How To Make a Great “Talking Head” Video
June 6, 2014
Talking head (noun) – the televised head and shoulders shot of a person talking; also : a television personality who appears in such shots – Merriam Webster
Whether for budget or practical reasons, sometimes you just need to get your message out via a talking head video. That doesn’t mean it needs to be boring! By incorporating creativity and good production-values into the script and execution, your talking head video can be the talk of the town.
Here are four basic fundamentals to follow:
1) Great talking head video starts with a great talking head
It sounds basic, but a large part of the success of a video depends on who appears on camera. Are they comfortable? Warm, witty or otherwise engaging? If not, you need to find someone who is. That might be a professional actor if no one in your organization is up to the task – getting the message across and not sounding like they are reading a piece of scripted propaganda is key.
2) Great Talking Head Video Have Great Scripts
Humans are wired for stories – we love them from the instant we can understand speech. That doesn’t mean your spokesperson needs to get out the puppets (though that might have some potential). Work with a writer to come up with a way to make a story with a beginning, middle, end and overriding story arc. This is just as relevant for training, educational or promotional pieces.
3) Great Talking Head Videos Have More Than Just Talk
Unless your spokesperson is Robin Williams, watching someone talk at you for several minutes won’t be scintillating. Graphics or relevant B roll images can go a long way to adding visual interest while reinforcing your points and illustrating specific concepts and information. Good music can help – it’s up to you to decide if it plays all the way through or just at key points.
4) Great Talking Head Videos Have Beautiful Images And Clear Sound
This may sounds obvious, but with the amount of videos online that sound like they were recorded in a tin can, it’s not. The speaker must be closely mic’d – camera microphones pick up camera sound and every other nearby noise. And if your boardroom features four beige walls, don’t film in it. Find someplace more visually interesting. Or try having your subject on the move, walking and talking through your company or showroom. Work with an experienced cameraperson to create a visually interesting frame, well lit and with good sound.
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