Here are seven tips I picked up, mostly through trial and error, as well as talking to photographers and videographers.
Testimonials are such an important part of anyone's marketing kit that leaving them out of your marketing process is unconscionably lazy. Video testimonials from actual customers are much more powerful than audio testimonials, which are much more powerful than written testimonials.
With that in mind, consider the following:
1) Control your environment- a quiet office works much better than a Starbucks/Panera. Invariably, while you are trying to record, there will be a moody toddler, rowdy kids and “that guy” with no volume control.
- Sitting next to you.
- Right after you start shooting.
Therefore. whenever possible, try to record the testimonials in an office or private home.
2) Ambient light works best- Overhead lighting can make people look creepy- useful if you do special effects makeup, not so useful otherwise. I’ll often bring a single table lamp to even out the lighting.
3) Give your subject your questions ahead of time- and ask them in a conversational manner. Remind them that they can always start over if they count to 3, with a silent 3.
4) Remind your testimonial giver that everything can and will be cut- and that they can approve the final product. This helps put your subject at ease, which will help you get a better final result.
5) Pause at least 5 seconds after the subject stops talking after answering a question. Often the BEST testimonial pieces come AFTER this initial pause and thought. If you don’t pause, you don’t get that piece of testimonial. (and pause 5 seconds before you start recording)
6) You don’t need a fancy video setup- actually, that can make people feel uncomfortable, and act un-natural. Un-natural is very much something you don’t want! An I-Phone or decent Android works great, and I'd recommend one at this point over most single purpose video recorders.
7) A steady hand helps. If you are like me and are both uncoordinated and over-caffeinated at any given point in the day, here’s how to hold your camera steadier:
- Remove any protective, easily removable cover- the added weight and unstableness will only make it harder to hold steady
- Hold your phone with your dominant hand (usually your right)
- Hold your wrist with your ‘off’ hand.
- Brace your forearm against a table, counter or wall.
Or consider buying and repurposing a car GPS mount.
Have more questions about how to better gather testimonials?
Give our team at Leading Results a shout, we would love to hear how awesome your clients think you are!
For more tips on shooting great testimonials, see our blog post on video tips