So, what makes a great video testimonial?

If you're a successful business owner, chances are you might often receive positive feedback from your customers. This feedback might come to you in the form of a email saying 'Thanks for the great work!', a favorable review online or maybe just a genuine 'Thank you!' in person with a strong handshake.

Feedback from your happy customers is incredibly valuable to your business because it will help your future prospects to make the decision to hire/buy from you. But this feedback isn't going to do anything sitting in your inbox. You could copy and paste the feedback onto your website or social media, but that is boring and besides, anyone could write anything and there isn't much sincerity.

So, what is the most effective way to take your positive customer feedback and put it in front of your future prospects? Why, a video testimonial of course! 

So, what makes a great video testimonial?

1. Quality Video Production

The video quality of your video testimonial needs to reflect the high quality products and services that you offer. Your video footage needs to be properly exposed, in focus and framed correctly.

Even more important than the vision is the audio. Professional mics and recording equipment is highly recommended. Ideally, a lapel mic should be used with attention given to surrounding factors such traffic, barking dogs, planes etc. When shooting outdoors be weary of wind noise on the mic.

NameResolutionKnown as
8K7680 x 4320
C4K4096 x 21604K, "Cinema 4K"
UHD3840 x 21604K, UltraHD
2K2048 × 1080
1080p1920 x 1080Full HD
720p1280 x 720HD

When it comes to video, the best practice is to shoot as high quality as possible. UltraHD (also known as 4K and UHD) is becoming much more commonplace for video production.

The benefit of shooting in such a high resolution is a much higher quality output when your video is down converted to 1080p (Full HD).

Shooting in 4K and 8K future proofs your production meaning your footage will still look fantastic if you choose to re-edit your production in coming years.

2. Quality Video Equipment

I know you can shoot video on your phone, but do you have control over your exposure, aperture and shutter speed?

How about your audio - can you plug a quality microphone into your phone? Does it stay in focus or continuously go in and out of focus?

Maybe, maybe not.

In my humble opinion, there is no substitute for quality video equipment.

I highly recommend the following:

  • DSLR cameras
  • A wide angle lens + portrait lens
  • Professional audio with lapel mic
  • Tripod / Slider / Steadicam / Stabilizer
  • Lighting

This is entry level, quality video equipment. Anyone with a production kit like this has all the tools required to produce a high quality video testimonial.

It’s a great idea to have the talent talk about the problem they had and how your product/service has helped and provided them with a solution to their problem.

3. A genuine story about experience

A good story makes a great video.

A video testimonial gives your customers a chance to tell their story about their experience with your business. Stories makes things personal and more interesting, so its important to let your talent speak openly and freely.

In my Westbuilt Homes video testimonial series (below), I put myself in the position of a potential home buyer. I asked as many questions as I could think regarding relocatable homes.

  • How long did it take to build?
  • How was your home delivered?
  • What do you like best about your new home? 

As a video producer, I really enjoy interviewing people. I find it very satisfying to capture a genuine, relaxed conversation on camera. There are times when your talent will be particularly nervous and its such a rewarding feeling when you have your subject to manage their nerves and deliver a great testimonial.

There are also times when your talent will be naturally easy going and well spoken, just like Nikki in her video testimonial below.

    It's not easy to talk in front of a camera and its something that the majority of your customers will not have done before. It is therefore the video producer's role to ensure the talent is comfortable and relaxed.

    I shoot a lot of video testimonials as a one-man-band. I find that keeping things low key and relaxed helps a lot. General chit chat about a variety of topics whilst you're setting up the camera helps to break the ice.

    One of my first questions to Debby in the following video testimonial, was why choose a relocatable home? The conversation continued, naturally, from there.

    Share a few laughs and be reassuring that there really is no need to have to get everything perfect in one take.

    Once I have the camera in position and everything looks great, I'll hit record and continue the conversation. I say conversation because that's what it should be. I have a list of questions and topics that I want to cover, and so I direct the conversation accordingly.

    The next video testimonial features author and public speaker, Neil Jenman and it was filmed in Baralaba, a small town in central Queensland. I had never been to Baralaba before. It was a 7.5 hour drive, one way from Brisbane, so I was genuinely interested to learn about the area and why someone might choose to live there. My first question to Neil was, why Baralaba?

    As you can see, the best results are achieved when you have a genuine conversation, just as you would in 'real life'. Be mindful of how your talent answers and responds however to direct questions.

    The audio of your question being asked will not be included in the final video, so you need to listen to the answers being given and determine whether they will work as stand alone answers. If not, there is no harm in asking the talent to say something again as a statement.

    4. Shoot heaps of supporting footage

    The more supporting footage you can shoot, the better. Also known as B-roll or cutaways, supporting footage will help to re-enforce the dialogue and keeps things visually interesting.

    Having lots of relevant supporting footage means you can also make substantial cuts to the interview (i.e. remove pauses, um's and ah's, camera settings adjustments, distractions, hiccups etc). A layer of supporting footage will enable you to cover over these cuts and ensure your story is relevant and straight to the point.

    Supporting footage might include:

    • the talent performing certain tasks
    • shots of the product or service being used
    • supplied images / photographs (before / after comparisons)
    • aerial video
    • general video showing location

    5. Keep it short and simple

    Remember the point of a video testimonial is to help your potential customers make a decision. Your interview might last for 20 minutes, but the challenge for your video editor is to cut that down to somewhere around the 90 second mark.

    60 seconds is the sweet spot, give or take here and there depending on the story. Sometimes you can be so caught up in the story and visuals of a video that 2 minutes might seem like 20 seconds, other times however, 2 minutes can be like 2 hours.

    A competent video editor will take the interview and cut the fat, so to speak. Once the dialogue has been trimmed and refined, the process of layering supporting footage can begin. 

    Add a suitable soundtrack, master the audio, finalize the transitions, colour correct and grade, add intro/outro branding animations and call to actions etc.

    There is quite a few things to take care of during the post production (editing) phase but this is where everything comes together.

    Its important to take the time to get it right. Because when its done right, your video testimonial will be working online for you around the clock, helping to convert your prospects to paying customers.