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How to do a Video Testimonial in 2021

December 1, 2020 | Video Testimonials on Websites

Online video is becoming a big part of companies’ marketing plans in 2021. Therefore, testimonial videos will need to become a standard part of your marketing toolkit.

  • You may be a marketer,
  • A member of the corporate leadership team
  • Or, a small business owner.

Online video is going to be an important part of your marketing future, too.

What Type of Online Video is Easiest for Small Businesses?

Video testimonials of current customers may not be the easiest online videos for many small business owners – specifically the interview-style testimonial where two people are in the frame.

Other video options available to a small business owner that do not involve customer interaction include the following:

  • Demonstration of service/product
  • A peek behind the curtains
  • A day in the life…
  • Meet the team
  • Event/celebration/birthday
  • How to…

These are just some on the many options for online video but customer video testimonials offer one HUGE advantage that the rest of these online video options do not offer – SOCIAL PROOF.

Video testimonials work as social proof – a 3rd party endorsement of your business or service.

Remember, if you say it, it’s marketing; if your customer says it, it’s social proof.

If you’re just getting started customer interviews, here is a resource that can really speed up your learning curve:

  1. 10 Customer Interview Techniques That Are AWESOME!

If you’ve read this far, we’ll assume that you’re interested in interview-style customer testimonial videos.

So, here are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) our team here at the WOW Promoter get asked on our blog and our Facebook page about how to do a video testimonial.

  1. Should I write out questions beforehand?
  2. Where should I shoot the video?
  3. Should I use natural, room lighting or artificial lighting?
  4. Should I get an external microphone?
  5. How to set-up the ‘long-sided interview’
  6. Where does the interviewer sit?
  7. Should I use one or two cameras?

Should I write out questions before hand?

Yes, even the experts have some written notes.

Here’s an example of a high-level celebrity interview where Dr. Miami interviews Kodak Black -you can see Dr. Miami starts the interview with written notes and when the conversation gets going, he throws his notes away.

Written notes or questions help in another way – we often get asked the question, “What do I say in a video interview or a video testimonial?” With questions written down before the video starts, both the interviewer and the interviewee can agree on the questions.

Who is in the video?

Context is key – you’ll hear many experts say “Don’t script out the video testimonial”. These experts tend to be professional videographers, like the pros at YumYumVideos, who build video testimonials.

Also, the interviewee tends to be alone in the video frame.

Our customers are physicians, small business owners (SBO) and corporate teams who work directly with customers.

Both the SBO and the customer are in the video together – here is Dr. Miami interviewing his patient, Kodak Black:

So, in that sense, we agree with the professionals – don’t script the entire interview word-for-word – but you definitely SHOULD agree on and write down questions with your interviewee ahead of time.

Once the initial questions have been asked, it will be up to the skill and emotional intelligence of the interviewer to gauge the pace and rhythm of the interview.

Perhaps you will decide to throw away your page of written questions like Dr. Miami did at 3:52.

Where should I shoot the video?

Small business owners are constrained by the size of their offices – try to take the video in your own space:

  • It’s less expensive than renting space.
  • You control the space.
  • Transport, set-up and breakdown is simpler.
  • You can shoot more videos, more quickly.

Ideally, you are gathering videos in-the-moment as your customers are coming-and-going. You don’t want to interrupt the productivity of your team or your office. In order to make that happen, you need a location integrated into the workflow. A video kiosk will help, too.

The location should be close to where exchanges take place – a checkout counter, exam room or office.

Try to provide some level of intimacy for the customer interview. Privacy is not necessary. Two people talking together does not require privacy; they simply need a space where they can both connect. That connection is what we want to capture on video.

Don’t worry about ambient noise in your space; we’ll deal with ambient noise when we discuss external microphones.

Should I use natural, room lighting or artificial lighting?

  • If you are outdoors in the daytime there is no need for additional lights.
  • If you are indoors in the daytime and can face a large window you may not need additional lights.
  • If you are indoors at night or with room lighting, in most cases, you will need additional lights.

We use a very simple lighting system: we have a 10″ ring light facing the camera (pros call this the ‘key light’) with one tripod light behind the subject as a backlight (we use the Viltrox LED).

We probably spent $100 on lights – could we have spent more? Sure. Did we need to spend more? We would argue that, no, we did not.

video lighting diagram with key light and back light
YouTuber video lighting diagram with key light and back light

Again, context is key – we built and marketed the app for DIY small business owners and doctors to create testimonial videos by interviewing their customers. By definition, we are the alternative to professional videographers!

We did consult many lighting experts – including professional videographers!

Several of them did recommend additional lighting. However, we made the executive decision based on dozens of tests, that the 2-light system described above worked fine.

Should I get an external microphone?

Yes, you will need an external microphone.

Phone, tablet and laptop microphones are ‘omni-directional’ microphones and they pick up too much ambient noise.

