Casting call: Who’s In Your Corporate/Industrial Video?

The right time and the right place are typical requirements for effective business interaction, but when it comes to corporate or industrial videos, the right person is also a key factor.

Let’s start with industrial videos. How do you choose who goes in them? A lot depends on what the video is for.

Instructional Videos

Would you rather have trainees look at an actor who appears to know what he is doing when he lights that blowtorch and starts going after that rogue pipe (it has to be rogue, otherwise he wouldn’t charging at it like he’s battling a dragon)? Or, would you rather see an actual welder doing it in a safe and professional manner? Much less dramatically than the actor would, but then again you’re not submitting the video for an Academy Award. And it’s a pipe. It’s not going to attack.

Do you want an actor, or a real welder, doing this in your video?

Do you want an actor, or a real welder, doing this in your video?

OK, so the real welder doesn’t have washboard abs and a dazzling smile. Neither of those is going to be much help when the actor sets fire to your business because he’s striking a pose rather than using common sense.

Think about it this way: If this you were running a blood bank, and you wanted to do a video showing the donation process, would you like everyone in it to be an actor—including “Nurse”? How do you think “Woman in chair” is going to feel when her SAG colleague starts stabbing her arm wildly because he’s not a nurse and doesn’t know the first thing about finding a viable vein?

Industrial videos that are meant for in-house instruction, or for demonstrating your company’s expertise with a certain product or procedure, should rely as much as possible on the people who actually do the job for you. If you have additional support roles such as customers, or you just need to have a few extra bodies to make the scene more effective, then it’s fine to have actors.

Keep Cost In Mind

Actors can earn several hundred dollars apiece even for a half-day shoot, and that can quickly add up. Your staff is already getting paid, and if they can get a few hours off from the daily grind and have fun with a video shoot, why not? Plus, having them in your video is a sign that you trust and respect them and are pleased to have them represent you. That’s always good business.

When would you use an actor in an industrial video? A good example would be having her as an on-air narrator if the video is designed to explain a process or procedure. This is also a good time to employ motion graphics and animation if applicable, because they can add an extra dimension that will make the overall product much more sleek.

While it would certainly be good to show some of your staff involved in the production process, if the main purpose of the video is explanatory rather than instructional or promotional, an actor can be fine for the main on-screen presence. However, you should consider including some of the key players in your company giving quick sound bites. No matter the ultimate purpose of the video, highlighting some of the people who really are involved will help the viewers feel a connection and make the overall message more appealing.

This should be taken into consideration for corporate videos as well. People want to know whom they’re going to be dealing with if they decide to do business with your company. When you have a paid spokesperson doing all of the talking, the viewers don’t get a real sense for who you are, and why they should trust you. If you don’t feel strongly enough about your product or service to appear on camera and talk about it, should they want to spend their money and/or time on it? After all, you’re the best spokesperson for your product.

Should I Be On Camera?

The exception to this is a smaller business where the product really is the star, such as a catering business or a tattoo parlor. While it’s always advisable for you to make appearances in these videos, it doesn’t mean you have to be the one doing all of the talking. Some people are just naturally uncomfortable on camera, and that’s OK.

What About The Paid Actors?

If you decide to go with paid actors, you should take an active part in the casting process. Ideally you’ll be able to review video demo reels of the actors the casting agency suggests, as the agencies frequently send links to these. It’s great if you can do it during a meeting with the production company, but if that’s not feasible try to make time to do it on your own. How do the actors come off? Is their on-air demeanor good, does it feel right, would you buy your product from this person? If the answer to any of these is: ”No” then it’s time to find someone else. Make sure to communicate this to the production company as soon as possible so they can find more candidates.

At Hencar we know that your video project is really your calling card to the world, and we understand that you want your video to make a great impression. Sometimes the most effective way to put your best foot forward is to highlight you and/or your staff in the video. You’re the ones who have been walking the path this whole time.