Your choice of video spokesperson is important because they will be representing your product/service and your fundamental business values. It is important to choose presenters who are appropriate to your audience; i.e. someone who your audience can connect with. The selection of an individual video spokesperson isn’t where the work ends however. Your presenter needs to be directed and edited in a way that is suitable for the material in your video, and more importantly the message you are aiming to convey.
I want to highlight the first point in this post as it is important to remember – tweet it and you will be committed to quality 😉
Choice of video spokesperson is important. They will be representing your product/service and YOUR business values: http://t.co/yMjn4rCS
— Neil Davidson (@WEBPRESENTER) September 10, 2012
Video Spokesperson Shot types
Different shot types convey specific types of messages to the viewer. The general rule is that you increase the level of engagement the closer you get to the subject – in this case the web presenter. This engagement can be positive or negative.
Full body (long shot)
This shot sees the video spokesperson at more of a distance. It is a less intimate shot and can be used for more general information. It is a good shot when you are trying to place the presenter in some sort of context or make an introduction e.g. to a time or a place as it spreads emphasis across the screen and the audience will be aware of the background/foreground also.
Half body (medium shot)
A half body shot is what you might see on the news on TV. It is useful for conveying information. It is close enough for the focus to be on the video spokesperson. It is slightly more intimate than the full body shot but doesn’t draw the audience in as much as a close up.
Face shot (close up)
Close up shots are by their nature much more intimate. They make the viewer feel closer to the presenter and these shots can be used when the spokesperson is saying something important, that you really want the viewer to take notice of. The flip side is that this level of intimacy can be used to provoke other less ‘positive’ emotions – for example. A quick cut to a close up of a face might be quite intimidating – depending on the face.
It is up to you to judge how to use these techniques. The important thing is that you decide what emotion you want to evoke in your audience and then draw on these different ideas to achieve that goal using a video spokesperson that fits your business appropriately.
Switching between shot types
There are no hard and fast rules around the etiquette of switching between shot types when using a website spokesperson. Again, you need to look at what you are trying to achieve and then select the appropriate cuts between shots to create that impact. For example, You might want to emphasise that a subject is isolated and so a cut from a close up of their face to a very long shot of them, alone and surrounded by nothing would emphasise this point.
Motion and video spokespersons
The zoom button is the most overused button on a camera. It isn’t advisable to zoom in and out on your presenter because it is uncomfortable for the viewer to watch. A slow zoom towards may be appropriate if the script is becoming more serious for example.
Moving shots aren’t easy to capture. Unless you have a dolly, track and someone who knows how to use them it is not advisable to attempt moving shots when recording presenter footage.
Speed of cuts
The speed that you cut your website spokesperson at in your edit will affect how your viewer experiences your video. Without wanting to generalise too much, younger audiences are more used to faster paced cutting. The rise in digital editing technology has changed the way we cut altogether. Older audiences are more comfortable with slower paced cutting that isn’t afraid to let people speak. Not only should you consider your audience when establishing the pace at which your video spokesperson is cut, you also need to think about the message you are trying to get across and what pace best fits it.
Using Camera Angles
Using multiple cameras will mean you can catch your web presenter from different angles. This will add an extra dimension and some depth to your video – making it slightly more interesting for your viewer. In fact, you don’t really need multiple cameras – if you capture extra shots from different angles (e.g. from behind your presenter when they are in the same position as your front shots) you will be able to make it look like you had two cameras.
Characteristics of your video spokesperson
The key information your presenter will be putting across will be in the audio you record – i.e. in what they say (your script). Secondary info will be in your graphics. Then there is the subliminal information/messages that the audience picks up visually. These messages are transmitted by what they see on the screen and the main contributor to this is your presenter – who they are, how old they are and what they are wearing.
Gender of website spokesperson
Depending on your product or service, you will need to make a choice about the gender of your presenter. It may be that a combination of the two is most appropriate for your goals. It is easy to stereotype when it comes to making this choice but remember that it really does depend on the individual presenter e.g. you might feel that only a male presenter can represent a football related product when actually, the right female could project a far more persuasive message in your video.
Age of video spokesperson
Similar to gender, age is another demographic feature you need to consider when selecting a spokesperson or presenter. Picking someone too young for an older audience could makes viewers feel that your video isn’t speaking to them. Age is a characteristic that we all notice and it does affect how we relate to people – in particular, it gives us a sense of whether or not the other person understands what our experience has been and what our interests are.
Other demographic factors to consider
The accent of your presenter may be really important to get right. Accent is fundamental, people do not like to admit it but the subtleties in communication carry strong subliminal messages, and using a presenter with the wrong accent could disenfranchise a large proportion of your audience very quickly. Race or ethnicity is another similar point to consider. If you are trying to represent a diversity of people, try not to select a presenter who only represents the majority or a privileged group e.g. white middle class males!
Here is a blog post all about choosing the right web presenter.
Get your wardrobe right
What your presenter wears will have an affect on the split second judgements your viewers will make of you. You need to think about how you want your viewers to perceive your business. Do you want them to think you are glamorous, or do you want them to think you are extremely serious? Don’t underestimate the power of fashion to influence the message you are sending out!
These pointers are to help you select the most appropriate presenter/spokesperson for your video goals and to encourage you to consider how you can direct and edit your footage in a way that will better help you articulate your message for your audience. They are all very small considerations that can really make a difference to the quality of your video. Good luck putting them into practice.
Take a look at our web presenter website to see a few of our portfolio of web presenters and when you watch them think about which person would be most suitable for your business. Let us know in the comments who you thinks suit your business and why.