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We’ve all sat there when the new training video is first shown, and somehow the big event, the premier following months of hard work, turns out to be a damp squib.

There’s nothing actually wrong with the video, and the content is exactly correct, and the pictures show what needs to be shown – but it seems dull.

It lacks heart.

If this is the case, then it’s odds-on you’ve been watching a low budget point-and-shoot voiceover video, where the voice drones on under a series of workplace dull pictures. It’s a common enough experience.

On the other hand, turn up for the debut of a great training video – a singularly outstanding event – and you’ll immediately notice three things that are different – besides the positive audience reactions you observe!

These three things are:

> The use of actors

> Better graphics, specifically the use of captions

> The use of voxpop soundbites

Obviously the next question is “what is it in these three elements of actors, captions and voxpops that makes the difference between an average training video and a great training video?”

What is the difference and why?

And does it cost a fortune? Or perhaps, do we only need to take a more imaginative approach for relatively little more money?

The Use of Actors

Actors are used in training videos the following ways:

> As extras so that instead of wooden-looking operatives and staff appearing on camera, the main parts are filled by professionals who are trained to look, stand, and sound completely authentic, yet also be appealing and photogenic.

> To add variety to our bread-and-butter voiceover fare. For example, when learning is being shown, an actor appearing as an operative can unexpectedly turn and look straight at the camera and give the “real story” on why following the training is a smart idea, adding heart to the message as well as a layer of convincing credibility.

> To enact scenes that describe interpersonal processes, from asking a young customer their age in store, to discussing a contractor method statement in a meaningful way, to adding a whole sense of plot, suspense and drama to an otherwise one-dimensional training video production.

A couple of actors for a couple of days might add 10%-15% to your costs. But your programme will be watched more keenly, and will make more of an impact.

Better Graphics, specifically Captions

Quality captions immediately stand out. They look slicker and glossier, rather than “ordinary” and “stuck on”.

Animated captions can breathe life throughout training messages, and finally highlight the summary points effectively and with style.

But to carry out this work correctly, your video editor has to have some artistic skill. It’s all about employing a sense of colour, layout, font type, movement and all in relation to the rest of the video picture. Assuming your video editor has these is a leap of faith. Check other work they’ve done previously. Ask for proof. Be convinced that they have the additional artistic ability you need, and not simply the core video editing skills.

The titling of your training video, and the section titles also benefit greatly from expert use of captions and animation.

The overall effect of working this more graphical way is to add a thematic unity to your training production.

And to achieve this, you need a video editor with artistic flair.

The Use of Voxpop Soundbites

Using your own workforce to deliver some or all of the training messages is very influential, as people listen to their peers far more readily than they do a voiceover. Peer group influence is widely accepted as a powerful motivator.

Of course not all training video messages lend themselves to voxpop production techniques. But many do.

And certainly if you need some level of endorsement for your message, such as in new safety behaviours, new customer handling techniques, new workforce initiatives. Even poor old Manual Handling will benefit from your operatives discussing the techniques and the pros and cons, thereby encouraging other staff to adopt the correct lifting technique and not cut corners.

But voxpops is more than a few stuck-on speeches from people wearing name tags. They need to be fashioned in a fast and compelling way that rivets audiences.

You can see examples of all these training techniques here


If your training videos are looking tired and dated, and you’re considering updating them, then you’ll win more audience impact, credibility and compliance if you use these three simple approaches to enhance your training video production.

> Use Actors

> Use captions and animation

> Use Voxpops

These three simple things can make the difference between an average training video and a great training video.

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