Why Do I Need an External Microphone?

Again, we need some context: Why is a simple phone or tablet camera fine for business video but the built-in microphones are not fine?

First, there’s a lot more data in audio, especially the human voice, than in most photos. Second, your listeners’ brain is working hard to process all that data.

Most video is produced at 30 to 60 frames per second (fps) – even High Definition (HD) and 4k television is only filmed at 60fps.

Each frame is a still image; displaying frames in quick succession creates the illusion of motion or animation. The more frames per second, the smoother the motion appears.

In this sense, the basic concept behind video has not changed much in 100 years – even as the technology has advanced.

Check out this early device for simulating moving (motion) pictures:

The human voice, on the other hand, can be perceived between 85 hertz all the way up to 4,000 hertz. A ‘hertz’ is an engineering term for ‘cycles per second’. Since sound is a wave, your ear must process almost 100 times as much information as your eye does in processing a visual image.

The problem is, with virtual communications, engineers restricted the ‘bandwidth’ they used to transmit human voice over the old telephone wires. The restricted phone protocols only carry human voice in the 85-to-255 hertz range. The engineers kept those old protocols when phone lines were upgraded to internet and wireless.

Your audience may be trying to listen to your audio with much less than 25% of the available data they expect from human voice on video – a frustrating experience.

Low-quality video does not produce the same frustrating user experience – witness the popularity of funny, low-quality YouTube videos – because your listeners’ brain doesn’t have to work hard to understand the data in a grainy video.

We use a simple $25 wired lavalier microphone for video presentations. For podcasts or off-camera voice overlays, we’ll use a higher end microphone – it does make a difference. Your audience will thank you for making the investment.

How to set-up the ‘long-sided interview’

The ‘long-sided interview’ is the gold standard interview format.

Think of a camera viewscreen as the image below. Divide your viewscreen into thirds and position your subject all the way to one side – usually the left (but, in this image the subject is positioned on the right).

The subject, or interviewee, should be looking towards the long side of the video frame.

long-sided interview diagram
A 2-light, single camera long-sided interview diagram

According to the experts on the StillMotion blog, the long-sided interview set-up is aesthetically pleasing to the viewer:

A long sided interview generally feels pleasing to the viewer’s eye.


Having the interview subject look towards the long side creates a feeling of balance and comfort for the viewer.

Speaking towards the long side of the frame also allows for thoughts and ideas to be communicated in a way which does not block their transmission to the interviewer, and thus the viewer. blog

The long-sided interview is good for a number of reasons:

  • the long-sided interview is probably the most common interview set-up.
  • the long-sided interview is ‘cinematic’ because is creates ‘distance’ from the subject and allows them to tell their story, like in a movie.
  • Interviewees prefer the long-sided interview because they can talk to the interviewer.

Is the long-sided interview the only set-up option?

No, there are several varieties of interview set-up but some of these may involve professional cinematographers.

Here are 10 interview angles you can use if you want to get creative.

Where does the interviewer sit?

We recommend the interviewer sit on-camera.

The interviewer needs to be in the video frame. This is because, for online video promoting small businesses, the point of the video is often to ‘sell’ the person: the small business owner or the doctor or even a key employee.

Many of these videos will be posted on social media. So, make it social. Get two people in the frame, together.

In many of the long-sided interview examples, the interviewer is seated off-camera. This is not recommended.

Review the Proximity Rule to understand why two, or more, people together in online video can be SO valuable for online video on social media.

Should I use one or two cameras?

Full disclosure, the WOW Promoter makes and markets a video testimonial app (free app download and account setup from the Google Play store or the Apple App store) so we always use just one phone or tablet camera.

You may want to use two cameras – here are the pros and cons of each approach.

Use one camera to video a customer interview

We list the ‘pros’ for the one-versus-two camera question. One camera is…

  • Simpler and easier to set-up
  • Less intimidating, confusing for the customer
  • Lighting is simpler
  • Fewer people involved
  • Less editing in post-production

Use two cameras to video a customer interview

  • Different camera angles create different perspectives for the viewer.
  • ‘Jump cuts’ create interesting video effects.
  • A second camera gives you a backup in case the first audio or video fails.

Use a kiosk to record a customer interview

Here’s a third option, the video testimonial kiosk from WOW Promoter Inc. The kiosk sits at the front desk or checkout counter. The app is installed on a tablet and placed within the kiosk.

desktop video testimonial kiosk for patient use
Desktop video testimonial kiosk for patient use at the point-of-sale or checkout counter

Get the free app – save time and $$

If you are an influencer who deals face-to-face with people, like a dentist or a real estate agent, you can become an online influencer using short, testimonial videos on popular social platforms.

We can show you how.

Do you like all the hosting and posting?

All the hashtags, hypertext links and tech-y stuff?

If not, just let the WOW Promoter app do it for you – for free!

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