evenly lighted video using natural light.
Therefore if you can afford it use services of professional video production company. They will use special lighting setups. This way your video will get that pro look. Remember – light is probably one of the most important elements of video, so you really should prepare yourself and educate yourself about proper lighting techniques before shooting the video.
Get Quality Audio
It is important to find a location that is relatively less noisy. Avoid places where traffic can be heard or where other people are talking loudly.
If you work with professional video production company they will most probably use external microphones or even employ a professional sound recordist. If you produce video yourself it is also advisable to invest in some sort of external microphones. Getting the audio quality right is very important for a talking head video to feel professional.
3. POST PRODUCTION
There are many editing software around and they are enough straight forward to learn easily. Adding some graphics can be beneficial. And an unobtrusive background music can make the video more interesting.
If you are using a professional video production company they will most probably also add some motion graphics illustrating the points being made. This will make the video look more sleek and polished.