Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Shooting Video Interviews: Get Acquainted With Your Interviewee

WebVideoAs I shared in my last post on how to make your interviewee comfortable, perfect lighting, a great background, good sound and camera work is nothing if the interviewee is not at easeOne of the best ways to do this is to get to know him or her before you start filming.

If you can, do a little research in advance about the person and their involvement in the topic you’re interviewing them about. This is more easily done if you are scheduling interviews in advance. If you aren’t able to do that, for example you are at an event and are interviewing participants, see if there is any bio or written introduction available so you can familiarize yourself with them in advance. At the very least, make sure you know their name when you introduce yourself! Get the correct spelling of their name and their title and role as well.

It is also good to make sure the interviewee comes into the interview room with make-up and wardrobe already done. I like to have a mirror handy so they can take a look at themselves and make any adjustments to their appearance. You will also have had time to set your equipment up.

Next explain how the video will be used. Being part of “the event” is much better than seeming to be making a documentary for some unknown and possibly negative purpose. Avoid making commitments about editorial control by the interviewee.

As the interviewee sits, keep the chatter going with non-interview “getting to know you” questions while you, the camera operator or coordinator attaches the lavalier mic to the person or adjusts the boom mic.

NOTE: If you are the interviewer and have someone else running the camera, it’s best if that person does not get acquainted with the interviewee. It keeps the interviewee’s attention on the interviewer. You want the camera operator to “disappear” behind the camera. We have found the interviewer-interviewee distance of about seven feet ideal. It’s intimate but not threatening.

Next up…preparing your interview questions.

Action Steps:

  • Before the interview, conduct research on the interviewee and his or her involvement with the topic.
  • Write down their name, title and role so you will have it for the video.
  • Have makeup and wardrobe adjustments already done before seating the interviewee.
  • Keep a mirror handy so the interviewee can see what they will look like on camera.
  • Explain how the video will be used.
  • As the interviewee is getting mic’ed, ask non-interview getting to know you questions.


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