7 Tips for shooting video interviews. 7 steps to Help You
Posted on April 25 2019
7 Tips for shooting video interviews1. Outstanding audio
Good audio quality should always be a priority at your shootings. For interview situations the audio will be especially crucial. Remember that, even though you are hired to produce a video, the main concern for your client will be to deliver their spoken content. To achieve this, you will need to use high-quality gear like the Sennheiser AVX wireless microphone, which I prefer to use, when I have to work alone. Try to hide the mic behind a scarf, tie, collar or the like. Same goes for the cable. Basically, you want to avoid any visual distractions the viewer might find during the interview.
2. A fitting Background
Find a backdrop that fits the topic and/or position of your speaker. Most commonly used are bookshelves for corporate themed interviews, laboratories for medical interviews and the like. At times, when I cannot find a thematically fitting background, I like to use a monochrome wall. In addition, I store a back-up backdrop in my car. Place your subject a few feet apart from the background and blur it, to obtain a professional look. All of this will help the audience to concentrate on the interview and not get distracted by people in the background or a tiny scratch or stain on the wall.
3. The Interviewee
Try to put yourself in their shoes. Not every employee or even boss is used to talk in front of a camera. Try to calm your subject down and explain them some basics before you start. A little chat before the interview may also help them to act more natural in front of you. Tell them to look at you, not the camera and to avoid fidgeting as well as giving short answers.
4. The interview
The best way to start your interview is by asking some easy warm up questions like their full name, home town, company name and the like. Every Interviewee has a different personality - some will talk like a waterfall, others might need some coaxing. To achieve a flowing comprehensible speech, I like the subject to repeat the question in their own words before answering it. Another trick is to reword questions and shoot them multiple times. This will give your several takes in post to choose from.
5. B-roll footage
If the interview is very long or if it contains complicated descriptions of work-process, it is always nice to cut in scenes, that entertain the audience visually. This could be shots of the process, the production plan or a walk through the building.
6. All the small things/ The dress code
If possibly, brief the interviewee on some basic dress code in advance. Tell them not to wear too colourful clothes, small stripes or any small patterns. Because not only will it look unflattering, but it can cause the Moiré-Effect, which is highly distracting to the audience. Neutral monochrome colours are a better decision and may hide sweaty pits. Lastly, avoid shooting dark clothed persons in front of dark backgrounds and the other way around, or you will end up with a floating head.
7. Learn from my experience
Never let the interviewee sit in an office chair with wheels! Sooner or later the chair will move and swivel, which looks unprofessional to the audience. Holding the speech at a desk might lead to another related issue. People tend to hold onto pens, documents or the like. Tell them to clean their desk in advance to avoid falling into the fumble-trap. Avoid all distractions. Ask the interviewee to put away and/or turn off all cellphones, phones and other electronics, that may cause sounds and distractions. You do not want to lose good material because of annoying printer-shut-down noises, do you?