How to Create a Perfect Testimonial Video

Nothing can be more compelling than a testimonial video. I know, you already have some text testimonials on your website, but here’s some bad news: that’s not enough.

Reading some cold and distant text is definitely not as attractive as watching and listening to your happy clients endorsing your brand. Audiovisual images bring much more trust to what they’re saying, and that will surely close more sales for your business. In fact, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

When featured as the main attraction on a website page, testimonial videos can be more impactful than anything written by your company or any product video you may have created in the past. Actually, including video content on a landing page can increase conversion rates up to 86%.

Testimonial videos are perfect for the decision stage of the buyer’s journey when potential customers are aware of their problem and want to solve it and they’re looking for information that will help them make up their minds. An effective testimonial video will push your prospects through your sales funnel.

But first, let’s clarify what we’re talking about.

What is a testimonial video?

Basically, it’s a video that will feature your happy clients talking in front of the camera about their initial pain points and how your product/service helped them sort that issue out.

It should include this information:

  • Your company’s logo.
  • Name and position of your client.
  • Your client’s pain points.
  • Why he/she chose your product.
  • How your product solved their problem.
  • Your interviewee can also give some stats about the goals they’ve achieved with your product.

After watching your testimonial video, the viewers should have tasted a heartfelt and genuine opinion of somebody with their same issue who could succeed thanks to your product. This will definitely generate brand love and trust. Let’s watch a great example to know how it should look:

Awesome, right? However, how can YOU create a perfect testimonial video? Find out how by following this step-by-step guide.

Take 1: Jot down some questions for your client.

The first step is to think about the questions you’ll ask your clients/interviewees. Send this guideline ahead of time, so they know what to expect.

To get insightful answers, consider including these questions:

  • What was the problem you wanted to solve?
  • What prompted you to consider this product?
  • Was there an obstacle that might have prevented you from buying this product? Were you reluctant? (This question can help you discover an issue you might not have considered.)
  • How has the product improved your business?
  • What features do you like most?
  • Can you name three other benefits?
  • Would you recommend the product? If so, why?
  • Is there anything else you want to add?

Take 2: Scout a filming location.

Your location should give some context to the message you want to convey with your testimonial video. First, you need to decide whether to choose an indoor or outdoor location.

Shooting indoors enables you to control the environment (light, traffic, noise, etc.). Besides, the setting will be safer and more private. Shooting special effects and creating extraordinary scenarios is also easier.

However, costs tend to run higher and shooting indoors isn’t the best option if you need a realistic set. Indoor locations could be a studio, lobby, conference room, or bar/café.

Budget-wise, to shoot outdoor may be a better choice. On the downside, you’ll have no control over the environment, and privacy, and security – think about equipment storage for instance.

Examples of outdoor locations could be the front of an office building, a sidewalk, or any special location related to the topic of your video. In this example, a sports team management app used a soccer field:

Take 3: Organize your shoot.

Once you choose a location, you need to set up your microphone, lighting, camera, and decide where to position your subject.

Choose the right microphone

Bear in mind that the environment in which you’re shooting will affect the sound.

When shooting indoors, shotgun, bi-directional (if you need to record the voices of both the interviewee and interviewer), and lavalier mics are better. As they tend to record sounds from the environment, omnidirectional, cardioid, and hypercardioid mics are not suitable in this case.

Keep in mind that all mics are susceptible to wind. If you’re shooting outdoors, you need to reduce wind and other noises by placing a windscreen made of acoustic foam rubber over the mic. It is known as the “zeppelin”, because of its shape.

Set up your lighting.

To balance the light is crucial. You don’t want your interviewee on camera with shadows on their face or a white stain on their forehead.

If you’re shooting indoors, consider a three-point lighting setup:

  • The key light, the main one, is the brightest light and the most important. It’s usually placed to one side, and high up.
  • The fill light supports the first light illuminating the parts of the frame that would be in shadows if you used only one light.
  • The hair or backlight helps separate subjects from the background by lighting their backs.

There are many more types of lights, but with this basic setup, you won’t fail.

Shooting outdoors could mean harsh bright and dark zones on your subject’s face. Use a “scrim” to minimize this effect. Soften the sunlight by attaching a diffuser to a light stand (or similar device). A white bounce board could also be used to add dimensions to the subject’s face.

Position your camera(s).

Keeping it simple has its pros: If you use only one camera, the editing process will be much easier because you’ll have only one video and audio file to worry about.

Use the traditional, medium shot for the interview. To capture emotional moments or specific/relevant quotes you should do tight close-ups. The tricky part is trying to predict when they will say these kinds of things and quickly adjust your shot. Guide yourself with the questionnaire and try to be prepared.

