How to work with non-professional talent on camera for your next video production.

Do you need to capture great video footage, but your budget won’t stretch to professional talent? Working with non-professionals can be a challenge, but this article will guide you through everything you need to know. Unlock the secrets to getting the perfect take with non-professional talent – and make sure your next video production is a success!

When working with non-professional talent, it is essential to remember that it can be a challenging process but well worth the effort. Preparation is key before going into any video production.


Whether you’re a video content creator, a corporate video producer, or an aspiring filmmaker, chances are you’ll need to work with non-professional talent at some point. Non-professional actors can bring a lot to your production: realism, naturalism and relatability—all of which are invaluable when it comes to creating successful videos.

But getting non-professional talent on board for filming can sometimes be challenging. Dealing with individuals who have very little (or even zero!) experience in front of the camera can be difficult if you don’t know what to do. Here are some tips on how you can effectively manage non-professional talent and create the best possible result from your next project:

  • Be prepared.
  • Set expectations.
  • Be patient.
  • Give direction.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Be flexible.

Benefits of Working with Non-professional Talent

Working with non-professional talent on camera has numerous benefits that can make your next video production successful. Non-professional talent can provide a fresh face, voice and approach that is clearly distinct from professional actors and/or talent. When working with non-professionals, you avoid the obvious pitfalls associated with handling contracts, residuals and stress of high pressure productions. Additionally, using non-professional talent allows for creative freedom that may not be possible when working with a professional actor or lead character.

There are several additional benefits when using non-professional talent in your upcoming video production:

  1. Budget Savings – One of the biggest advantages to utilizing non-professional talent is cost savings. Enacting large budgets for actors for multiple shoots and days of productions is difficult to manage within any restrictive budget, professional or not. When you opt to use regular citizens as actors in a project you save money by avoiding costly union fees and residuals which allows you to invest it elsewhere in the production process where cost savings are most needed (equipment rental, location fees, etc).
  2. More Authentic Reactions – Professional actors have been trained to act on command therefore some scenes come off as staged or more scripted than natural. With everyday people instinctively reacting with facial expressions or verbal outbursts that are more believable due to familiarity the audience is more likely to identify the authenticity of each character’s reaction leading to higher engagement viewing experiences where realism is necessary for your project’s success.
  3. Increased Perspectives – When engaging audiences having multiple perspectives they can provide insight into social issues from an outside point of view allowing viewers get well defined alternate viewpoints.
Working with non-professional talent on camera can be easy if you plan your video production.
Working with non-professional talent on camera can be easy if you plan your video production.

Identifying the Right Non-professional Talent

When creating a video production that requires non-professional talent, it’s important to find the right people for the job. You want to ensure that they are comfortable with the subject matter and can present it in a clear and agreeable manner. Depending on the project, you can use different methods of locating potential non-professional talent.

  1. Professional networking sites: Professional networking sites like LinkedIn can be great resources for finding non-professional talent with skills relevant to what you need for your project. Simply create a profile stating what you’re looking for in terms of someone with certain qualifications or skillsets and begin searching for potential candidates who are willing to lend their expertise to your project.
  2. Cold emails: Cold emails can be sent out to industry professionals, such as actors, directors and producers, who may have some experience working on camera but not necessarily in a professional capacity. This is a great way to source additional talent that might not otherwise be accessible through traditional channels or networks. Additionally, these emails may also provide an avenue into researching more experienced professionals if needed.
  3. Referrals: Friends and family may also offer meaningful referrals or insights into potential non-professional talent that could be suitable for your video production needs. They can provide helpful information regarding the individual’s aptitude in presenting the material set forth by your team’s vision as well as offer personal anecdotes that reflect positively upon their behalf while making casting decisions.

By utilizing any of these methods when trying to identify suitable non-professional talent, producers can greatly increase their chances of success while assembling the appropriate group of individuals who will bring their respective projects life!

Preparing Non-professional Talent for a Video Production

Getting non-professional talent on camera for a video production is often a challenge, but with a few steps, you can have a set of well-prepared participants ready for their performance.

  • Ensure that your non-professional talent knows what to expect on the shoot date and what questions they may be asked during their on-screen interview. Reassure them that their performance and professionalism are important to the production. Let them know that although there won’t be any direct direction from the producer or director during the shoot, there will be someone off camera “calling” lines to help them stay on track.
  • Provide information about wardrobe for each person involved in the video production. Not only will it make them look better on screen but also emphasize the message you’re trying to portray in your video project. Additionally, providing those involved with some basic knowledge of how to present themselves while they are being filmed is also recommended; this includes tips such as avoiding movement and looking at the camera when speaking. Also emphasize that keeping eye contact is critical for providing an engaging delivery for viewers and keeping them interested in your film project.
  • Have an agreed upon run-through of questions agreed upon ahead of time so everyone knows what topics will be covered when it comes time to film; this gives everyone involved extra confidence knowing they’ll know what answers they need to provide when completing their on-camera interview or presentation segment.

With these steps taken ahead of time, you can not only help separate yourself from other filmmakers shooting with non-professional talent but also make sure you get excellent results from those participating in your efforts!

