Get the most out of your interview

by Casey White

It can be very daunting being in front of a camera, most people find it hard to look beyond the lens and speak naturally.
Here are a few tips to get the most from your interviewee and find that perfect answer you’re looking for. 

Create Comfort

When it comes to interviewing someone, the most important thing you can do as a cameraman or interviewer is to make the interviewee feel comfortable and relaxed and to let them understand that you’re just having a conversation. Throughout the interview, you will find the subject relax and be themselves, as they ease in front of the camera. This happens naturally with most people, so it’s best to ask any low priority questions first.

People feel much more comfortable addressing a person over a camera, having the interviewee interact with an interviewer is much more effective, and will help them stay engaged. Their usual response is to be nervous or scared, it is both the cameraman and interviewers job to alleviate that fear and make the process look and feel as harmless as possible. Keep it natural and remember that the video is about the interviewee. Don’t take up too much film time featuring your voice, respond positively to their answers and move on to the next question when appropriate.

Before Recording

It’s a good idea to have a chat with the interviewee before you start recording, this is beneficial for a few reasons. You build rapport with them and you become familiar with each other. Try to make them laugh. In most cases, the happier and least amount of pressure they feel, the better. If the video will be edited, let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes, as they will have their quotes hand-picked.

Sustain Flow

Some people will think out loud, saying “umm” or “like”, and will do this constantly throughout the interview. This makes the editing process tough and requires more B-roll for the editor to use in place of the visuals due to the need for more cuts. In some cases, it’s good to let the interviewee know of this and get them to attempt to speak without their audible thoughts. In other cases, it will confuse them, creating more mistakes. It depends on the person you’re interviewing but if in doubt, keep it to yourself, and cut it in post. It’s better to hold off negative feedback and make them feel more comfortable.

Leading Conversation

If there’s a specific phrase or quote you’d like your interviewee to say, don’t just ask them to say it. In most cases, it won’t sound natural. Try to steer them towards what you’d like them to say in a natural conversation, or pose the question as a more general idea and lead them towards that quote you’re looking for them to say.

In most camera setups for an interview, there will be 2 or 3 cameras for cutaways for if the interviewee makes a mistake. Try to avoid constantly cutting to too many different angles, as it will put off viewers as they will be constantly looking at different sides of the screen.

Be sure that the background shows some personality, but isn’t too busy, the primary subject is the interviewee. Filming outside can be tough, especially if the background is a bright open area.

Blank Background

If you film the interview with a blank background, you can add some text in tandem to the interviewee’s quotes to add extra emphasis on their speech, while keeping the audience engaged.

A Great Experience

Many people feel uncomfortable being interviewed, and many people will also feel awkward doing an interview. Despite this, once you are on top of your nerves it can truly be a great experience, and not only will it offer you the opportunity to hear from the expert in person, but a good interview will leave you clear insights into the mind interviewee. As well as this, a well-conducted interview is arguably one of the most genuine, expressive and straightforward ways to convey an idea or an ideology.

We trust that if you follow the steps above, you will do more than fine. As stated its just a conversation, and it will do you well to remember that! Take in the journey, and enjoy learning something new.

All images and content are from our team
here at Studio Nero.

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