Five Important Steps for Shooting an Effective Video Interview

Posted on May 30, 2013

Interviews can be a powerful tool—if you know how to shoot an effective video interview. The video pros over at Vimeo recently released their top tips for shooting a quality interview. If you are considering shooting an interview, you better listen up:

  1. Prepare. Before you even think about sitting down in front of your subject, do your homework. Read all you can about the subject to ensure that you're not asking questions he or she has already answered a million times. Order your questions from easy, warm-up questions to the more difficult questions that are the meat of your interview.
  2. Engage. Don't be afraid to go “off the book.” If the interview goes in an interesting direction, let it. Ask questions as they arise naturally. Also, don't hesitate to ask your interview subject to clarify. This will save you time in editing and allow your subject to clarify important messages.
  3. Listen. Just like in dating, you should ask questions and then shut up and listen. You should nod, make eye contact, and never, ever, cut them off. 
  4. Consider editing. Before you begin shooting, encourage the subject to speak in complete sentences. Facilitate this by never asking yes or no questions. Sit next to the camera so that, when the subject looks at you, they will be looking in the direction of the camera but not directly into it. Making your subjects look directly into the lens will make them very uncomfortable. When listening to responses, keep quiet. Affirmations such as "okay," "yes," and "go on" will be picked up by the audio equipment and will distract the viewer.
  5. Get technical. Not necessarily with your subject, but with the shoot itself. Before shooting, make sure you have an appropriate backdrop, your shot is composed well, and the sound and lighting are spot on. If you miss these key technical elements, you will shoot a video that is unusable and a huge waste of time and money.

Shooting a quality interview doesn't have to be hard, but it's not as simple as it seems either. For more tips, or to have your interviews conducted and shot by our professional DC-area video production team, fill out a contact form on our site, or give us a call at 703-962-1270. We can help you and your subject make the most of your interview videos. 

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Jim Folliard
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