Talking head videos

Create your own awesome internal talking head videos with not much more than a smartphone.

Us humans love videos. So much so, that 78% of us view online videos every week. Yet while 81% of businesses use video to connect with external audiences, they’re not as widely used for connecting with audiences internally.

With smartphones, creating your own internal video content is easier than ever. One simple and effective way to share videos at work is via ‘talking head’ videos (which show a collection of people sharing their two pennies on camera).

Rolling out a new system or tool? Ask the early adopters to share the benefits. Launching a new initiative? Ask your leadership team to explain it. Want to build pride? Ask your clients to share stories of how your company helps them.

Whether you’re asking people to film themselves, or filming someone yourself, we’ve put together a simple guide to help you create the best film possible – while avoiding headaches in the process.

Location, location, location: 

  • Look for an interesting background to film yourself or your subject against (your marketing team might also have a pull-up banner you could borrow).
  • Make sure your spot has lots of natural light (always get your subject to face the light so they don’t appear silhouetted).
  • Try to limit background noise as much as possible (using a lapel mic is a big help if you’re near pesky air conditioning units).
  • Shoot lots of short five-second videos of different things around your office or environment. The experts call this B-roll footage, and it will come in very handy later.

Setup the shot:

  • Read this short guide on the rule of two-thirds. Placing yourself or your subject on one of those imaginary lines, rather than directly in the middle of the camera will spice things up a bit.
  • Position the camera just above the eye line and angled slightly down (it’s the most flattering camera position by a long shot).
  • Use a tripod to help keep your shot steady. If you have to hold the phone, try to lock your elbows in against your chest.
  • Unless you’re making your video for TikTok or another mobile-only platform, always film in landscape (as this public service announcement from Glove and Boots explains):

Fool-proof your phone:

  • Before filming, put your phone on Aeroplane mode. Nothing ruins a great shot like the phone suddenly screeching.
  • Try not to zoom in on your subject, as it will ruin the video quality big time. Instead, move your phone closer to your subject.
  • Turn on your phone’s AE and AF lock so that it doesn’t keep refocusing while you’re filming.

Collect your footage:

  • Ask your video stars to answer a series of questions with short, sharp responses. The trick is to edit together lots of different soundbites to tell your story, rather than sharing a monologue from one person.
  • Try to collect as many different voices and faces as you can. It will make your video much more interesting.
  • Rename each video file with the person’s name and the subject they’re discussing (this comes in useful when you’re editing).

Create your masterpiece: 

  • Chances are your laptop might have built-in editing software (such as Mac’s iMovie or Windows Movie Maker). If not, there are loads of free options online that will help you add a professional finish to your film.
  • Edit together answers from your various talking heads to create your story. Cut out any bits that are unnecessary or don’t add value, and use the B-roll footage you took earlier to smooth over your editing. Just be careful that you don’t change the context of someone’s response.
  • Cut. Cut. Cut. The shorter your video is, the better (videos get optimum engagement if they’re under two minutes).
  • Add some ‘lower-third’ titles to share your subjects name and title with the viewer.
  • Add some light background music. It makes a massive difference.

Videos are great for memory retention

We’re working on some downloadable tips you can share with your colleagues. We’ll pop it up here once it’s done. In the meantime, if you have your own tips you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you.

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