If you do a lot of corporate client work than you know one of the most frustrating parts about shooting corporate video is on-camera interviews. In the following post we’ll take a look at a few ways in which you can make recording your corporate videos as painless as possible.
1. Share the Goals Before the Interview
One of the most important things you can do before you even arrive on set is set the expectations with your subject. As the interviewee it can be intimidating to arrive on a set without a vision for why you are being interviewed in the first place. If possible, it’s always best to share with the subject the purpose of their interview and how their interview plays into the creative vision of the entire project.
2. Give Questions Before Arriving On-Set
One of the best ways to ease your subject before they arrive on-set is to send the questions you will be asking before hand. Encourage your subject to read over the questions, but not get caught up on answering the questions perfectly. Most of your subject’s concerns will be alleviated though simply sending the questions over before you arrive on-set.
3. Set a Dress-Code Before Arriving On-Set
As a video producer you know that thin stripes or distracting patterns don’t look good on-camera, but most interviewees simply don’t know what looks good. It is best advised to send your subject a simple email asking them to wear solid, muted colors when they arrive on-set. If you will be shooting your subject on a green screen it’s best advised to tell your subject to stay away from green clothing and jewelry.
4. Begin Calming Your Guest Before You Begin Recording
As a producer/interviewer there’s a good chance that you will have hundreds of things to think about before you begin rolling. However, if you want to get the best interview possible it’s best advised that you spend as much time as possible with the guest before you begin rolling. As soon as the guest arrives on set drop what you’re doing and introduce yourself. If possible, sit down with the guest and ask them about their day and answer any questions they may have about the production. This will help the guest feel more comfortable and thus look more comfortable on camera
5. Ask the Interviewee to Answer the Questions Fully
Before you begin rolling make sure to tell your interviewee to answer any questions full. For example, if you ask ‘What is your name?’ Make sure your subject says ‘My name is Allison’. If your guest just gives you fragmented answers you won’t be able to use the soundbites in the editing process.
6. Ask Easy Questions in the Beginning
When it comes to interviewing it’s all about getting in the groove and treating it more like a conversation rather than a one-sided discussion. As such, it is usually best advised to ask your subject a few easy questions in the beginning to get used to being on-camera. Unless they have a lot of experience behind the camera they will undoubtedly be nervous, it’s your job to make them comfortable.
7. Keep a Slow Pace
It can be easy for a subject to get nervous and feel like they have to rush their answers. This will inevitably lead to rushed dialogue that is hard to edit. Instead, try slowing down the pace of your subject by setting the pace with your own voice. Ask the question in the speed in which you wish to get a response. I’ve found that subjects will mirror your body language and vocal speed.
8. Ask the Interviewee to Repeat Important Information
Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewee to repeat something. Sure, in a perfect world your interviewee would simply give you all of the perfect sound bites you need, but this is rarely the case on-set. Just ask ‘Could you repeat that for us?’ and they will almost always agree.
9. Reassure the Interviewee as You Progress Through the Questions
As you progress throughout your interview it is best to reassure your interviewee that they are doing a great job. It can be easy for an inexperienced interviewee to second-guess their answers. A few encouraging words can also help your subject get more stamina so they don’t tire out too quickly.
10. Set Expectations for Distribution if Possible
After you conclude the interview process don’t forget to thank the subject and let them know when and where they can expect to see the interview. Even if you don’t know the exact date and time give them a rough guess. This will help get everybody on the same page as most subject’s don’t know the typical turnaround time of a video.
Ultimately the secret to getting a great interview is to encourage your subject and make them as comfortable as possible. If your subject is comfortable and prepared it will show in the final video.