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Talking head interviews are a key component to testimonial, documentary, and corporate videos. A story is gathered through questions asked to employees or customers. Then through video editing, the story is cut up and crafted into a concise story or message.
The key to a successful interview video is a natural conversation with the subject. Keeping the setup small, and the space comfortable creates an inviting environment for the subject. Anyone who doesn’t need to be in the room should step out to avoid being a distraction. When interviewing the subject, let them do most of the talking, and only ask questions to guide the interview.
Make sure to avoid close-ended questions—close-ended questions typically generate “yes” or “no” as an answer. Focus on questions that have a “why” or “how” in them, these are generally open-ended questions. By doing this, you’ll get meaningful responses. This is key to creating a powerful story.
Knowing what questions to start with can be difficult. To make it easy, we put together a list of some of the questions we ask when filming testimonial and corporate videos.
Recruitment & Corporate Questions
With recruitment and corporate videos, try to get the subject to open up about their passion for the field. Start the interview with surface-level questions about the job, and then ask more in-depth questions as the interview progresses.
- What is your title and the responsibilities of your job?
- Can you describe the day-to-day here?
- Why did you choose to go into the [healthcare, manufacturing, customer service, etc.] field?
- What would tell a friend if they were considering working here?
- Can you tell me about a time where a manager or coworker went above and beyond for you?
- At the end of the day, what puts a smile on your face?
- What is a benefit of working here that not many people know about?
- What is your “why”?
- What have you learned at your job... and how have you grown as a person?
- Any funny moments or stories with co-workers that you could share?
Product Testimonial Questions
Testimonial videos about products or services should focus on how a problem was solved. Ask questions about the time and cost savings of the product or service.
- Can you tell me a bit about yourself... and what you or your company does?
- Can you describe the product you have been using?
- What problems was your business having before using the product?
- How has the product been a solution to your problem?
- How has the product saved your business time or money?
- Why did you choose the product over others?
- How has the product removed stress or frustration in your work?
- Would you recommend to someone looking for a similar product?
Patient Testimonial Questions
Patient story videos can be very powerful if done correctly. The key to a successful patient story is focusing on the patient. Ask questions about their passions and interests, family, and what brings them joy. Usually they will open up about how a certain medical problem was getting in the way of their life.
- Can you tell me about yourself... what is your story?
- Any hobbies or activities you enjoy?
- How long have you been dealing with [medical problem]?
- How did [medical problem] get in the way of your life?
- Did you think this is the new ‘normal’ for you?
- Can you walk me through the treatment process from start to finish?
- Did you have any doubts about the treatment before starting?
- How are you feeling now?
- Can you describe the care you received from the staff?
- Are you back to your hobbies now?
- What are you looking forward to?
- If someone you know is experiencing a similar problem, what would you tell them?
Best Practices for Filming Someone
The most important aspect of filming someone is listening. Listen to what they say, and ask questions based on their responses. Try to dive deep into the “why” or “how” of their thoughts. We recommend that you do not print out the questions, but just take note of your list mentally. It should be a conversation that flows naturally. If you do need to reference an outline, try to minimize how many times you refer to it.
We always let people know that there is no wrong answer to the questions. Let them know that they will see the video prior to it being used. People are often nervous, and we find that this eases some of their nerves.
End the interview asking them if they have anything else they would like to say. Also, keep the camera rolling for a minute or two after. Sometimes the subject will continue talking after the interview is finished. This is not uncommon as the interviewee is more comfortable at the end.
Often times, the best moments will come from the very end of the interview!
Take a look at a case study of testimionals we produced for LeafGuard.
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