Here’s a nice article titled “how to shoot a video testimonial.” (Ken McCarthy, SystemVideoBlog.com). Great tips about getting a subject comfortable and asking questions that will prompt positive comments.
This article reminded me that making “amateur video shorts” violates almost everything I ever learned working at PBS and doing my own small productions. I’ve never had a storyboard, I’m lucky if I have an outline when I start, I almost never prepare my victims and I think I’ve used a tri-pod for maybe 2 of my videos. One of the reasons I don’t like to prepare the actors is that they overthink their part. It comes off as canned.
If you looked at the deleted footage between my videos you’d hear me screaming, “common… just say this… we’re rolling… the camera’s on… it will take two seconds.” You’ll also hear a lot of “okay- one more time a lot louder” or “okay now say it like you’re not acting… you really feel that way.” For some reason it’s almost always the third take that’s the keeper.
On a some of the PBS segments I worked on I spent more time setting up the lighting than I do conceiving, shooting, editing and submitting my shorts. And I’ll let you guess which gets more views.