Relevance and Value: Crafting Compelling, Educational Talking Head Videos - MRCC EdTech

Oct 27 2023

Relevance and Value: Crafting Compelling, Educational Talking Head Videos

Nilesh Pathari: Project Manager
Nilesh Pathari

Project Manager

Talking head videos have become the gold standard in tutoring online and are common in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It requires time and effort to create high-quality videos, but not all of them are effective. There is no real study to calculate the effectiveness of talking head videos. Nevertheless, crafting accurate media design is important when universities, publishers, and EdTech companies use them. When a person is lecturing and closely watched by the audience, gestures and non-verbal cues are important. The videos must capture the unique teaching style of each educator while including speech narratives, gestures, and images to convey the subject matter.

Why Talking Head Videos Are Used

The human brain has a limited capacity for visual and verbal information. As talking head videos provide content in both formats, they help the audience’s knowledge retention. Placing words near corresponding graphics promotes learning and comprehension. While online courses lack a direct connection with the faculty, talking head videos attempt to bridge that gap. They generate a social presence that comforts the students and provides greater satisfaction. Learners prefer instructions presented with a face, which influences their emotional and cognitive understanding of the material.

Some of the instances where talking head videos are commonly used are:

  • Explainer videos
  • Interviews
  • Corporate talking head videos to communicate with customers, employees, and shareholders
  • Customer reviews
  • Thought leadership videos

Some of the pros and cons of talking head videos are:

Pros Cons
 Lower production costs Builds a personal connection with the audience Useful for microlearning videos Watching human faces can be boring Sometimes videos can look awkward Not suitable for all learning styles

Creating Compelling Talking Head Videos

Apart from learning outcomes, you must design talking head videos to spike learners’ interest. When students choose unsupervised and self-paced learning environments, their experience with the learning material is important. Only if they have a pleasant experience will they continue watching videos and subscribing to the courses offered. The following are some tips you need to create talking head videos your audience will love:

#1 Start with an Engaging Script

Scriptwriting is important for creating polished and professional videos. It helps with a smooth, logical, and coherent flow of content without awkward pauses. The script also encourages you to stay relevant to the content and adhere to the time constraints. Analyze the audience and use a language that resonates with them. Create a script or use one of the script templates for the learning objectives.

#2 Use Storytelling with a Compelling Plot

Incorporate a storytelling narrative to keep the viewers engaged throughout the video. Start with an introduction and move forward to a story hook. Weaving a conflict into the story will keep viewers interested in the video content. Proceed to the climax with rising action, and end with the solution’s benefits. Give a conclusion to the video, essentially a summary that aligns with the learning objectives. Thank the viewers at the end of the video and mention the call to action, directing the users to what to do next.

#3 Use a Conversational Style of Speaking

Always use a conversational tone as you talk to the audience. This will help you keep the audience’s interest. Even complex concepts can be explained with simple language mixed with humor. Such engaging content ensures the viewer watches the video until the end.

#4 Be Authentic and Speak to the Audience

While experts and podcasts may inspire you, you must focus on creating authentic videos. Video instructors must be authentic and speak to the audience directly. Mimicking someone else will not look original, and viewers can easily sense when you are trying to fool them.

#5 Train the Narrator to Convey Information Effectively

The actors in the video, their appearance, and their demeanor are important for creating effective talking head videos. Throughout the video, the audience will keep their attention on the talking head, so ensure the narrator understands the learning objectives. When you shoot a video with multiple people, ensure they collaborate to convey the information effectively.

#6 Use Multimedia Elements

Ideally, talking head videos are 2–5 minutes long and suitable for microlearning modules. In the video, you can incorporate multimedia elements like slides, images, graphics, etc., to add depth to the learning material. However, you must be careful not to overdo it because many studies show that too many distractions hinder the audience’s focus.

#7 Pay Attention to Lighting

Good video lighting is essential for talking head videos. Generally, a three-point lighting setup is preferred. Use a key light and position at a 45° angle. Use a fill light to soften the shadows cast by the key light. A backlight out of the shot is also necessary to contour the subject and separate them from the background. Identify the right light setting for the video based on the natural attributes of the speaker.

#8 Use the Right Framing

In an explainer video, the narrator should be at the dead center of the frame, looking at the camera. It is ideal to have a gap of two inches between the top of the head and the top of the frame. For interview videos, divide the frame into three sections. Place the subject in the center of the first or second line based on whether they are looking at the right or left of the screen.

#9 Film the Video with the Right Setup

Set up a clutter-free recording environment. Light the room optimally and frame the subjects the right way. Use non-distracting backgrounds. Choose background colors and décor based on the speaker’s personality, skin tone, and clothes. Use the best recording equipment and a noise-cancellation microphone. Ensure the room is otherwise quiet for high audio quality. Shooting with a black background is a strict no-no, as it increases post-production time. If you intend to have a lot of animations and background changes, use a green backdrop.

#10 Spend Time Editing the Video

Use premium video editing software to edit videos. You can use on-premise or remote editing software to edit the video elements, depending on the available resources. You must also use an audio editor to upgrade the sound quality.


Talking head videos are classic and simple. With little effort, anyone can create interesting talking head videos with an interactive speaker. Incorporate the natural gestures of the speaker to truly connect with the audience. These talking videos establish a human presence in the virtual learning landscape, and it makes sense to involve subject matter experts. If done right, talking head videos can help students learn concepts without difficulty and deliver higher knowledge value.

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