Like it or not, most people are a bit scared of appearing on camera.
Even seasoned pros can have bad days.
So how do you make sure your interview video is truly top notch?
And not just a collection of nervous soundbites – full of ums and ahs?
Plan your questions
A good question will lead to a better answer.
Never ask “closed” questions that lead to a straight yes or no, because often people won’t embellish any further than that.
Instead ask open-ended questions.
Questions such as “How did you…” or “What do you think of… ” or “Name 3 qualities of … that you like” – lead to much deeper,more thoughtful responses.
The best option is hire a professional writer / director to help you develop the questionnaire together – this will give the result you need.
But failing that, use lots of Who? How? Where? What? Why? When?
Use a director / interviewer
If you are filming interviews – never just send a camera operator alone. The interview needs someone to talk to – to look at and interact with – otherwise they may feel too much on the spot – and stumble or be nervous.
Having this extra team member is vital if you want the interviewee to give their best answers in the most confident way.
A professional interviewer/director knows how to get the most out of people, in the best possible way.
Make the interviewee feel at ease and relaxed, so be nice. If you have a chance, befriend them a little before the interview so they are familiar with you, if not already.
If they feel that it’s too stressful, they won’t come across well. So let them know if they’re struggling, it’s not a problem.
It’s often best not to have other people watching, as it can set the interviewee on edge.
Never let anyone thoroughly plan or rehearse their answer – or practice saying it to you prior to interview.
Unless they’re a talented actor, it’ll look stiff and robot like, whereas spontaneous answers often come out well.
If you feel that the interviewee isn’t quite answering right, later on ask them a similar question in a different way.
If someone says it wrong, or slightly wrong first time, don’t be afraid to ask them the question again.
The second time often comes out well, if they need a little moment to think about their reply.
If possible, have a 2 camera shoot. This will make for a more dynamic video, and it means that the editor is able to cut the interview more interestingly (as they can change which shot to use), resulting in a smooth video that looks exciting.
1 camera in front – and 1 at the side.
One person speaking on camera for 10 mins can dull, unless:
> they are a naturally captivating speaker, which is rare.
> their content (what they say) is specialist and valuable to the audience.
So ask as many people involved as you can. Just one sentence from a member of staff could be key to a great video.
For example, if it’s a testimonial video – try and get as many clients as possible, even those who are small or not famous, or for a staff video, interview your staff at all levels of the business, not just the most senior.
For any video, different people give different perspectives – which is good.
This mix of interviews opens up opportunities to really show the the full scope of what you need the final video to say.
Have a look at our interview videos