Talking Head Videos

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director


When you make a video you want to deliver your message in a clear and coherent way. Talking head videos are one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to do this. They communicate information by creating a conversation between the subject(s) and the viewer. This has made talking head videos the most commonly used video format. Consequently these types of videos have been overused and their effectiveness has diminished. Does this mean you should never use talking head videos? Can they still be worthwhile? What can you do to ensure you effectively deliver your video’s message?

What is a talking head video?

The traditional talking head video involves a person speaking directly to the camera with only their head and upper body visible. This allows your subject to create a conversation with your viewers and communicate information in a reliable and straightforward way. Due to these reasons, talking head videos have been widely employed and overused.

Why should traditional talking head videos be avoided?

Talking head videos are the most commonly used format, which means that viewers are used to them. They no longer stand out from the crowd. For your video to be effective you need to capture the attention of your viewers and engage with them. Your video cannot do this if it looks like every other video. You have to be different to capture the attention of viewers.

Not only are talking head videos overused, they can also be boring. Traditional talking head videos tend to be stationary and static, which means they can lack visual appeal and can be uninteresting. Through the lens, you lose the human element that would be present if the viewer and your subject were in the same room. To be effective your video needs to be different and captivating. Unfortunately this means that talking head videos are no longer your best option. So you have to find methods beyond the traditional talking head format to capture the audience’s attention.

Rethinking talking head videos

This does not have to mean the end of talking head videos though, just the end of the traditional format. Offer the audience more than a stationary talking person. Introduce excitement and movement. Here are a few ways to do this:

Music – Use music to elicit the desired emotion of the audience. Music can help draw the audience in and connect them with your video.

Multiple camera angles – Instead of shooting your subject straight-on, shoot the person with multiple cameras and introduce different angles to your footage. By alternating the perspective you introduce movement which will better hold the audience’s attention.

Add graphics – Emphasise key points with added text or graphics. These provide the audience with something else to focus on, as well as creating movement and visual appeal.

Use other footage – Make your video more dynamic through the use of cutaways. This can allow you to show relevant footage while the interviewee is speaking. Through adding a visual you also add movement and excitement. These extra shots can bring your story to life.

To make an effective video you need to do more than simply relay information. You need to also captivate, engage, and connect with your audience. Unfortunately traditional talking head videos are no longer the most effective means to accomplish this.

At Kartoffel Films, we can help your video stand out from the crowd. Contact us at

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