Sara Greene presents Mandrill's "Weddings Live"Which celebrity would be the ideal face for your company video? Perhaps you’re a George Clooney kind of organisation. Maybe a dash of Davina endorsement would help your products fly off the shelves?

In the real world, big names are beyond most corporate video budgets, and you’ll be left with the tricky task of finding a less well-known video presenter to be the epitome of your company on screen.

Mandrill has years of experience choosing and working with on-screen talent – so here’s some useful advice on casting the right video presenter. But be prepared to be surprised. You may find your ideal on-screen stars are closer to home than you think!

 

FORGET WHO… THINK WHY!

Job one – decide what a presenter will bring to your video project. Let’s start at the top. If you’re sure you  need endorsement from a very well-known face, or want to piggy back on a celebrity’s popularity with your intended audience – that’s fine. Mandrill has experience of handling top flight presenters and great contacts with their agents.

But the truth is, if you need a presenter at all (more on that below!) – a professional, less famous face whose character and personality feels right for your project will usually fit the bill.

 

DON’T BE STAR STRUCK

Steve Le Fevre fronts Mandrill's "Lost Railways" for Readers DigestYou can usually rely on presenters to learn their script and talk to cameras as if they were human beings. (The cameras I mean… not the presenters!) Many can conduct interviews and most will deliver your message in the way you want it to look, sound and feel. But Warning! Even the most experienced presenters need to be “produced”. Don’t expect them to understand the passion, depth and subtleties behind your message. They’ll need to be told what’s really important and you’ll need an experienced producer with the confidence to tell them when they’re getting it wrong. (Sorry Mr Paxman, I think you may be missing the point!)

Top Tip: Never forget –  your video is about YOU, not your presenter. The presenter pictured is Steve Le Fevre. One of our favourites.)

 

INVISIBLE PRESENTERS

Don’t assume you need to see a presenter at all! Many training videos and product videos work brilliantly with an out-of-vision, professional voice over. TheTom Chambers records the voice over for Mandrill's "The Real A&E"re are thousands of “V.O.” artists to choose from. If the distinctive Northern gravel of Sean Bean or the silky smooth tones of Joanna Lumley are must-haves, you’ll have to pay a dividend, but they’re generally less expensive than in-vision presenters, and reduce the risk of “Marmite” reactions among your audience. Mandrill has contacts with the top voice over agencies so can easily help you draw up a shortlist. Our last challenge involved finding the ideal voice to promote medical lubrication gel! Professional, neutral voices are a cost effective way of bringing polish to your corporate video production. Picture shows former Strictly winner Tom Chambers recording the narration for Mandrill’s “The Real A&E.

Top Tip:  Try out voice over showreels on your colleagues. And note their first reaction. Remember, your video has only one chance to make the right impression.

 

PRESENT IT YOURSELF

Shock horror – it’s perfectly possible to make a top quality corporate video with no presenter or voiceover artist at all. A very effective alternative is for you, your staff or your clients to tell your story through being interviewed. This doesn’t happen by magic. It only works if your producer has a very firm plan for the content of your video before you start filming – and the experience to coax the right comments and performance out of your interviewees. It’s a specialist production skill. Be prepared for interviews to take a little longer than you’d expect to get it right. But trust us – it does work. We’ve made hundreds of ordinary members of the public come across brilliantly on our TV shows.

Top Tip: Don’t over rehearse answers for interviews. They’ll sound false, forced – and no-one will believe a word you’re saying.

 

THE TRUST FACTOR

Today’s savvy video viewers can smell a fake rat a mile off. So don’t get your presenter to pretend they’re part of your company. Presenters work best in the role of “trusted outsider”. Even better – have the confidence to feature real members of staff and genuine customers – people who really believe in what they’re saying. Some may be a bit nervous about going in front of camera, but a skilled producer will know how to help them relax, enjoy the process and come across well on screen.

Top Tip: Don’t just rely on the most confident people in your organisation. Quieter folks with a genuine passion for the subject will surprise you!

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