How to Make A Talking Head Video Of Subject Matter Experts

Learn about talking head videos where your SME speaks directly to the camera.

October 19, 2023

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Austin Canary


Chiara Hoogervorst


If you want your marketing videos to make an impact, create videos that put the human face front and center — these are known as talking head videos. And the best part? Talking head videos are quick and easy to produce!

Have you ever seen a face in a cloud or perhaps in a plug outlet? That’s your brain at work! The human brain is hard-wired to notice and respond to faces, even in inanimate objects.

Catching your audience’s eye with a face is just the start, though. Keeping them engaged throughout the entire video is the real task. Stick around, and we’ll show you how to create impactful talking head videos and where to share them.

What is a talking head video?

A talking head video is a video format primarily focused on a person — usually a subject matter expert (SME) — speaking directly to the camera.

In most cases, it features a close-up of the individual’s face, often framed from the chest up. This format is commonly used in customer testimonials, frequently asked question (FAQ) videos, and other marketing videos where the speaker’s message is the main highlight without the need for many visuals.

Reasons to start making talking head videos

We’ve mentioned the impact of talking head videos and how easy they are to create. Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into why adding these videos to your marketing strategy could be a smart move.

Talking head videos help you build trust and credibility with your audience

When an expert speaks directly to the audience, it feels intimate and personal, as if they’re having a one-on-one conversation. This connection can help build trust with your audience and add credibility to the content.

When you consistently feature an SME or thought leader in your videos, viewers will start to associate their expertise with your brand. That can boost your brand’s credibility and reputation.

Talking head videos can deliver your message more directly

Without too many distracting visuals or graphics, the viewer’s attention stays on the speaker’s message. This puts the expert’s insights, knowledge, and perspectives front and center.

Talking head videos help position your brand as a timely and relevant source

Since you can whip up a talking head video in no time (more on this later), it’s super easy for SMEs and thought leaders to get on camera and address product updates or shifts in the industry. Those timely responses will not only keep your audience informed but also reinforce your brand’s position as a trusted industry expert.

Get Inspired
Need to put together a video marketing strategy? We can help! Check out our guide to video marketing.

How to make a talking head video

Let’s start with some good news: You don’t need a big crew or any expensive equipment to create talking head videos. You can easily make one with just your webcam or smartphone, a solid script, and a great webcam setup.

Writing the script

You need a script because you want your SME to focus on how they’re presenting the information rather than worrying about what they’ll say next. While there’s no one-size-fits-all format for scripting — since it varies based on the video’s purpose and its core message — here’s a basic structure to kickstart your process:

  • Introduction. Provide an overview of the topic and the key points viewers can expect.
  • Body. Discuss the main points in more depth. Keeping them in the same order presented in the introduction can help prevent confusion.
  • Conclusion. Include takeaways and end with a clear call to action (CTA).
Speaking of CTAs, you can drop a customized Call to Action right into your video if you host it on Wistia.

As you set out to write your script, keep these pointers in mind:

  1. Interview the SME to get all the information you need.
  2. Keep the tone conversational.
  3. Understand what your audience knows about the topic and make sure your content answers their questions and meets their needs.
  4. Choose two or three talking points to avoid overwhelming your audience.
  5. Keep the content concise to avoid losing your audience halfway through.
Practice makes perfect! The last thing you want is for your expert to look like a deer in headlights. Coach your SME with these tips for directing non-actors by helping them practice their lines, tone, and timing so that they’ll appear comfortable and natural on camera.

Setting the scene

Whether your SME is recording in a professional studio or in their own living room, the right lighting, camera setup, and crisp audio can make a world of difference.

