How to Create Testimonial Videos
Wondering how to create a persuasive testimonial video?
In this article, you’ll learn how to produce an effective testimonial video to share on social media.
Why Testimonial Videos?
People value the opinions of their peers. According to a BrightLocal study, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Sharing testimonial videos on your social media channels can help you guide your audience in the direction you want.
What sets video testimonials apart from other types of video content is that your customer does the talking; someone with whom your prospect may relate. The customer’s testimony offers evidence that your product or service helped them solve a specific problem.
For instance, in this testimonial video, WireBuzz explains how they combined HubSpot with video to create an effective email marketing campaign.
Testimonial videos are widely used for the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, when potential customers are searching for information that will help them make up their minds. A persuasive testimonial video can help guide prospects through the sales funnel.
Now let’s look at how you can create an effective testimonial video for your product or service.
#1: Create a Testimonial Questionnaire
The first step is to think about the questions you’ll ask your clients/interviewees. To get insightful answers, consider including these questions in your testimonial questionnaire:
- What prompted you to consider this product?
- What was the problem you wanted to solve?
- Was there an obstacle that might have prevented you from buying this product? Were you reluctant? (This question can help you discover an issue you might not have considered.)
- How has the product affected your business?
- What features do you like most?
- Can you name three other benefits?
- Would you recommend the product? If so, why?
- Is there anything else you want to add?
Be sure to share these questions with your client before your interview so they’ll know the key points you’re planning to cover.
Coordinate with your client to find a day and time to do the interview. If you’re interviewing more than one person, set up specific interview times. Share the details of the shoot to help ensure the process runs smoothly.
#2: Scout a Filming Location
How do you choose the ideal location for your shoot? It’s important for the location to provide some context to viewers. Choose a setting that best supports the message you want to convey in the video.
If you shoot indoors, as Codecademy did for the video below, you can control the environment (light, traffic, noise, etc.) and the setting will be safer and more private. Shooting special effects and creating extraordinary scenarios are also easier.
However, costs tend to run higher and shooting indoors is not the best option for replicating a realistic or ordinary set. Examples of indoor locations include a studio, lobby, conference room, or bar/café.
If you have a smaller budget, shooting outdoors may be a better option because the costs tend to be minimal. However, you’ll have no control over the environment, and privacy and security (for storing your equipment) may become issues when shooting.
Examples of outdoor locations include the front of an office building, a sidewalk, a special location related to the topic of the video, a city square, and so on. For example, this Buildpro testimonial video was shot at a personal residence.
#3: Set Up Your Shoot
Once you choose a location, you need to set up your microphone, lighting, and camera, and decide where to position your subject.
Choose the Right Microphone
It’s important to select the right microphone for the environment in which you’re shooting. Here’s a rundown of your options:
- Omnidirectional mics capture sounds from all directions equally.
- Cardioid mics capture noise mostly from the front. They don’t capture sound as well from the sides and nothing at the rear.
- Hypercardioid mics have a tighter forward focus than cardioid mics and don’t fully reject sounds from the rear.
- Bi-directional mics capture sound in two ovals on both sides, but reject sounds 90 degrees off-axis.
- Shotgun mics capture sound directly in front of them (even from a distance) but nothing from the sides or rear.
- Lavalier mics are small omnidirectional mics that can be clipped onto clothing (usually hidden near the collar or lapel).
If you’re interviewing your subject indoors, shotgun, bi-directional (if you need to record the voices of both the interviewee and interviewer), and lavalier mics are good options because they’re more directional. Omnidirectional, cardioid, and hypercardioid mics tend to record sounds from the environment so they’re not the best options in this case.
If you’re shooting outdoors, all mics are susceptible to wind. To reduce wind and other noises, place a windscreen made of acoustic foam rubber over the mic. This filter is widely known as a “zeppelin” because it resembles an airship.
Set Up Your Lighting
If you’re shooting indoors, consider a three-point lighting setup:
- The key (or main) light is the brightest light and the most important. It’s usually placed to one side, and high up.
- The fill light illuminates the parts of the frame that would be in shadows if you used only the key light.
- The hair or backlight helps separate subjects from the background by lighting their backs.
Of course, you can add or remove lights to create the right lighting arrangement for your video. However, with the basic setup described above, you won’t be disappointed.
If you plan to shoot outdoors in bright sun, you can use a “scrim” to minimize harsh shadows on the subject’s face. To do this, attach a diffuser to a light stand (or similar device) to soften the sunlight. You can also use a white bounce board to add dimensions to the subject’s face.
