How To Look And Sound Great On Your Company Video When You’re Not A Professional Actor

Students from Christ University acting for a short tutorial video shoot on Kannada Wikipedia editing

Along with hiring the right video production crew to shoot and produce your company video, casting the right people to star in your video is critical to its success.

When it comes to business marketing videos, the optimal choice is to hire professional actors. However, there are times when the situation calls for you to cast “real” people — not actors.

For instance, you may need an explainer video that describes the nature of your business, the problems your product/service solves, and to brand your business as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and reliable.

Information like this is most effective with a sincere, personal touch. You may not be able to achieve this with actors. It would be better to feature the president or founder of the company and some key employees, since these are the strongest people to convey your company’s origins, purpose, and values. The most common version of this approach is the testimonial video.

Testimonial videos feature real-life clients who have used your products or services and have positive feedback about your business. Showcasing real clients and customers adds credibility to your message. The drawback to doing this is that people who are untrained talent can feel uncomfortable in front of the camera, which leads to coming across as unconvincing. This makes the audience uncomfortable and your video difficult to watch.

Here are several ways to help the untrained talent feel at ease in front of the camera and give the best possible performance in your marketing video...

1. Work from a script

Great videos start with great scripts. Make sure your professional video production company spends time getting to know your company message and translating it effectively to the page.

Once a script has been approved, your talent should be given a copy, so that they can rehearse before the shoot day. Rehearsal works best if it can be done on-camera, but in front of a mirror or a private audience works well too.

Doing this will enhance your non-actor’s performance by identifying (thus eliminating) nervous tics and helping them speak with clarity and confidence.

Refrain from having them memorize the script word-for-word — non-actors sound more natural and convincing if they just speak without memorizing.

By the time the non-actor arrives on set to shoot, they should know what they are going to say and what important points they have to hit. A good director will guide the performer as needed.

2. Wear the right clothes for video

Corporate video with 5D Mark 3 and T2i. By Dave Dugdale Flickr CC by-SA 2.0. JoshBirt Media, Pittsburgh, PAHave the non-actor wear clothes that fit well and have no wrinkles or creases. Avoid distracting patterns, especially pinstripes, because sometimes they appear to “vibrate” on video.

Avoid wearing strongly contrasting colors and tones: for example, a black blazer with a white shirt. The black suit may lose detail and the white shirt might appear “too hot” or glowing. Possible options are to substitute the white shirt for a light blue or cream color shirt, or a charcoal grey suit instead of the black suit.

One color problem that is not as common these days due to improvements in technology is bright red, as the color sometimes tends to “bleed” on camera. In any case, it is still best to avoid having the talent wearing an outfit that has vibrant reds as the dominant colors.

If you plan on shooting against a green screen, don’t let the talent wear green — unless you want some hilarious results!

The director should know in advance where the shoot will take place, and be able to advise what colors would look best in each setting.

Make sure the talent avoids wearing shiny or reflective jewelry and glasses, as these can interact with the lighting in unexpected and unfavorable ways. Be sure to inform your production company in advance of the shoot of any talent that wears corrective lenses so that the crew is prepared to light and frame accordingly.

Makeup should also be chosen with care, as the wrong applications can appear ghostly or shiny. It is best to have a professional makeup artist on set.

3. Talk to one person

Have non-actors speak to one person to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. JoshBirt Media.When a non-actor is nervous, they tend to allow their gaze to wander. Their eyes will drift from one focus point to another as they search for the words they want to say.

The director must make a firm decision of where they want the talent to look and give the talent a marker to focus on when speaking.

It is best to enlist a non-intimidating and approachable person to be the marker. Talking to one person is a lot easier than talking to an inanimate object or a camera, or worse, a room full of people staring at you in silence.

Just the Facts

Working with non-professional actors can present its own challenges but there are benefits to using real people in your business video.

Using real-life people telling their own stories lends an air of authenticity to your marketing video. Be sure you implement techniques that will help your non-professional talent feel at ease in front of the camera and deliver their best performance possible.

  • Prepare a clear and succinct script with the message points they have to hit,
  • Make sure they dress appropriately for the camera, and finally,
  • Have them talk to a person off-camera so they feel like they are just having a normal conversation.

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