In the last article, we discussed how to create effective event videos. Now we'll dive into how to create video testimonials, which are a great way to pull back the curtain on your company and share personal, down-to-earth stories of why you do what you do and how it helps people. Video testimonials can include either a story from one of your employees or from one of your customers. In the TV shopping industry, the famed "t call" (testimonial call) is legendary for driving sales through the roof during a video pitch. In short, social proof sells -- especially when you can look into the eyes of your subject and personally see their credibility.
Unlike event videos, testimonial videos are much more scalable. Not every company hosts events on a very regular basis, but your employees and customers can help you generate a lot of content on a regular basis. There is plenty of content to generate; capture customers as they speak about their love of your products and interview employees about how fun it is to work at your company.
Booking your subject
For obvious reasons, employee testimonials are easier to obtain and therefore make great series material. Since customer testimonials are great for sales, anytime you're visiting a customer could be an opportunity to film a testimonial. If you plan ahead, conferences are a great way to get lots of customer testimonials in an efficient way. In general, try to film your testimonial clip in five minutes or less, as you're looking for up to 45 seconds of material. This should give you one or two tries to get a good testimonial shot.
The testimonial shot
All the principles of quality videography apply to getting a good testimonial shot. For example, a low-cost lavalier mic attached to your mobile phone will dramatically improve the audio quality. Filming outdoors or in a place where there is a strong source of sunlight will greatly improve the image quality of the mobile camera. Try to pick an angle where shadows are minimized on your subject's face.
You want the testimonial footage to be credible and true, so from a coaching standpoint, encourage subjects to be themselves. Try your best to make the experience fun for them (which can raise the energy in the clip) and give them a quick heads up on what you're looking for so they can think about it before diving in. Instruct your subjects on how long they should speak (30 to 45 seconds) and whether or not you would like them to introduce themselves (this can add a nice context for the viewer). Inform your subjects that you will give them a countdown so they know when to start, and ask them to wait a few seconds after they finish their statement so you can get a "clean" finish in your footage.
Since the testimonial shot will anchor the video, try to keep the camera as steady as possible -- this main shot is not a good opportunity to do a camera move. However, adding a bit of motion is encouraged in the supporting shots discussed below.
The supporting shots
Adding at least one supporting, illustrative video clip can definitely bring your testimonial video to the next level. The power of video, after all, is "showing" and not "telling." If you can illustrate at least one of the points that your subject makes with a short video clip, the testimonial will really come alive for your viewer. For example, if you're making an employee testimonial where the subject shares why he likes the products and he mentions that he uses the products for a particular purpose, try to get one shot of the employee using the product for that purpose. If the customer speaks about the convenience of your mobile app, try to get a shot of the customer using your mobile app for 10 seconds. These clips can be inserted within the testimonial shot and really help the viewer understand the impact of what your company does.
Testimonials are most powerful when delivered in video. With just a few shots -- the testimonial and at least one illustrative video clip -- you can create a compelling story that showcases your products and highlights what they mean to customers and the people who make them.
Matt Singer is CEO and co-founder of Videolicious.
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"Group of successful young business people at a video conference in the office" image via Shutterstock.