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Video Testimonials

There is no better way of building confidence in prospects, than with video testimonials. An obviously sincere individual, not an actor, perhaps showing off what they got (a new smile, a great floor, whatever you sell), is a real convincer. Almost everyone knows it isn’t faked. And the enthusiasm for you and what you do is more easily communicated by video than any other way.

In these days of YouTube, almost everyone is used to watching videos on-line. Putting them on your website is easy. And doing the videoing yourself isn’t hard.

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Equipment Needed

1. A video camera. This can’t be a super-cheap model but it doesn’t have to be pricey either, a $400-600 camera will probably do fine. It does need a couple of features: It has to be able to output a video in digital format (preferably Flash video) to a computer (any modern camera should be able to do this).? And you have to be able to plug an external microphone into it.

2. An external microphone. This needs to be the kind that clips to someone’s shirt or jacket, and with a long enough cord (minimum 6-10 feet).

3. A tripod. This is very important as no one likes to watch a shaky image.

4. Lights. A minimum of two lights, three ideal, so that the person being interviewed can be well lit. These do not need to be expensive but they need to be specifically lights designed for photography.

Daylight or typical office lighting will not work either because of excessive shadows or because of bad color spectrum (fluorescent lights make people’s skin look off).

5. A clean background or Green screen. The step can help polish the end result, but does complicate the process. Teh green screen must be properly lit to effective remove it in post production. The person needs to be sitting in front of a uniform, neutral background that can be removed out of the video with a video editing program. The standard, easy way to do this is with a green background. It is literally a one-button job then for an editor to remove the background and put whatever is wanted in its place.? Green screen is available as fabric or paper which can be easily stored.

Depending on your business, the background could be a part of your store or location. For example, if you are an restaurant, find a nice table that reflects the mood of your establishment.

These last three items are easily and inexpensively available online in kits. We bought our equipment from www.photography-lighting.com, all items combined will cost probably $400 or less.

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Setup

The green screen hung on a wall in a room that does not have bright daylight shining into it. The lighting is set up like the diagram to the right, this is called a three-point lighting configuration.

The person sits in a chair at least 2 feet in front of the green screen, with the microphone clipped at top of their shirt or close to it, and the cord running down inside their shirt so not visible on camera. The lighting is set up on either side and slightly to the front and so that there are no serious shadows on the person or which make them look funny. This is not hard to arrange.

The camera is at a distance where the person’s whole head and top part of their body (down to bottom of their shoulders) is visible in the viewfinder, and at the same height as the person’s face.

The person conducting the interview sits in a chair to one side of the camera so the person being interviewed is actually looking a bit to the side not straight at the camera.

The interviewer has a prepared list of questions (see below) and a pen to mark when a question has been answered and also to make notes on any particularly good answers.

Conducting the Interview

Start the camera.

If the person is nervous, tell them to pretend the camera isn’t there and just talk to the interviewer. You can just chat with them for a bit.

The interviewer asks the person each of the questions and then just lets the person answer, however long. If the answer is very brief you can ask them something like “Is there anything else you would care to say about that?”

You continue until all the questions have been asked or answered.

Editing / Processing

Download the video to your computer and provide the video to whomever is doing the editing along with notes on any particularly good answers.

The editor needs to know how long a video you want usually no more than 1 to 2 minutes. He will then edit out all the questions, and reduce it down to the best quotes, provide title cards (at start and end of the video, plus sometimes the questions are put on the screen in writing ahead of the answers), a suitable background to replace the green screen, plus transitions between cuts (jumps from one part of the recording to another).

It should be exported as .mp4 so we can set it up to be viewed on the most browsers including iPads and iPhones.

Questions

Here are some sample questions:

1.? How has it been working with {your company name}?

2. How has it been different from previous {type of company you are} you’ve worked with?

3. What do you like best about {your company name}?

4. Are there any staff who especially stand out in your mind?

5. What would you tell people who ask you about {your company name}?

6. If someone asked you for a referral, would you recommend {your company name}? Why??

These can be somewhat repetitive. Often the person will start to get enthusiastic at some point and that will give the most usable video excerpts.

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