As you’re prepping the scene or helping your SME perfect their webcam setup, this guide may help you. It has tons of useful tips from our Senior Video Producer, Stephen Petto. Here are a few to start with:

  • Lighting: LED panel lights and ring lights are great ways to light up your SME’s face.
  • Backdrop: Try to go with a solid color backdrop. Just make sure your SME isn’t wearing the same color as the backdrop, or else they’ll really look like a talking head.
  • Audio: Webcams and laptops have built-in mics, but some are not up to par for business videos. We recommend using an external mic like the Elgato Wave 3 to improve the sound quality and minimize ambient noise (like passing cars if you’re near a window).
  • Camera: Want to amp up the look of your video? Skip the built-in webcam on your laptop and shoot your talking head video with an iPhone, DSLR camera, or one of the best webcams on the market.
Since your SME is talking directly into the camera, make sure the camera’s at eye level. That’s a great way to look good on a webcam.

Recording a talking head video

If your SME is recording themselves on their computer, they need to use a webcam recorder.

Wistia’s screen and webcam recorder is a great option. First off, it records your webcam, computer screen, or both at the same time. And it comes with a customizable teleprompter!

Once you’re done recording, your recording is automatically saved in your Wistia account. What’s more, there’s a built-in video editor that lets you toggle between the talking head feed and the screen recording — and even display both views side-by-side or picture-in-picture.

The screen and webcam recorder and the video editor are available on all Wistia plans, including the free one. So if you haven’t already, get yourself a Wistia account and give it a try!

How to record your screen and webcam with Wistia

Once your SME is comfortable and their setup is ready to go, it’s time to start rolling. Have them log in to Wistia and open up the Studio tab. Next, have them follow these steps to video record with a webcam for their talking head video. Here’s the rundown:

  1. Open the recorder.
  2. Check the camera and mic.
  3. Load the script.
  4. Hit the “Start Recording” button.

Where to share your talking head videos

When you’re ready to share your talking head video with the world, you have several options.

It all comes down to the topic of your talking head video, who your target audience is, and whether it’s evergreen or timely content.

For evergreen talking head videos, you can share them on your website, blog, social media, and email newsletters. If your video addresses trending topics or current events, consider sharing it where your audience can immediately consume it, like on social media and in email newsletters.

We’ve got some best practices for sharing your talking head videos:

  • When sharing the video on social, post it natively on the platform rather than with a link so the video will autoplay in feeds. Be sure to include a link to your website, though.
  • Don’t forget the thumbnail! Find a section of the video where your SME is really animated to help grab the attention of people scrolling.
  • Set the video up with a question or tease-worthy copy to help build anticipation.
  • Place the video high on the page, post, or newsletter so it’s the first thing people see.

Examples of great talking head videos

Want to see some talking head videos? You’ve come this far, so we’re not about to leave you hanging. We rounded up three shining examples for you to draw inspiration from:

1. Wistia’s Product Spotlight video

Talking head videos are perfect for product updates. Rather than solely highlighting the new product or feature, why not also focus on the passionate individuals behind its creation? It’s a fantastic way to add a human touch to your brand.

Last July, our product marketing team took the stage to tell the world about the new product features we rolled out that month. Take a look:

Each team member recorded their segments from the comfort of their own home and our video production team put them all together, along with some visuals.

2. Infusionsoft’s customer testimonial

Reviews are king these days — just ask every business on Google. Sometimes, the customer is the SME. Putting a customer front and center in a talking head video is a powerful and authentic way for them to share how your product solved a problem for them.

To see what we mean, check out this customer testimonial video Infusionsoft (now known as Keap) created with Milkhouse Candles. Check it out:

What makes this video particularly engaging is the fact that it has a lot of B-roll shots of the manufacturing process, the founder’s family life, and more. And there are multiple angles of the founder speaking, which makes the video more visually appealing.

3. Carta

Sometimes talking head videos can be as simple as an SME explaining a process and answering FAQs. Take this video Carta created to break down the process of selling your shares in a private company, for instance:

Even though the SME’s talking the entire time, the video’s still engaging because she’s filmed in multiple camera angles and there are easy-to-follow slides sprinkled throughout the video.

Record your talking head videos with Wistia

Now that you’re primed and ready to create engaging talking head videos, fire up Wistia’s screen and webcam recorder and start talking!

Austin Canary


Chiara Hoogervorst


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