Talking Head Video Production Tips – Camera, Audio, Lighting and Teleprompters


In this article, we will look at some of the basic and advanced tools necessary if you want to create a talking head video. Unless you are already making huge profits in your business and wouldn’t settle for anything less than high-end equipment, I would recommend that you do not invest heavily on the toys. I will tell you about the affordable, medium and high priced options for all the tools but don’t just jump in to buy the costliest one. Get the basic stuff, do some videos, see if talking head videos suit you and come naturally to you and then you can upgrade your video production toys.

The Camera

The camera is the costliest piece of the puzzle and the main revolutionary component in video production. Nowadays, there are so many cameras lying around in our home including but not limited to: webcams, phone cameras, point and shoot cameras with video recording, SLR cameras with video recording and the camcorders.

Digital SLR Cameras with Video Recording Facility

The camcorders have an optical steady shot which helps while recording on the move. Videos shot while driving the car or walking into a home or office are popular online and are also effective. If you will be recording your videos without moving around, then the Digital SLR camera is a better option for recording talking head videos than the camcorders.

Standalone Voice Recorder:

My first recommendation for audio recording would be to use a separate audio recording device with collar mic for your talking head videos. My recommendation would be the Olympus VN-702PC Voice Recorder with Olympus ME-15 Microphone. Note that the collar mic works only with Olympus voice recorders. With other voice recorders, the audio level will be very low and unusable.

Shotgun Microphone:

A shotgun microphone is mounted on the top of the camcorder or DSLR camera. Not all cameras support enhancement mounts. A shotgun microphone is a unidirectional microphone which records audio which is originating directly in front of it (in this case, a talking head) and eliminates all the audio from the back and the sides. Imagine the field of recording as a narrow cone with its sharpest point originating from the mic.

Lighting for Talking Head Videos

I am a big fan of natural lighting and I will always recommend it over manual lighting. If you are recording the video in your home or office, just place the camera near a window and let the sunlight from the window fall on your face. If you are recording during the afternoon with peak sunlight, then use a plain white cloth as a screen for the window so that the light becomes diffused and evenly spread out. A video with lighting helps to get several YouTube subscribers and views as people are likely to engage with high-quality video.

Using Teleprompters

Teleprompters are a great way to guide you through the video. A teleprompter usually has a beam splitter glass which reflects a scrolling text from a screen and has the camera behind the glass so that it records the person’s face while she is reading the text on the glass. This setup is required to make the recording natural because if the person is reading the text from a screen and the camera is placed adjacent to the screen then the recording will show a person talking with her eyes looking somewhere else which would look very weird.