SolidLine crew members are used to answering all sorts of questions, and one of the most frequently asked is who our clients should use in their videos. It’s a great question. Determining the face(s) of your video will affect its message and, therefore, will influence the viewer’s reaction to the video. Below is our professional opinion on who to use, and when.

It’s okay to use employees when you’re going for brand awareness; using your own employees in their everyday settings is the best b-roll any editor could ask for. Actors tend to be very versatile, but exposing anyone to something new can take time to learn and may look unnatural. Our rule of thumb for using employees? It’s the best option for non-speaking or “extra” roles. Check out this DHL video we shot using their in-house employees — it was a great way to save on costs and really showcased DHL’s brand!

You should always hire professional actors when you are producing a narrative video, or one which requires a host character. Actors have special training when it comes to delivering lines, reading from a teleprompter, maintaining consistency, and many other facets of performance we untrained folks may not notice. Most times, paying for a professional actor is actually the most cost-effective approach, as shoot days can easily be wasted on an untrained person trying to get lines and actions right. Plus, confidence is key when it comes to promoting your brand, and it is highly unlikely Ron in Accounting can effectively communicate your message with confidence on camera.

Consider bringing in happy clients if you are producing a testimonial video. There are lots of regulations when paying an actor to make claims on video about the goods or services you offer, and the last thing you want to do is compromise your credibility because you have to state on-screen that this “happy customer” is actually a paid actor. Using your actual clients for testimonial videos is the best bet: they are relatable, trustworthy, and can make valuable points about your brand which you may not have thought to emphasize. Viewers may be turned off when they see actors were used to promote your business and will probably wonder why real customers were not. Check out this Rosecrance video for example — would it have been as believable if we paid people to talk about Rosecrance’s services, and then stated they were actors?

So, there you have it: if you want to use internal employees in your video, we recommend you only do so for non-speaking roles; you will ultimately save money (and headaches) by letting the pro’s handle the spoken lines; and using your genuine, relatable clients on-screen is the most effective approach for testimonial videos. Or you could just do what we did and promote your services with an 80’s music video.