Testimonial videos should feel natural and organic. They need to tell a story about that person’s experience and portray them as genuine and relatable. I almost always shoot customer video testimonials ‘interview style’ and fill out the visuals with B-roll of the person interacting with the brand in some way. I thought I’d take a minute here to outline a few good and bad ideas to keep in mind when getting ready to shoot your testimonial videos.
Keep the interview in the interviewees own words:
A good producer will know how to guide the subject to the answers that work best for the companies messaging and marketing goals without relying on scripted statements. A testimonial video should be a true testimony of the customer who enjoys the product.
‘Interview Style’ filming should employ appropriate eye-lines:
The subject should be looking at the interviewer who will be sitting close to the camera lens. This will result in an eye-line just off lens. That will give you the best view of their face but allow the viewer to feel like they are in the room. Make sure you’re keeping their eyes in the right place and ask them to re-state good lines that were delivered with drifting eyes.
You’ll need to have some way to cut together the good parts in the edits:
Plan for and accommodate this at the shoot. If you have the budget, employing multiple cameras will allow you to cut together different parts of their interview. If you don’t have the budget, you can shoot in a higher resolution than the videos will be delivered in. This gives you the ability to ‘zoom in’ in the edit suite without the image getting fuzzy and makes it appear as though multiple cameras were employed.
If you have the time and budget, get B-roll:
This can be used to hide the ‘bad’ cuts. It’s often difficult to get the subject to supply useable assets, such as pictures, for these cuts so having your own footage will become very useful in the editing stage.
The ‘Bad & the Ugly’:
Trying to script the customer video testimonial in part or whole:
The whole point of producing a testimonial video is to create an organic endorsement of your brand. Don’t ruin it with canned statements. Your audience will recognize this in a heartbeat and tune out. Even if it sounds like a good reading on set, you’ll realize the folly in editing.
Telling the testimonial talent to look into the camera:
Refer to the aforementioned ‘Interview Style’ filming mentioned above.
Cross dissolves denote to the viewer that a passage of time has occurred. If you edit testimonial videos with cross dissolves it’s essentially telling your audience “They didn’t really say this, we just remixed their statements into what we wanted them to say”. Avoid this by shooting with multiple or Ultra HD cameras and getting plenty of B-roll to hide the cuts.
Forgetting to have the talent sign a release:
In this case, it’s not ‘bad’ until it’s catastrophic. Imagine going through the entire process of filming, editing and posting only to have one of your testimonial video talents come back and demand you take down the video because they don’t like the way they look. It rarely happens but when it does it’s a huge pain to remove them. You might want to remove them at that point anyway, but at least the release will cover you legally in the interim.
So there you have it; the good the bad and the ugly of testimonial videos. I hope this helps you in your endeavor to create fantastic social proof content. If you want a full guide on how to recruit and produce customer video testimonials, check out our compressive guide.
If you’re a marketing director or business owner interested in testimonial video campaigns or an agency looking for an experienced testimonial producer, feel free to drop us a line through our website; www.cinemastersind.com.