Who in front of the camera


Who in front of the camera

The ideal learning journey consists of a blend of online and offline activities. But following an e-learning course will sometimes be a solo situation: you and your laptop, taking a quiz or watching a video. Some learnings are even fully based on video, and rightly so: video is a great way to get across a message. But how to make that much needed connection to the learner? How to keep them engaged?

Watching and listening to a fellow human being helps to connect, to stay engaged, and to process information. A great solution for this is the use of a presenter or host in your videos. They look you in the eye, guide you through the journey and keep you on your toes.

But who is the best fit for the job? Should you rely on your own employees or call-in professional actors? Actors can learn lines and are experts in non-verbal communication. But there is also much to be said for learning directly from the source: your colleague, the subject matter expert.

There are advantages and drawbacks to both options. We have listed the most important pros and cons. So, when you are faced with this choice, here’s what to bear in mind.



  1. Bringing credibility
  2. Featuring your people in their real-life roles will show a “real face”. When they talk on camera, they’ll be drawing on real experiences and showing real feelings. It’s relatable in a way professional talent can’t match.
  3. Focus on expert knowledge
  4. Your employees have delivered the content for the video. They are the experts. So, what can beat learning from the people who make your business work day-to-day?


  1. Compromising on quality
  2. Most employees don’t have professional acting or performance experience. Only when the cameras are rolling will you find out how comfortable – or uncomfortable – they are in front of a camera crew. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a talented actor among your staff, your video just won’t feature the same screen presence and skilled delivery you’d get with a pro.
  3. Taking more time
  4. A related downside of working with employees is the amount of time it will take to, well, get a take. Your ‘star’ may forget their lines, get the giggles, misread the autocue, or just get nervous: all of which means shooting your video will take more time – and money. Bear this in mind before you decide to save money by avoiding professional actors.
  5. Continuity
    What happens if your employee leaves the company? Would you still be happy to use the video? Or the employee might say: I don’t want you to use the video anymore. Of course, with an actor you will not have this issue.

Professional actors


  1. Choosing from a wider range of casting options
  2. Hiring professional actors will give you a wider range of faces to choose from so you can find the right image to represent your company. And may give you more opportunity to reflect diversity in your video.
  3. Starring the best
  4. Professional actors know what they’re doing. They show up looking the part and already knowing what is expected of them. They know how to follow directions. They will appear confident. And above all, they will be able to act! Working with professionals will make your video quicker and easier to produce, and more natural to watch.


  1. Missing out on expert knowledge
  2. Professional actors may know a lot about acting, but they’re unlikely to know much about your business. If your video requires an actor to talk about your company, or to carry out a particular task that is specific to your industry, they won’t do so as naturally and fluently as one of your employees might.
  1. Paying for the talent
  2. This is perhaps the most obvious downside of hiring a professional actor to take part in your video. You will have to pay them, on top of all the other production costs of your video.

Up- and downsides

As you’ll have realized, there are up- and downsides to both approaches when creating video. The best route comes down to the well-known time-cost-quality triangle. Weigh up the pros and cons before you decide how to make a video that is right for you. We can always guide you in choosing the right type of video for your company, just give me a call!

Yorrick Thoms

Yorrick Thoms

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Ariane van Rossem

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Arjan Toet

Learning Architect, Director