Getting people to talk on camera can be difficult. The intention of a video interview is to have someone to tell a story. Getting them to tell that story in a coherent fashion takes time and skill. Visual aesthetics also come under consideration and should complement, not distract, what the interviewee is saying. Below are a few guidelines that can help you get the most out of your interviews.
1. Prepare The Client
Make sure the interviewee is aware of your expectations for the video. It’s important they understand what types of questions you’ll be asking, even if they don’t know the exact questions themselves. We rarely give the questions to them ahead of time as we’ve found it leads to scripted robotic answers instead of the conversation we’re looking for.
2. Appropriate Setting
The setting you film in should complement their character or the context of what they will be discussing. You don’t need to over think this; just make sure wherever you are feels like a natural fit for your subject.
3. Stay Relaxed
Ask the person you’re interviewing how they’re doing, what they did today, etc. Have a conversation before you begin to get them comfortable. We often ask people what that had for breakfast, just to get them talking while we’re doing sound checks.
4. Remove Distractions
Check the background for anything distracting, a chair, picture or a star-struck pedestrian. Either remove it or change the angle you’re that you’re shooting from. Nothing is worse then getting back to review footage and finding a fern sticking out of someones ear.
5. Start Simple
Start with simpler questions and transition into more complex or emotional ones. Like exercise, let them warm up and settle in.
6. Eye Contact
Make sure to keep eye contact with the interviewee. Just treat it like a normal conversation. Do not have them look into the camera!
Don’t talk over the client while they’re speaking. Let them talk, and take a few seconds to pause once they’ve finished, just in case they have more to say.
8. Repeat the Question
Make sure the client repeats question in his/her answer. That way, you’ll get a full sentence from them to use in the final edit. Feel free when appropriate to stop them and kindly ask them to start over this time repeating the question.
Great interviews pull us in and make us feel like we the audience are part of the conversation. Bad interviews are awkward for everyone. Have more tips? Let us know in the comments below.