Talking head videos are a great option for simple, cost-effective media content. They can be great for quick corporate messages, interviews, product introductions and anything that requires a personal voice. But talking head videos are really easy to do wrong. Here’s a cheat sheet so you don’t make the same mistakes other have.
1. Don’t use green screen.
Make it as authentic as possible. If you want a clean white background, use a seamless backdrop and light it independently of your subject. Better yet, find somewhere quiet (See #4) that aligns with the subject and goals of your video. By using a real environment, you can add that polished corporate look.
2. Lighting is critical.
Avoid shadows, over exposure, and just plain bad lighting. Learn how to use 3-point lighting. If that’s not available, find a nice soft natural light source like a window.
3. Lighting is seriously critical.
Can’t stress this enough.
4. Audio is 50% of the video.
There isn’t a whole lot going on in your video. It’s a talking head, remember? Make sure your audio is on point. This starts by using a boom mic or a lapel mic recorded to an external source. Do not use the mic on your camera, it’s only there for reference audio.
5. Two cameras > one camera.
Always. Having more than one angle will help your video be more dynamic and increase your engagement. Just remember to keep your cameras on the same side of your subject. A wide, and a punch in shot is a popular combination.
6. Shoot with the end in mind.
Think about your final delivery and the audience for the video — what are your goals and are you achieving them? Make decisions accordingly. This includes pre-planning the script, making sure your subject is clear, concise and engaging.
7. Know your limits.
Sometimes it’s good to know when to hire a professional. If your video will have a wide distribution, or will be public-facing, consider hiring someone that can make you look great.
Use these 7 things as a guide the next time you’re creating (or thinking about creating) a talking head video and set yourself up for success!
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