Our Quick Video Interview Tips
Interviews are a very common part of video production. They are used in a wide variety of videos, from commercials to instruction videos. Because they are common, it is easy to assume filming interviews is easy. And it can be. However, from our experience, there are few challenges to capturing the perfect interview. These challenges are both technical and human, as in getting the best out of the person you’re interviewing. Here are our 3 video interview tips.
Take Your Time– The first thing that should be pointed out is that this process should not be rushed. We have been in situations where the person being interviewed has only few minutes to give us or we have to move out of an interview space soon. Most of the time, these situations render poor results. There are, however, exceptions to this. If you’re doing street interviews or chasing down the person you want to interview, you might not have the luxury of taking your time to set up and do multiple takes. Sometimes, this gives your interview the feel of on-the-go, unplanned interviews. This can give you a more authentic feel to your project.
However, if you’re conducting sit down interviews, your best bet is to schedule ample time to find the perfect interview location, set up lighting, audio, and have a conversation that’s not rushed. This way, if something goes wrong too, you will have time to correct it. As any video production, it is most likely to take longer than you expect.
Background Matters- Creating a visually interesting interview is half the battle. In order to do that, pay attention to the background. Is this the best background you can find in the space you’re conducting the interview? In most cases, you will not have complete control over where you will be interviewing your subject. The person you’re interviewing will invite you over to their office, their home, or a local spot.
What you can control is finding the best spot in the space you are in. Avoid simply putting your subject in front of a wall or a corner. Instead, look to find a background that has layers. If you must put them in front of a wall, create a space between them and the wall and find something you can put between the wall and your subject.
Look out for color combination, clutter, and movement in the background. Sometimes, movement is a great thing. If you’re in a public place that’s known for crowds and high energy, bring that energy into your interview. Stage the interview to get the best out of the movement. On the other hand, if the movement is distracting, make sure to frame your interview to avoid movement.
Photo by www.BoldContentVideo.com
Make It a Conversation- Many of us, almost all of us, freeze up when we’re in front of a camera. We watch other people talk in front of a camera and think we can do it as easily but find it is much more difficult than we thought when the lights are on us. This is why most interviews will need multiple takes. We used to do the whole cut-and-action with every take, but we have found that the interview flows much better when we keep the camera rolling and treat the interview more like a conversation instead of a scene we’re filming. When we keep yelling “Cut” and “Action”, we make the subject painfully aware that they are in front of a camera. But if we tell them that the camera is rolling and we will just have a conversation, they eventually relax and get comfortable.
Don’t just fire question after question at your interviewee. Ask them follow up questions that help the conversation flow better even if the question is not on your list of question. Make them feel like you’re interested and engaged in the conversation instead of just being there to get a list of answers from them.
And of course, what doesn’t even need to be mentioned is to make sure your audio is crisp, your lighting is flattering, and you’re watching out for rule of thirds for most cases. The tips above are to enhance an average interview that that is technically adequate. Have fun with your subject while collecting great information.