Place the camera at the same height as the interviewer and subject so they won’t appear to be looking up or down at the other person.

One of the main goals of a good shot is to show visual variety to keep it entertaining. Using multiple cameras is the easiest way to do that. That being said, you need to make sure that all of them use the same frame size, frame rate, aperture, ISO, and white balance. The editing process will be a little more challenging than with a single camera because continuity and visual coherence are harder to follow with two video files.

One classic setting could be camera A near the interviewer, so the subject’s eye line falls to either the left or right of the camera and camera B on the same side but a little bit further to capture a wider shot (from his/her waist up for example). This arrangement allows you to get both a close-up and a medium to wide shot, giving you proper coverage.

Be careful! You should never position them at an angle wider than 180 degrees, or you’ll ruin your video’s continuity.

camera angles for a testimonial video


Position your subjects.

Have the interviewer stand or sit to the right or left of the camera so the subject will be looking just off-camera. In fact, you should remind your client not to look straight into the camera which usually looks awful.

To position your interviewee, you should know the basic rule of photography: the rule of thirds.

the rule of thirds for a testimonial video


As you can see in this image, you should imagine your camera shot is divided into thirds, and then place the subject in the opposite third from the direction they’re looking at. That is, if the subject is looking to the left of the camera as in this image, position them in the right third of the frame so the viewer can see a portion of the area they’re looking towards.

Another important issue is your video’s background. A white wall is not the best choice. You need something behind them such as their office space. However, try to keep the image simple because otherwise, it can distract your audience. Last but not least, make sure the background is out of focus while you shoot to create depth and emphasize your subject.

Take 4: It’s time to record your interview.

This is when the real thing happens. Do everything you can to make your interviewee feel comfortable. You don’t want a stiff video! Remember you have your secret weapon: your questionnaire will help you not to lose the thread of the conversation.

Give them plenty of time to elaborate on their answers. Never interrupt them. You need clean statements from the beginning to the end of the phrase. If your voice overlaps with theirs, you’ll hate yourself at the editing stage. Trust me on this one!

Another great tip is to ask the interviewee to answer with a full phrase. For example: if you ask: “What was your pain point?” your client should answer “My main pain point was…” You will erase your question later, so you need a full answer.

As you conduct your interview, be an active listener. Only your interviewee – his pauses and nuances – will tell you when to move to the next question or ask a follow-up.

Shot some inserts and cutaways.

They will be your best friend during the editing process. An “insert” is part of a scene filmed from a different angle and/or focal length from the master shot. Different framing lets you emphasize specific aspects of the interview. A close-up is the best way to achieve this.

A “cutaway” isn’t part of the master shot. It’s the interruption of continuously filmed action by inserting something else.

Shoot some cutaways before the interview (such as the environment, building, or city where the interview will take place). During the interview, capture inserts of your subject (such as their hands moving or interesting parts of their clothes).

Check out this video to know how to use cutaways to show what your client is saying about your company:

Take 5: Edit your video.

The main rule is to edit your video so that it is faithful to what the interviewee has said. The key to effective editing is to identify the right quotes, the ones that express your brand’s message. Make it brief: between 90 to 150 seconds long.

Great editing is a real art. If it’s your first time, maybe you’ll need a professional company to create a compelling and smooth video that flows naturally. It depends on how much time and budget you have.

Anyway, here are some tips to enhance your testimonial video during editing:

  • Incorporate inserts and cutaways to make your video more dynamic.
  • Choose the best camera angles according to what your subject is saying.
  • Don’t forget to correct any lighting issues such as cloudy, bright or dark images. Apply special filters to create specific aesthetics.
  • Add overlaying text to identify the person speaking (name and title).
  • Use your brand colors for the footer, overlays, and cards, as well as at the beginning and end of the video. Include your logo!

In this video, Roku TV used text overlays to highlight some important quotes. Besides, they carefully thought about the backgrounds so that everything is coherent but not humdrum. Take a look, also, at how they used different shot sizes for each client to make the final video visually dynamic.

Wrapping up

A testimonial video will help you build up your brand’s trust and close sales for your business.

Follow your questionnaire, but also maintain a candid conversation. Remember that the main goal for your video is to look natural and authentic.

It seems like a given, but remember to ask about your client’s pain points and how your product has improved that initial situation.

Set up your lights, cameras, and subjects following the basic rules.

In the editing stage, insert some context images, cutaways, and inserts to improve your video’s dynamic look.

A stellar testimonial video will project the right image for your business and encourage prospects to choose you among other competitors. Was that your experience? Have you already shot a testimonial video? Do you have any other tips to share with us?

For more marketing video tips, be sure to check out our article about The Secrets Behind Creating Great Marketing Videos.

How to Create a Perfect Testimonial Video (1)

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