How to Make a Talking Head Video with No Equipment

Karina Kasparova
August 24, 2023

If you've ever watched videos online, chances are you've seen a talking head video or two.

YouTube tutorials, interviews, testimonials, explainer videos, and instructional videos can all be filmed as talking head videos.

While pretty straightforward in their concept, making truly interesting talking head videos can be more challenging than it seems.

Let's discuss what talking head videos are and how to produce them faster and easier using AI.

How to make a talking head video using AI | Synthesia STUDIO

What is a talking head video?

Not to be confused with the Talking Heads and Psycho Killers, talking head videos are essentially videos where people talk directly into the camera lens or slightly to the side.

The person, or talking head, in the video is usually a subject matter expert (SME), interviewee, interviewer, or presenter.

On the surface, they seem easy enough to produce even at home - a decent camera, a built-in microphone, good lighting, and the final video is ready in an hour.

In reality, you need quite a few pieces of equipment to produce a successful talking head video:

  • a good video camera (or even two cameras)
  • an external microphone (like a boom mic) because most built-in ones aren't that good
  • artificial lights for situations where the natural light isn't good or available
  • video editing software
  • additional equipment for higher production value, such as a green screen, tripod, other lenses, additional batteries, and SD cards

Besides equipment, there is an often overlooked essential 'soft' skill needed to make a talking head video, and that is feeling comfortable in front of a camera.

Not everybody has the guts to speak directly into a camera or has the budget for professional actors.

Luckily, none of the above equipment or soft skills are needed anymore.

Let us explain 👇

How to make talking head videos in Synthesia STUDIO

Talking head video production is hard work, but it doesn't have to be.

If you don't want to spend $$$$ on professional video projects or expensive equipment, or you simply don't have the time to film and edit videos, you can instead create videos with an AI video maker.

An AI video maker uses photo-realistic AI avatars and text-to-speech technology to generate talking head videos using only text.

Here's how you can make one using Synthesia STUDIO.

Step 1: Write a video script

When the visual focus of the video relies so heavily on one object, namely a person talking directly into the camera, the importance of what is actually being said cannot be overestimated.

With so little to hide behind visually, it's important that the narration brings value to the audience and sparks an emotional connection.

Unless it's an interview-style video, the key to most talking head videos is a good script.

Without going into too much detail, here's what you should keep in mind when writing a talking head video script:

  • keep the information to important parts only
  • limit the text to 3-4 sentences per slide
  • use storytelling techniques to captivate the audience's attention

Step 2: Choose an AI presenter

Now let's move on to the pièce de résistance of your talking head video, the AI presenter.

Synthesia has over 125 diverse avatars to choose from, so pick one that fits the topic and design of your video.

In the video canvas in STUDIO, click 'Avatar' on the right-hand side. Pick a full-body view, circle view, or voice-only option.

Tip 💡

You can also create a digital talking head of yourself through an add-on feature.

Step 3: Paste your text and choose a voice

Next, take your video script and paste it into the script box slide by slide.

That script is going to be narrated by the AI talking head using text-to-speech technology.

That means you can create video voiceovers in more than 120 languages without speaking them or hiring voice actors.

Step 4: Edit your talking head video

In this step, add additional elements to your talking head video to personalize it.

You can add text on screen, shapes, colors, images, videos, backgrounds, and screen recordings to accompany the talking head.

All of these visuals can be accessed from the vertical panel on the right-hand side of the video canvas by clicking on 'Media'.

You can also add or upload background music to your talking head video by accessing it through the 'Music' tab.

Step 5: Generate and download

Your talking head video is complete!

That wasn't so hard, right?

All there is left to do is generate the video and wait for it to process.

3 tips for creating talking head videos

Whether you're using traditional video production or using AI, these tips & tricks will help you make a more successful talking head video.

1. Change up the visuals

According to a 2005 eye-tracking study by the Nielsen Norman Group, users are easily distracted and bored when watching talking head videos online.

The study was expanded 12 years later to analyze how to keep users entertained while watching talking head videos, and the answer lies in the visuals.

In particular, the study cited 6 ways to vary the visuals. Here are 3 we find particularly important.

So much so, that we created video tutorials to show how to do that in STUDIO:

  • include interesting, but not distracting background elements in the video frame
Video Frame

  • change the subject or camera angle
Avatar Angles

  • include graphic overlays, like on-screen text and shapes
Better Bullet Points

2. Limit background noise

Any unintended noise in the background can be a huge distraction to the talking head video, and, in some cases, make it completely unwatchable.

If you're filming the talking head video, make sure to do it in a quiet space, free of any noise from the street or from other people.

If you're using AI and text-to-speech to generate audio, ensure that the background music isn't too loud - otherwise, it can be distracting.

3. Craft a story with your video script

Every script has an intro, body text, and an outro.

But thinking beyond the basic script outline and weaving in storytelling elements or humor will make your video that much more engaging and captivating for your audience.

Talking head video examples made in Synthesia STUDIO

But enough talk, let's see the product in action! 🎬

Here are some talking head examples you can make with Synthesia STUDIO.

1. Training video

Corporate training videos with talking heads are perfect for learner engagement, but they can be tedious to produce and maintain. This talking head video took 10 minutes to make:

Synthesia for Training videos

2. Product marketing video

Product marketing videos like video newsletters, case studies, and product explainer videos can all be made using Synthesia.

Here's an example of a marketing video:

Synthesia for marketing videos

3. How-to video

How-to videos can range from product onboarding videos to knowledge base videos, but their main visual feature apart from the talking head is a screen recording.

Just like here:

Synthesia for how-to videos

Producing talking head videos isn't that hard - see for yourself

No need to worry if you have natural lighting or a good enough camera for different angles - AI presenters look well in any light. 💁‍♀️

Try a free demo of Synthesia to create your first talking head video.

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