Shooting Video Interviews: Why You Need To Think About Where To Put Your Interviewee
So far in this series of how to shoot good video interviews we’ve covered making the interviewee comfortable, getting acquainted with him or her and what questions you should ask to get a powerful interview.
One other thing you need to think about is how you want your interviewee to come across. This will determine where you want to put her.
Should she be comfortable and relaxed, authoritative, or in the “hot seat?” Consider the interviewee’s posture and what you want it to be. This will determine whether to shoot her sitting down and the type of seat you will put her in. When people stand, they tend to preach. When they sit, they are more friendly.
A comfortable chair may be what you want but make sure it isn’t too deep. If so, that could relax the interviewee too much and limit her body language. Also couches often block much of the background and are usually too comfortable. People can sink in to overly soft couches and chairs.
A swivel office chair allows them to swing around and has a greater chance of creaking and changing your lighting.
If you are going for the “hot seat”, a stool will work better. An armless chair may tire people for a long interview.
The chair should also “belong” in the situation it is in. Your audience shouldn’t notice the chair unless it is an important prop.
The best chair is one that is quiet, comfortable, dark colored, and appropriate to the location. What seat would be appropriate in the woods – a log, a stump or a rock? If you never see the seat, it makes no difference.
The interviewer, camera operator and other crew present also need quiet chairs.
Our favorite chair to use is an inexpensive, lightweight, padded backless stool that folds flat. It makes people sit up and they don’t spin around on it. We always take it with us on interviews. We’ve had a lot of famous behinds on that stool.
Of course, you need to make the decision of how this interview’s look will fit into your final program. Remember, you are the director!
- Determine the interview’s look – do you want the person to come across as an authority or be comfortable and relaxed?
- If the interviewee will be sitting, have them sit in an appropriate chair for the situation and look.
- Make sure you provide quiet chairs for you and your crew.
Next up in our series…what should your interviewee wear?
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- Documentary Video Interview: How to Respond to the Answers - December 11, 2015
- Documentary Video Interview: Are You Asking The RIGHT Questions? - October 27, 2015
- How To Direct a Great Documentary Video Interview - September 25, 2015
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- 3 Types of Headline Formulas That SELL - July 15, 2015
- Shooting Video Interviews: What to do When Things Go Wrong - June 26, 2015
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