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

St Louis Video Production | Smart Music for your production

Smart Music

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There are a lot of libraries out there with scores, and if done right, these can work well. The music has to be just right for the mood. We’ve been told that our results are often amazing.

The sound and music operator controls the remote control st louis video

The sound and music operator controls the remote control st louis video

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St Louis Video Producer

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Here is another video production we created, one among many for this fine St. Louis Institution. We created a targeted marketing campaign for the online websites. We planned and shot four videos over the course of a week. About twenty percent was shot in our studio, and the balance on two additional locations. We provide web video SEO and surgically uploaded the customer for specific keywords they use in their promotional efforts. The project was a huge success and we picked up another project for four more productions!

Mike Haller
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St Louis, Missouri, USA | Video Production

st louis business video production | production and post | green screen studio

St Louis Video services include concept and scripting, video production, video post production and editing services, motion graphics, animation, duplication and distribution. We are also well versed in web design and programming so we can help you with your video marketing as well.

Robert Haller, St Louis Video Producer
St Louis Video Production

st louis video | production companies | post production | editing and animation

Our video production projects help sell, promote and train their intended audiences!
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Professional video production for your product, services or organization.

We’ll help guide you from concept to pre-production, shooting, editing, and finally to distribution on a creatively produced message.

Our video services are targeted to business owners and corporations who will benefit from a smaller video production company to edit their video. Our headquarters is in south St. Louis. All of our video post productions are done in house.

St Louis Video Production Services, Rob Haller, St Louis Video Producer and Photographer, 314-892-1233. Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Videotaping your tradeshow seminars in St. Louis is one of our production specialties. Let us videotape your next seminar or event. Our shooting team is well versed in testimonial video taping of your clients and guests. A little advance notice is great, but if you are under the gun and need it quickly, we can deliver. Whether you need one videographer or a small crew, we can help you.

St Louis Video

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Rob Haller, St. Louis Video Producer


st louis video | video production services | post production | studio

Much of this video was shot on location. There were a few studio shots, mostly of products. We captured stills and video movement to allow the editor and producer more flexibility in post production. All four productions were shot in a day. The day was perfect because of the shot list and approved script.

St Louis Video

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