Setting Up Rehearsals and Rehearsal Process

Rehearsal is a key factor in the success of any video production involving non-professional talent. A well-executed rehearsal allows participants to become comfortable on set, practice their lines, learn blocking and camera positions, and feel confident in their performance.

The length of rehearsal will vary based on the complexity of the project, however each working session should allow enough time for a quick review of the scene and filming parameters. Additionally, it is important to keep rehearsals engaging by utilizing various acting exercises and warmups throughout to energize the cast and encourage creativity amongst participants.

As well as rehearsing lines, time should be set aside for running through basic visual positions as this will provide familiarity with the environment before filming begins. In addition to learning blocking guidance from the director, it is beneficial for an off-camera script reader to be present during rehearsals. This gives actors a clear picture of how the finished product will sound beyond individual lines or scene components.

It is worthwhile to make sure that all cast members understand their roles in each scene before filming commences; paying special attention to timing elements such as pauses when working with non-professional talent who are not yet skilled in constructing realistic conversations on camera. Rehearsals are also invaluable when it comes to improving performance as they equip actors with more control over what they deliver during shooting—possibly boosting performances beyond expectations!

Working with Non-professional Talent on Camera

When creating your video content, you may find it necessary to include non-professional or amateur talent on camera. Working with non-professional talent can bring additional challenges and techniques that need to be taken into consideration. Here are some tips on how to work with non-professional talent on camera and produce great results:

  1. Cast the Right Person: When selecting the right person for your project, make sure they match the look and feel of what you’re trying to accomplish. Anyone can read from a script, but bringing something unique to the table is important for a successful production.
  2. Prepare for Interviews: Before any shooting day, practice interviewing with individuals who feel comfortable in front of a camera. Showing someone how to look lively on-camera will help ensure natural performance and better results than if they were unfamiliar with the process.
  3. Knowledge of Technical Terms: If you’re working with people who have little experience in front of a camera or within a production role, make sure they are aware of technical terms associated with film production such as ‘marker’, ‘close up’ and ‘take one’ etc., so they know what is expected during recording sessions – this will help keep everyone on the same page while shooting your footage!
  4. Rehearse First: This is particularly important if you have scripted dialogue that needs to be followed closely by actors – rehearsing beforehand should make them more comfortable as well as confident when it comes time to start filming – this also helps iron out any issues before going on set! It’s always good practice to give an actionable direction after each take too so that each take build upon one another for better end results during edits later on down the post production line!

Technical Aspects of Working with Non-professional Talent

When working with non-professional talent on camera for your next video production, there are a few technical aspects to consider in order to set them up for success:

  • Audio quality is important, so be sure to use a lavaliere microphone and an audio recorder (such as the Zoom H4n or similar) to capture audio externally. This will help make sure that you get professional sounding results.
  • Lighting can also have dramatic impact on the overall look of your video, so make sure you have adequate lighting with a good mix of soft and hard light sources.
  • When it comes to camera setup, pay close attention to the angle of your shots as well as any movement you record – too much camera shake can make footage difficult to watch.
  • Finally, provide clear direction to your talent before or during shooting so that they understand what is being asked of them. Encourage open dialogue with your talent during shooting and be patient while they are trying out something new on camera.

With these tips in mind, you should be able achieve excellent results when working with non-professional talent!

Final Thoughts and Takeaways

When working with non-professional talent, it is essential to remember that it can be a challenging process but well worth the effort. Preparation is key before going into any video production. Make sure you create a clear environment and provide clear instructions to your talent to guarantee success in your production.

An effective way of ensuring that you have your material ready for when shooting commences is by doing pre-interviews or sending scripts beforehand. This can lessen the time spent on set, helping everyone feel more comfortable once on camera. Finally, after filming take time to review takes and give informative feedback to the talent; allowing everyone involved in the project feel confident that they did their best work possible.

In conclusion, when working with non-professional talent it is important to:

  • Communicate clearly
  • Provide guidance throughout the process
  • Ensure that everyone feels comfortable and confident in their performance

Resulting in a creative and successful video project!

Mike Haller
St Louis Video Producer

St Louis Video Production Company

St Louis Video is a video production company based in south county St. Louis focused on creating engaging videos.  We partner with small businesses, nonprofits, and many diverse entrepreneurs, to bring high quality video production services to our clients.  We create corporate videos, commercial videos, testimonial videos, explainer videos, branded content and crowdfunding videos.  If you need a videographer our an entire production crew in St Louis, Missouri, contact us to get a free quote for next video production.

St Louis Video Production Crews

Mike Haller
St Louis Video Producer

How to start a video production.

What’s included in a typical video project?
Find out what comes with a standard video project, and what’s going to cost you extra. For example, does the video include scriptwriting, music, graphics, editing, actors, etc.?

What is the provider’s core area of expertise?
Learn what types of videos are in their comfort zone. If the company has built their portfolio on events coverage but you are looking for a company profile video, then it may not be the best fit for your needs.

Where can they shoot videos?
The location of your shoot can instantly narrow your search. For example, if you need to have a customer testimonial shot in Sacramento, do they have videographers there or do you need to pay for their travel?

