11 Videos to Watch Before Commissioning a Talking Heads Video

  Posted by: FreshCut

So you want to create a short form, interview-led promotional video for your company / brand / department / charity, and you’re not sure exactly what you’re after? No worries. We’ve been doing video production in Oxford for a long time, and have created all sorts of videos for all sorts of clients. Here we’ve compiled a list of videos that are pretty typical of what we get asked to create — plus a few styles that we think people should be commissioning more often!

These films are a mix of Fresh Cut content and videos from other creators, but all of them showcase just how much punch you can pack into a short-form talking-heads video.

The standard course video

Bread-and-butter stuff for a university-adjacent video production company, course videos come in all shapes and sizes. But in general, they feature current students extolling the virtues of the course and the friendliness of the environment, and show lots of footage of tutorials, classes, buildings, the local area, and happy students enjoying the course.

Here’s one we made for Saïd Business School:

The edgy course video

A popular choice for undergraduate course videos — these are aimed at 16 and 17 year-olds, so they tend to be light-hearted, cheeky, and fun.

Here’s an example we love:

The post-event summary

A big and important event is happening and there needs to be a record of it! Don’t worry, post-event videos have got you covered. Just get your video production team down to the event and let them do their thing. These films are often released very shortly after the event, and are sent around to the attendees to thank them for participating. Later down the line, they often serve to advertise subsequent events, and they can also appease funders who want to know that the event made waves. 

Here’s one we made for a Republic of Gamers event:

The learn-something video

These films often take a journalistic approach, and are not necessarily selling anything. This example uses piece-to-camera shots and voice over from a presenter to guide the narrative. However, at its heart, it’s still a talking heads video, and it’s a format that we think can be used for a lot of different purposes.

Here’s one from the Guardian that we found interesting:

The ‘what we do’ video (business case studies)

A classic for any video production company, these case studies give the viewer a glimpse into their local (or not-so-local) businesses. In two to three minutes, the video will showcase what the company does, and why they’re unique, without aggressively trying to sell any particular products or services. They can be commissioned by the business itself, but often the videos are initiated by bigger companies who want to showcase how they support smaller companies, as with the example below.

Here’s a case study we created for Dough Artisan Bakehouse in London, commissioned by Quickbooks.

The ‘we did this thing!’ video

A great way to show off an organisation is by highlighting one specific project or endeavour that they’ve put their heart and soul into, especially when that project helps people. It shows that you’re self-aware and grounded, which customers love to see, but it can also help with recruitment — people love to work for organisations that give back to their community.

Here’s one we made earlier for an initiative run by Quickbooks UK:

The ‘behind-the-scenes’ video

Whether to boost your team’s morale, or just advertise your quirky friendliness to the world, this style of video can work wonders. It emphasises outtakes, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and the messy realities of what you do. They’re often personal, funny, and can lead into more emotive content very well, because the audience has time to form a genuine connection with the characters they’re seeing.

Here’s an example that we love watching:

The almost-documentary

These films, sometimes referred to as ‘short form factual’, basically mimic a documentary in the first minute or two, and will only introduce their ‘selling point’ or promotional elements further into the video, once the viewer has gotten to know the characters, and has been drawn in by the documentary style.

Here’s a very slick example from the folks over at Apple:

The actual documentary

Documentaries tell complex, character-based stories, and often include ‘actuality’ scenes, in which the video follows the participant, seeing their life play out second-by-second in front of them. Many talking-heads videos aspire to be documentaries, but it takes dedication and often an in-progress story to push the production from a standard short form factual into documentary territory.

Here’s a quirky little film that we love:

The undisguised advert

Not quite a talking heads video, but worth including just for reference — these videos are more straight-forwardly promotional, and often very flashy, fast, and cinematic.

Here’s one we made for Virgin Experience Days:

The ‘join us!’ video (we’re cool and friendly!)

Your greatest asset, at any organisation, is your staff. Putting them in the spotlight not only gives a human face to the company, but gives potential applicants a chance to really imagine what it’s like to work for you. These talking heads videos often go for breadth over depth, showing short soundbites from as many different faces as they can.

So there you have it. These just scratch the surface of what video production companies, in Oxford and further afield, can provide for businesses, universities, and other organisations. Hopefully this gives you some sense of what can be achieved with short form video content, and gets you inspired to commission content of your own.

If you’d like to hear any more about what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We offer video production in Oxford, the UK & abroad!