From an address to camera to interviews and testimonials, deciding on the best style for your corporate video talent is a key aspect in sending the right message
Deciding on which on-camera talent style is best for your video can be tricky at times. Our clients often get confused between styles and don’t understand why certain choices are better for their needs than others. We have compiled here three main approaches for filming talent, and have provided direction on how to decide on: talent, content, location, positioning and eyelines.
These suggestions below of course won’t pertain to every address to camera or every testimonial. Each client we interact with is different and has different needs, and thus different solutions to meet those outcomes are required. However, in general, the points outlined below provide a good reference to common practices in the industry.
ADDRESS TO CAMERA
When deciding to go with an address to camera, the common reasoning is that they want to get a message across – to internal employees, clients, or company partners. The person chosen for this task is often someone in a dominant position, recognized within the company and a highly regarded individual.
The content for an address to camera is nine times out of ten scripted content. This is because the message they are trying to get across is not only very important, but the nuances in what is written are important, and thus the reader should not veer off track.
In a corporate culture the go-to location is of course an office environment. Although it would be nice to see this change at times, this is the most common theme because it makes the most sense. If the talent were to be discussing an upcoming charity event and you film it in the location the charity event were to take place then that would make sense as well. But don’t choose something just for the sake of standing out. Your best bet would be to find a space that has a subtle reference to what they are talking about, or who they are as a person.
It has been said that a standing position for on-screen talent is a much more powerful position than a sitting one. For one, it provides a air of confidence. Secondly, when you sit your clothes can get bunched up, you may have bad posture, and overall you are less likely to sit with a confident stance as one does when standing.
The main feature of an address to camera is the fact that the on-screen talent is looking directly down the camera barrel. The eyeline can in some instances be ever so slightly off camera, but more common is to see the talent looking straight into camera. This creates a strong relationship with the viewer, which is why this technique is used when getting across an important message.
An interview can be for virtually any purpose within a corporate video, and therefore choosing talent can be very varied. You may decide to go with professional talent, such as hired actors. When it comes to utilizing employees for corporate company profile videos, my stress would be on per-screening your talent. You may think Betsy from accounting has a gift for gab, but get her in-front of the camera and it may prove to be a different story.
My second biggest stress when it comes to interviews would be in regards to content – DO NOT script your interviewees. Unless they are well trained professionals, if you script an interview you are setting up the talent for failure. I have seen too many people try to memorize what they or someone else wrote, only to freeze up in front of the camera. Of course preparation is key to any interview, but ask the talent to write jot notes, never full sentences.
First start out by looking into spaces that makes sense in reference to the content. Secondly, think about esthetics. We quite often blur out the background of our interviews to get a nice soft focus. So if you have a location that can generally relate, and has some nice colors/shapes suitable for a soft focus, this is an ideal choice.
As with an address to camera, a standing position provides a powerful choice. However, a sitting position is used fairly often as well. Sitting allows the interviewee to feel comfortable, and at times provides a more intimate feel.
Eyelines in an interview can be to the side or straight into camera depending on your needs. If you want your audience to feel like the person is speaking directly to them, then straight to camera could be useful.
Often though, our clients want their audience to feel like they are catching a glimpse into their corporate culture. A just off-camera type of eyeline makes it feel like the interviewee is speaking to a friend. It gives the scene a feeling of authenticity.
Testimonials are an excellent way to prove to prospective customers, that your existing clients, business partners, vendors etc. think highly of you/your product or service. As described with interviews above, choose talent that come across well on-screen. Just because a certain client raves about you doesn’t mean they can articulate that when in front of the camera.
It is very important that testimonials never be scripted. This will come across as inauthentic and will be fairly easy to spot. Take the time to understand what benefits you provide to your clients, and then work that into a well crafted series of interview questions.
If you decide to film on a backdrop, this will allow for the flexibility of adding graphic text or product models on the screen at the same time as the testimonial footage, in order to aid the overall message.
If you have the ability, going to the client’s own location is an excellent choice. This showcases authenticity and the value of your product/service, as your client is allowing you to film on their property. If you are able to do this, make sure you utilize the space. Get creative with trying to showcase the client’s facility/brand.
With a testimonial I think the best option is whatever makes the talent feel most comfortable. They are taking the time out of their day to provide you with not only a reference, but they are attaching their name and image to the reference as well. In addition, you want the subject to come across as authentic as possible, so forcing them to stand when they don’t feel comfortable standing will not bode well for the overall feel of the video.
Eyelines for testimonials are most often slightly off to the side. As stated above with interviews, this gives it a less formal and more friendly tone. Director and DP Alexander Ibrahim also believes, “the “look off” style keeps things a bit more objective”, which lends itself well to the testimonial style.
We hope you found these tips and tricks useful! Deciding on who you want your talent to be and how you want them to come across is an important decision in any corporate video. Please contact us if you have any questions pertaining to this post or questions about corporate video in general. We look forward to hearing from you!