How to Shoot a Video Interview
Shooting an interview video is a straightforward and effective way to produce video content for your brand.
Whether you’re interviewing happy customers, creating an interesting interview series on a subject related to your industry or filming your own team to explain what your business is all about — here’s a list of tips to help you learn how to prepare for and shoot a great interview:
– Research your subject. Google ‘em! If this is your first time meeting them, make sure you know what they look like so you can easily greet them and immediately make them feel at ease.
– Send your subject the questions beforehand. Doing this (at least the night before!) will give them time to be mentally prepared for your questions… which will make for better, more thoughtful answers.
– Make sure your camera and all equipment are fully charged. Pack extra batteries (and battery chargers) and memory cards.
– Bring a bottle of water for your interviewee. This will help with nervous dry mouth AND it’s a nice gesture to start the interview off with.
SETTING UP THE SHOT
– Keep the rule of thirds in mind and position your subject either left or right of center. If you’re shooting multiple interviews, make sure to switch up how each subject is positioned to keep your video visually interesting
– Use an external mic: either shotgun, boom or lapel. Your internal camera mic won’t always cut it for recording perfectly clear audio.
– Establish an eye line. Will the subject be looking at the interviewer off-camera or speaking directly to the camera? If looking at the interviewer, ensure that the interviewer sits juuuust to the right or the left of the camera and maintains good eye contact with the subject.
– Before the interview starts, have the interviewee and state and spell their names and job title (if relevant) when recording— this will help the editor when creating lower third titles (i.e. “Olivia James, Senior Vice President” text on screen)
DURING THE INTERVIEW
– Start with easy questions first, to get your interviewee comfortable. This will create a safe environment and allow the interviewee to start feeling good in front of the camera and get into the groove of the interview.
– Vary the framing of your shot. Every few questions, pause and change between a wider shot (showing your subjects full body or waist-up, on screen) mid-length length (chest and up) or a close-up (neck and up) to keep things visually interesting. A good close-up can add intimacy and drama as well, if asking particularly hard-hitting or personal questions.
– If you’re asking the questions, stay engaged! Though you may not be on camera, be sure to nod, smile and follow along while your interviewee is answering your questions. Even if they go on a 5 minute tangent, maintain eye contact. Do not look at your phone.
– Resist the urge to interrupt, even the normal conversational responses of “Mhmmm” and “Yes, right…” aren’t good for the video, so stay silent while the question is being answered.
– Tell your subject to re-state the question in their answer. For example: “What’s your favorite color?” should be answered with “My favorite color is purple” not “Purple”.
– Ask open ended questions. Avoid boring “yes” or “no” answers by asking “Why?” and “How?”. For example: “What do you enjoy most about working with EditMate?” is a better question than “Do you enjoy working with EditMate?”.
– After you’ve asked all of your questions, ask your subject if there is anything they would like to add. Often, they will have an interesting opinion or anecdote you may not have thought to inquire about. As the vibe gets more casual at this point, the interviewee often relaxes more and some of the best material can come from this.
-Keep the camera rolling between questions and before and after the interview formally begins. You may catch some candid moments that will make for perfect b-roll.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW IS OVER
– Record 1 minute of “natural room noise” (without anyone talking). This is important for covering up edit points and enabling your editor to remove pesky background noise during post-production.
Need some examples? Check out these EditMate projects below to see how other businesses are shooting interviews to create all kinds of video content:
Club Sandwich Project incorporated a video interview with a recipe video. Here’s the teaser!
The Instillery created a case study video where the interview highlighted both their own brand and Eat My Lunch‘s brand.