Updated: Nov 15, 2020
It is well established that video testimonials are among the most valuable types of content and serve to
be shared across social media platforms
drive web traffic
The human brain responds to far more visual stimuli in a video containing human faces, voices and colour, resulting in a more powerful emotional connection compared with mere text from a written testimonial.
The following notes are intended to help the planning process with technical and logistical information:
Staff testimonials are often carried out in places of work and serve to showcase the expertise of staff, support brand values and establish trust.
These tend to be longer pieces to camera often with cutaway footage (b roll) to add context to the narrative.
Customer testimonials tend to be less planned and more opportunistic; captured at events; high volume.
These are short pieces to camera and serve to provide subjective and emotional responses to a particular product, service or performance.
Celebrity endorsements add value and weight to any piece of content. Celebrities are media savvy and know how to deliver to camera, but have the least amount of time to give, so it's important to choose a location the with adequate lighting and the least chance of interruptions.
Market research testimonials are planned to answer wider marketing research questions on brand performance among a variety of stakeholders. The participants are often incentivized for their participation as individuals as well as being part of larger focus groups. This is particularly useful in recording non-verbal reactions
These are not for public view, but can provide insights into :
Choosing the right talent
It is never worth coercing people into participating in a video; always choose a willing participant who is articulate, well-presented and representative of your brand values.
[Technical tip] Closely striped or heavily patterned clothing should be avoided, as this can lead to image strobing.
Allow the talent to do a dry run, to order their thoughts, before an actual take. The result will more fluid and less punctuated with 'er' and 'erm' which only serve to diminish the strength of the communication.
If time is short when filming, and the talent has not had time to prepare it is likely that the editor will need to remove the 'er' and 'erm' pauses and will require more cutaway footage
(b roll) to cover the transitions between edited sections.
It's a good idea to have the talent seated in a chair or on a stool, if they stand they are more likely to move around and upset the composition of the shot and focus. This is especially important when editing together numerous takes.
Use a skilled interviewer
Most testimonials have an off-camera interviewer prompting questions which will not be included in the edit; remember to remind the talent to include the content of the question within their answer to provide context to their narrative.
To get the best response from the talent, it is important to have an interviewer who is able to set the talent at ease by quickly developing a rapport. They may mirror the body language of the talent such as posture and hand gestures, and provide encouraging nods to ease performance nerves during the interview.
[Technical tip] The temptation is always for the talent to look into the lens of the camera, almost as if to seek approval for the delivery of their answer; to prevent this from happening the interviewer should be located close to the side of the camera at eye-level with the lens, and maintain eye contact with the talent at all times.
Small offices might be the quietest places to film, but are a missed opportunity in providing visual depth and context to the video.
Choose an impressive space with visible lines of perspective.
[Technical tip] Using depth of field, the talent can either blend with their working environment or be made to stand out from it.
It is always better to close-mic the talent, especially if there is likely to be background noise. If the environment is noisy it is better to have the source visible in the background to provide context.
[Technical tip] Depending on the furnishings small rooms can sound boxy adding low-end frequency to the human voice, and large rooms will have a natural reverberation adding an echo. Both issues can be resolved in post, however the quality of the audio may be compromised.
It is possible to treat a room to optimize audio recording by using 'sound blankets', which deaden
the sound and help remove echo.
When filming inside it is better to be able to control the lighting environment, as opposed to relying on natural light which can change at any moment with the passing of clouds across the sun.
[Techinical tip] The standard studio setup for interviews is termed 3-point lighting with a key light to directly illuminate the talent, a back light to separate them from the background and a fill light to control shadow for dramatic effect. It is possible to achieve the same with portable lighting but will require additional setup time.
During events, lighting is never consistent and if you are planning interviews it is best to have an area set-up with 3-point lighting to achieve the best results.
The hook video content production and marketing provides an agile, cost-effective solution to all types of testimonial gathering. Based closed to central London, we can provide a single shooter with lighting at a very reasonable cost. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote today.