Five Ways to Liven Up a Talking Heads Video

As a video production company, we get lots of enquiries from potential clients asking us to produce a video for them but beyond ‘a video’ many don’t really know what to ask for or indeed, what to expect.  The vast majority of these clients though reach for a fairly traditional ‘talking heads’ video, where members of the company talk about the business, products and services which is usually sandwiched between general footage of the business premises.

Our job is to help advise on whether that is the best option for a video or whether there is another alternative which will be more effective, such as an animated explainer video for example.  For those occasions where it is entirely relevant to have a traditional corporate promo video, this blog identifies some ways that you can liven it up so it stands out from your competitor’s videos and also does more to engage with your viewers.

01 – Use multiple angles

 multiple angles

This is a great way to vary the styling of the video and keep people interested as well as develop a deeper affinity with the viewer.  This involves shooting the subject delivering the soundbite from different angles, positions and with differing levels of crop or zoom.  This means that for every soundbite, the subject can be shown using a variety of ways such as

  • Wide Shot – where you can see the body and the environment around them
  • Two Shot – where two subjects are framed
  • Mid Shot – where you frame the subject from the chest upwards
  • Close Up – cropping in to get a close out of the face
  • Mid Close Up – where the subject is partially outside of the frame
  • Extreme Close Up – where the focus is very tight in on something specific, like moving lips
  • Low Angle – when the camera shoots ‘upwards’
  • High Angle – when the camera shoots ‘downwards’

Another great action to include in this is a slider shot, where there is a very smooth and gradual motion to the left or right, forward or backwards, using a piece of kit called a slider.

02 – Apply on-screen graphics

on-screen graphics

This can be very powerful to support the delivery of specific messages that you want to reinforce.  Examples of this include:

These can be as complex or simple as the brand or budget needs them to be but can make all the difference in viewer engagement and understanding.

03 – Apply rotoscoping


We wrote a blog on rotoscoping a while back which you can access here for all the technical information, however in short rotoscoping is the process by which you ‘trace out’ the person in the foreground, add some graphics and then ‘put the person back’.  This allows you to have real depth to the production and allow the presenter to interact with their surroundings.  It gives really high production values that make your video stand out from competitors, enables you to add graphical information to enhance understanding and means you can get more content in without making the video longer.

04 – Use a green screen

green screen

If the premises where you are based are not visually striking or you want to create a canvas on which to deliver some graphical information without it feeling cluttered, then green-screen is for you.

The process of green screen shooting is quite involved so shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of time and budget required, but delivers an amazing output.  The rig needs to be set up with the green screen and lighting – both in front and behind – audio and cameras.  Then the filming takes place.  Once completed, the colour of the backdrop (usually green but could be blue) is ‘keyed out’, which means all of the shades of that colour are removed to leave you with just the subject and a blank canvas.  Now you can start to add any footage or graphics on this canvas, which sit seamlessly behind the subject.  This means that you can actually have the subject ‘sat’ anywhere in the world – or outer space for that matter!  You can also create text and graphics that support the script and really make the production a visual feast for your customers – something not lost on them as they appreciate your creativity and investment in high-quality video production.

05 – Add cutaways 


Watching a video of a single person sat talking to you for a long period of time can quickly switch viewers off.  To help avoid this make sure that as part of the location shoot there is enough time to gather cutaway footage of the premises, people, product or the subject smiling, laughing or doing their work.  If there isn’t a huge scope to gather cutaway footage for the video production there are ways around this, such as using stock footage that is purchased.  Having relevant footage alongside the soundbites being delivered are really crucial to add visual variety and help to illustrate the points being made.

The Benefits

A live action video is often the best way to build affinity with your customers, allowing them to see the faces of people that work there delivering honest messages and soundbites on the products and services supplied.  Five years ago when video wasn’t so prevalent it would have been fine to deliver a fairly standard talking heads video which your client base would have watched from beginning to end, but things have changed.  There is a huge amount of video content available to us and it is very much becoming the most popular way to deliver marketing messages, and as such you need to think differently about how you create your video production and how it will stand out.

This doesn’t mean to say you should apply these effects for the sake of it – far from it – they have to serve a purpose.  Using these approaches means that your video looks amazing, stands out from competitors, allows you to deliver more information in a more dynamic way in less time.  It may be much better to stretch the budget a little to get a lot of return, rather than do something basic which delivers results equally as basic.

Square Daisy is a full production agency that is able to conceive, plan and deliver all of the elements listed above so talk to us about your next video production and allow us to liven it up for you.


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