Create Effective Talking Head Videos

One of the most popular formats for online videos is the ‘Talking Head’ video. When viewers are able to see facial expressions combined with your tone of voice, presenters can really make a connection with their audience.
They’re relatively easy to produce, even on your own. All you need is a video camera on a tripod, some lights and a microphone. But talking head videos can get very boring, very quickly. So here are some simple tips to ensure your audience will hang on to every word you say.


Each of us has their own presentation delivery style. Some of us talk fast with lot’s of energy, whilst others are calmer and talk slower. Ideally you want a natural, relaxed and authentic delivery style just as if your were talking one-to-one with a friend.  
The first technique to consider is the “Rule of Thirds” for better composition. Imagine the video frame evenly divided into thirds horizontally and vertically. Your key elements including the presenter, should be placed along these lines and their intersections. Aligning your subject with these points creates more energy and interest than a composition that simply has its subject in the centre of the frame.


Your eyeline should be at the lens height of the video camera. Unless you want to make a particular statement. For example, if the eyeline was above the lens with the subject looking down, it will create a sense of authority. Conversely, with the eyeline below the lens will create a sense of being submissive.


The B-Roll is secondary video footage which can be used for cutaways and is ideal to add variety to talking head videos. The subject talks directly to the video camera in the front whilst a second camera shoots from the subject’s side. The editor then cuts between the two angles and creates more interest and energy.
If you only have one camera, no problem. Do all of your presentation straight to camera and then do it again, but this time, turn your body on an angle and look ahead as if the camera is in front of you. This will create your B-Roll.   B-Roll can also include video footage that illustrates what you are talking about. For example, if you are talking about your business, using relevant footage will be far more effective.


Everything you see in your video frame should be there to support what you are saying and not be distracting, or worse still, contradicting your message.


Graphics can be very effective to visually support your message but be sure the graphics don’t invade your personal space, Leave lots of room between the graphics and yourself.


If your video has a number of distinct sections then use Title Cards with the name of each section. This will help break up the presentation into units and this will help the viewers to remember the key points.


One of the most important elements of any video, particularly a talking head video, is the audio. Audiences can tolerate poor quality video images but if they can’t hear what you are saying they will quickly move on to another video. So use quality external microphones such a lapel mic or a shot-gun microphone. They should be as close as possible to you to minimize any other noise.


Background music can create the right mood for your video so be very selective with the music you choose and use original or royalty free music.


Now for the final tip – use a twist. Audiences like familiarity when they know what to expect from a format. That’s why they like to watch the same shows on TV each week. However, we are programmed to pay attention to what is different, so adding a twist to a familiar idea is a great way to gain attention.


Good luck with your Talking Head video

Gerry Tacovsky

Video Marketing Strategist