What is the best way to title your video interview or onscreen commentators? Is shorter always better?
If you come from the world of documentary film or news – you are probably thinking, keep it simple. But if you are from the corporate world, you must constantly navigate interview titles in your video productions.
IS A SHORTER VIDEO TITLE FOR AN INTERVIEW BETTER?
Why use a lot of words when all you need is “Joan Guest, criminologist, Harvard University”.
Why spend your valuable screen real estate on titles that are more about ego than conveying factual information? Doesn’t a longer title mean your audience will spend more time reading when they should be listening?
Some clients or funders may insist on a formal title that will appear to distract the viewer from the actual video interview.
Do longer titles mean less listening?
I remember one project where a client insisted on a long multileveled title related to an organizational chart. We cross-faded the various titles. Otherwise, the font size would have been so small it would have been unreadable.
I am sure the audience spent more time reading the titles than listening to the interview.
HOW TO EXPLAIN YOUR TITLE CHOICES?
Many organizations may want a formal title, so you need to find titles that meet specific needs and a process that explains your choices.
While I am always in favour of short, concise, and to-the-point titling, I ask myself and the client: does the proposed title play a role in your audience’s understanding of the interview? Or does it create a context that will help your audience evaluate what they hear?
A GENERAL AUDIENCE DOES NOT REQUIRE AS MUCH INFORMATION.
A general audience only needs transparency. Who it is, the organization they present, and their expertise. For a general audience, the title of criminology is all you need to establish credibility.
Any more information is a waste of time and a misuse of valuable screen real estate. Furthermore, a general audience will not likely need to understand the importance of a more specific title.
A long title may misdirect their attention. They may need to include the overall points you want them to understand from the interview segment.
AUDIENCE WITH EXPERTISE EXPECTS MORE FROM VIDEO INTERVIEW TITLES.
In general, it takes an audience with some expertise to understand the implications of a title, which comes back to the first question that should always be asked when developing a video. Who is your audience?”
More than a shorter title is needed if your video is shown to criminologists at a convention. If the interviewee is part of a well-known policy group at a top research facility, your audience will understand the interview’s importance. Incorporate it into the titles. They will know to pay attention.
So how to choose a video interview title?
Ask what the audience will understand and whether it provides context to an interview or will just be wasted information. And: how can I make titles in video productions as short as possible since screen real estate is scarce – but not so short that it doesn’t provide important information to your target audience?