Human beings are programmed to see and respond to faces.
Facial recognition is a deep-routed survival technique that we know even as babies. (Fun fact, babies will smile at any face to improve their chances of getting noticed, nurtured, and cared for.)
It explains why we see faces in everything, even plug points!
Something in our brains clicks when we see a face. That’s why talking-head videos — where a presenter speaks into the camera — are so impactful.
But once we’ve clicked, do we stay hooked and soak up the words? Or do we look away?
Capturing attention is easy. Keeping it is a different ball game. Watch the following best talking-head video examples, and we’ll help you:
- Understand what makes them so good
- Use them as inspiration for your training, how-to, or even marketing videos
Why use a talking head in your videos
Using a talking head in your videos is the best way to:
✔️ Build a connection: A face your audience identifies with can create a personal connection, build trust and credibility, and improve information retention.
✔️ Improve comprehension: Facial expressions and body language reinforce the message and make a more impactful video.
✔️ Increase engagement: A talking head keeps your audience engaged and interested in the video since people are likelier to pay attention when seeing a face.
6 best talking-head video examples
All these video examples excel at:
- Production quality: Good lighting can make the presenter even more charismatic, while quality sound and visuals make the information easier to understand
- Pace and tone: They create rhythm, emphasize important messages, and convey what the presenter wants you to feel — excitement, passion, or seriousness.
- Interaction with the audience: Asking for feedback or questions and answering their questions creates a sense of community and connection.
In the following videos, you’ll notice variations of these powerful elements, each successful in a certain way.
1. Company update video
ABC Tech illustrates how attaching a face to a company update makes it look and feel more professional. They’re not just blasting out a message to employees, customers, or stakeholders but own it. The presenter makes the news feel more directly addressed and helps emphasize its importance.
- Tone and message congruency, with an upbeat presentation of launching an office in a vibrant city
- Images and footage reinforce the narration and increase the impact
- It uses medium close-up shots to keep viewers focused on crucial moments
2. Product review video
This child-led scratch test and product review by iFixit is proof that the presenter can make or break a talking head video. It has two presenters, each with an increased adorable factor that speaks to different audiences. This video comprises “talking-head” sections where the presenter explains the point of the video and actual demonstrations.
- Great mid-close-up shot that intro the why and how of the video review keeps viewers hooked from the first five seconds.
- A sense of humor, calling young Ellie a “highly accomplished engineer in her field,” the crash-testing field
- Includes a practical presentation that keeps the audience waiting to see what happens
3. Corporate video on sustainability initiatives
A talking-head video is a perfect way for usually faceless corporates to connect with their audience. In this example by Green Earth Inc, the human-led corporate sustainability presentation underlines the idea of personal commitment. The presenter does a great job of inspiring and building audience trust and credibility.
- The opening scene with beautiful imagery, in line with the company’s activity and values
- Alternates more stern data slides with animated nature-related images and footage
- Strong emotional appeal, putting the responsibility on the viewers and asking them to get involved in the mission
4. Interactive video lecture
Unless they’re interactive, video lectures are boring. In this example from Maryville University, we see an unusual approach, a dialogue between AI avatar Dominique and subject matter expert Bill. They call each other “Human Bill” and “Digital D” right in the first lines of the video lecture, which makes for a great hook. This is a great example of how an interview-style video can be extremely effective when making training videos for your employees.
- The unique approach of having an AI avatar talking with a human SME
- Increased engagement through dialogue and humorous comments made by the presenters
- Alternation of scenes, showing the two presenters individually when they emphasize specific messages
5. Personalized video for hiring outreach
This talking-head video by Grünewald Consulting is excellent for hiring outreach. It’s cost-effective, efficiently reaching a large number of potential candidates. And the presenter conveys their personality, expertise, and enthusiasm, facilitating a connection with potential hires. This company 2X their response rate using this type of custom video.
- Hooks with the job details and an enticing company presentation
- Switches between video footage and animation for a more precise and more impactful presentation
- Effectively puts the candidate through a 3-question check and directs them to the next stage of the recruitment
6. Company product how-to video
Your presenter should show enthusiasm and passion, creating trust and credibility with the audience without overshadowing the outcome. In this video by Doculife, the presenter successfully introduces a salesforce solution, making it the central part of the presentation. While these types of videos can be filmed in a professional studio in front of a camera, you can also use AI video presenters from Synthesia to introduce the human element.
- The video script introduces a specific solution connected to a big pain, allowing the audience to see the value in it
- Delivers on the hook with an animated, vivid presentation of how the solution works, keeping the viewers engaged
- The talking head is a discrete presence that only shows up when it best serves the presentation
Tips for filming talking head video content
The following tips will help you create talking heads videos of all types.
#1: Try using an AI avatar
One of the hardest parts about filming talking head videos is getting your production quality right. If you want to produce instructional videos at scale, consider using one of these diverse AI avatars. There are hundreds of faces and voices to choose from.
#2: Make sure your audio is crystal clear
These days, even your iPhone camera can deliver great production value. But you'll still need to invest in an external microphone solution. A built-in microphone will pick up too much background noise, resulting in plenty of awkward pauses! If you're looking for a cheap solution, lapel mics usually do the trick. Else a high-quality boom mic is your best option.
#3: Lighting is the difference between amateur and expert
Professional studio lights can take any video clip from ugly to stunning. While you can also include natural lighting in your setup, make sure that you soften all shadows from your light sources using the principle of 3-point lighting.
#4: Use different angles to keep your audience's attention
All video types need to have a variety of video camera angles to be engaging and interesting to watch. When video editing, ensure you don't hold the same angle for an extended time. On the flip side, when your presenter is delivering key messages, it's best to keep the camera angle steady to avoid distraction.
Make a successful talking-head video
An AI video maker like Synthesia is the easiest way to create a good talking head video that drives learner engagement. Using the video editor, it's easy to add stock media, upload visuals, record your screen, and assemble outstanding talking-head presentations.
Use this free demo to see how you can impact your online learning experience!