Do they offer fixed prices that will work with your budget?
Everything can sound perfect until you see the price tag, especially if the provider has added on “extras” to your project. It’s important to ensure they can realistically stick within your budget without compromising on quality and timing.

How long does it take from project request date to delivery?
It can often be a lengthy wait from the day you put down your deposit to the day your video is delivered. To ensure your video content is timely, it’s best to go with a provider who can deliver your video within 20 business days.

Do they have a satisfaction guarantee?
Not all video providers offer satisfaction guarantees, like many crowdsourced marketplaces where it’s difficult to control the quality of freelance videographers. If there is a guarantee, read the fine print to see what it includes. Some guarantee the entire cost of the video; some only cover the referral fee.

How many projects can they handle at one time?
Some video production companies or freelancers can only handle a certain number of projects at once. If you have a few videos in mind or have tight deadlines, make sure they can meet these requirements.

How do you find out the status of your project?
Ask your video provider if they provide a window into your projects so that you can check the status, confirm deadlines, and offer feedback in real time.

Do they provide project managers?
With many crowdsoured marketplaces, you have to manage the project and the videographers, which can be difficult if producing videos is not your area of expertise. If you’re looking for a full-service team, then start your search with production houses and agencies who can manage your projects.

What marketing/sales support and resources do they offer with video production?
Once your video is complete, the next step is getting your target audience to see it. Ask the provider if they offer marketing resources so that you know what best practices to follow to get your video seen.

Do they offer video hosting? If so, is there an additional cost?
Before adding a video to your site, you will have to host it in either a free or paid video player. Find out if the video provider can host it for you, which will save you time and money from trying to find this service elsewhere.

Do they offer customizable video players?
If they offer players with their videos, inquire about special features that can help boost engagement, conversions and SEO. For example, can you add plug-ins to your player so that viewers can easily share your video on social media, contact you, or see your company’s special offers? Can you adjust the look of the player? Can you easily add metadata such as your description and keywords?

Do they offer video analytics to track performance? If so, is there an additional cost?
How did your video do? Did it achieve its goal? Results are the main reason to produce anything at all, so it’s important that you’re able to see data-based results and the value behind your video. If your provider does offer analytics, find out if they can collect the data that you need.

Can you export the data from the reports?
You might be able to see your data, but can you easily export it and format it? Can you drill into each metric to gain more individual insights?

Are there any built-in split-testing features available?
In an era where marketers are encouraged to test everything and create their own benchmarks, it would be great if the video player you use can make it easy to do so. See if you can split-test your videos, how many tests you can do, and what you can test on.

Robert Haller, St Louis Video Producer
St Louis Video Production

st louis video | video production company | videopost

St louis video produced this St Louis video production for a local healthcare firm.  We videotaped on location for three full days to create four different marketing and online training videos for the medical community.  The video production crew shot all primary and b-roll footage on location.  We also videotaped six different testimonials in our St Louis studio on green screen.  The project was completed within a week and a half to complement a new office opening.  Video news releases and a rather unique health marketing approach was implemented to promote the new north county health facility.

st louis video.  Medical video production shot for online training and healthcare marketing.

st louis video. Medical video production shot for online training and healthcare marketing.



Rob or Mike

st louis videographers | production crews | HD video equipment

When your company needs video production in St Louis count on St Louis Video.  We are a video production company that provides high quality, high definition video production services.  We produce for all types of businesses large and small.

Our experienced creative production crew includes highly skilled award winning producers, directors, lighting and audio technicians, videographers, and video editors.

We provide state of the art equipment, high definition cameras, jibs, portable green screen, wireless microphones, teleprompters and basically whatever else is required for a professional video production.

st louis videographers

st louis videographers

St Louis videographer, Dave Topping keeps a watchful eye on the shoot through the camera viewfinder during an historical video production taping for ABN Historical Videos.

Rob Haller, St. Louis Video Producer


st louis video production | green screen video taping | studio production

St Louis Video
Green Screen Video Production

When it comes to getting your important message across to your target audience, there’s no medium more powerful than video. St Louis video has an in-house green screen studio with cutting-edge equipment to create an attention-grabbing video that is sure to be noteworthy. Our creatively talented video crew is always available to handle every aspect of your video production from concept all the way through final delivery.

The video above was shot in our studio for Mr. Bill Hershey, here is his very timely and  interesting service on his website.

Robert Haller, St Louis Video Producer
St Louis Video Production

st louis video production | post production | st louis video

Post-production is where your St Louis video production comes together. After a basic assembly based on the original concepts and script a rough cut is submitted to the client for approval. Upon approval, the work begins on any revisions and additional editing, effects and other post production video services. When the final cut has been approved, your video production moves into the finishing stage where sound, color, and any graphics are perfected, resulting in a truly polished video production.




Robert Haller, St Louis Video Producer

St Louis Video Production

st louis video for missouri botanical garden

Missouri Botanical Garden – Open 9-5 daily
4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark.

The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of beautiful horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home, and one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids.

For over 154 years, the Garden has been an oasis in the city, a place of beauty and family fun—and also a center for education, science, and conservation.


Hope Haller, St. Louis Video Producer