Position Your Camera(s)
If you’re using only one camera for your video shoot, the editing process will be much easier. You’ll have only one video and audio file to care about.
With a single camera, you can capture as many shots as you’d get with two or more cameras, but you’ll need to do some careful planning to pull it off. Think about what angles you’ll need and be prepared to adjust your shots.
For the interview itself, you can use the traditional medium shot. To capture emotional moments or specific/relevant quotes, do tight close-ups. The tricky part is trying to predict how subjects will react or what they’ll say so you can adjust your shots. The questions you ask can help guide you.
Be sure to place the camera at the same height as the interviewer and subject so they won’t appear to be looking up or down at the other person.
Using multiple cameras is the easiest way to show a variety of angles in your video. Make sure all of the cameras use the same frame size, frame rate, aperture, ISO, and white balance. The editing process will be a little more challenging than with a single camera because continuity and visual coherence are key to a quality video.
If you’re using a two-camera setup, place both cameras at the same height (if possible). You could place camera A near the interviewer so the subject’s eye line falls to either the left or right of the camera. Place camera B on the same side to capture more of the subject. This arrangement allows you to get both a close-up and a medium to wide shot, giving you proper coverage.
When you position camera B, stick to the 180-degree rule.
Tip: Adding a third camera to the mix will help you get even more interesting angles of your subject. Get creative!
Position the Interviewer and Subject
Have the interviewer stand or sit to the right or left of the camera so the subject will be looking just off-camera.
To position the subject, imagine your camera shot is divided into thirds and then place the subject in the opposite third from the direction they’re looking. That is, if the subject is looking to the left of the camera, position them in the right third of the frame so the viewer can see a portion of the area they’re looking at.
Avoid placing the subject in front of a white wall or a cluttered background. Some activity behind them can be nice, but too much can distract your audience. Make sure the background is out of focus while you shoot; in other words, create depth to emphasize your subject and focus the attention on them.
#4: Record the Interview
The more comfortable subjects feel, the better the interview will be. So make sure you match their mood, energy, tone, and body language.
Use the interview questionnaire as a guide and let the interviewee elaborate. Avoid interrupting and just let them talk. You can always trim the discussion during the editing process. If the subject is nervous or suddenly gets quiet, don’t worry; that’s not uncommon. Just set them at ease and give them a minute to regroup.
Ask the interviewee to acknowledge your question when they answer. So if you ask, “What was your main pain point?”, have them answer, “My main pain point was….” The audience won’t hear your question so this will help add context to the subject’s answer.
Feel free to revisit a question or topic that hasn’t been addressed properly. If you reword your question, you may solicit the response you’re looking for. You can also ask the subject to elaborate on an interesting point previously covered.
As you conduct your interview, be an active, engaged listener. Listening carefully to answers, pauses, and nuances will help you know when it’s the right moment to move to the next question or ask a follow-up.
Don’t be shy about asking for what you need, but always be polite and specific. For instance, if you need the subject to do something differently (maybe they’re fidgeting too much), just ask. However, wait for them to finish answering your question and then pause the interview. Showing them the video you’ve shot may help convey your point.
This tactic also works well if you need to make adjustments in your framing, camera setup, or lighting; always let the subject finish before pausing the interview.
#5: Edit the Video
When you’re done filming, edit the footage to create a video that’s about 90 to 150 seconds long. Make it enjoyable, credible, and human. If the subject goes on too long at times, trim the content to avoid losing the thread. Include the quotes and content that add true value.
Here are a few additional ways to enhance your testimonial video during editing:
- Incorporate inserts and cutaways when you lack interesting content from the subject, or want to strengthen a point or simply add some excitement.
- Choose the best camera angles for each moment. Remember, close-ups are a great way to emphasize an emotional message.
- Make adjustments to correct lighting issues from the shoot (too cloudy, too bright/dark, etc.). Apply special filters to create specific aesthetics.
- Add lower thirds as text overlaying the video to identify the person speaking (name and title). You can add other graphic elements such as boxes, images, or shading, but don’t overdo it.
- Use your brand colors for the footer, lower thirds, and cards, as well as at the beginning and end of the video (in these two cases, with the logo included).
To create an effective testimonial video, you need to invest the time in planning the interview, setting up the location, and editing the footage. A high-quality, professional video will project the right image for your business and encourage prospects to choose you as their vendor.
What do you think? Have you used video testimonials in your marketing? What tips can you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.