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  • James Clarke

Our Guide For Successful Video Interviews

Whether you're looking to interview a client or deliver your own piece to camera, Ffocws Media has bags of experience in shooting interviews, so we wanted to share a few tips we've picked up along the way.

Settle down and enjoy as this is one of our longer blogs.

Here is our guide to creating successful video interviews!

Prepare The Talent

Having a confident and comfortable subject is the absolute most critical piece of the puzzle to creating a successful interview.

By having a calm and collected subject who is free of the nerves the camera can bring you will ensure that the content they deliver to you is precisely what you are looking for to help build your video.

A few suggestions we have to do so: - Get to know your talent. A lot of the time, the first time you interview someone is the first time you meet them. By taking some time to get to know them and become more comfortable you can ensure they are comfortable making discussions with you inform of the camera.

- Don't supply the questions before hand. This may seem counterintuitive but there is method to this. A lot of the time you can gather a much more natural reaction when you first ask someone a question, which can greatly benefit the video.

- Opposite to this, try a dry run with them. Ask them the questions you want them to answer away from the lights and cameras as they will be much more comfortable here and will feel like they have more time to think upon their answers.

These last two are very different approaches and should be taken depending on your subjects confidence with the camera.

Choose The Setting Carefully

Choosing a great setting can be really important as it can help with the overall engagement of the video.

Here's a couple tips on choosing your setting:

- Keep it relevant to the subject. You don't want someone talking about new their new offices while being interviewed on a beach.

- Keep it interesting, but not too busy. This one is very much in the eye of the beholder, but you can over do the background and how busy it is. At one end of the scale you want to avoid filming against a plain white wall, and on the other end you don't want a cluttered space with major distractions in the background.

Nail The Framing

Poor framing can result in a disengaged and uncomfortable audience. Probably the two things you don't want when presenting an interview.

By spending a little more time ensuring your interview is frames to perfection you can take the footage back to the edit room with confidence in knowing you have shown your subject in the most engaging way you can.

Here are our tips on framing your interviews:

- Use the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is the easiest way to ensure a well framed shot. Try placing the interviewees closest eye on one of the upper thirds.

- Have the interviewee look across the frame. If the subject is placed on the right side of the shot, have them look across to the left of the shot. This can ensure good engagement for the audience.

- Don't cut off joints. Cutting the frame off at joints like elbows and knees can unbalance the frame. Try cutting the frame off on solid parts of the limbs (such as half way down the calf's or forearms).

- Leave a little head room. Try not to cut off the top of peoples heads and try not to leave a huge amount of headroom so they look lost. The amount of space should be decided by the camera operator.

- Leave a little room for graphics. Sometimes it's great to pop a small name tag or more more information about what your subject is discussing. So before you film a super close up, think about whether you'll be using pop ups in the edit.

- Think about the delivery. Will this be shown in a vertical video too? Then it could be good to frame the subject centrally and on a slightly wider lens so you can crop the video to vertical. The same goes for other video formats like 1:1 square.

Always Consider The Lighting

Lighting can sometimes be the defence between a high and low quality video. By taking the time to perfect your set up you can create a great looking, contrasted shot that fully engages your audience with what your subject is saying.

Here are some tips on lighting your subjects:

- Try and use consistent lighting. Shooting outdoors can be great, you can achieve some truly great interview shots. But the main issue (as always in Wales) is the weather can be very inconsistent, meaning you could end up with different lighting in different parts of the interview. Making it hard to edit later.

- Use soft light. Using harsh light such as direct sunlight or a direct HMI light can produce very sharp shadows on your subject which can be very unflattering. Try using a diffuser or shooting in the shade if outdoors.

- Experiment with practical's. Using lamps in the background of shots can provide a great opportunity to enhance your scene by adding depth and interest to your background.

- No lights? Try the window! If you're on a budget, shooting indoors and won't be using a lighting rig, try using window light to improve the contrast of your shots. Window light can be easily diffused with thin curtains and can provide a great balanced illumination of your subject.

Don't Forget Sound

Sound is often a second thought when filming people, but it is often the absolute most important thing to capture correctly.

Think of it like this, you can always use great audio from an interview with B roll laid over the top. But an interview with no sound is near enough useless.

Also consider that your audience are more likely to turn off a video if the audio is bad than if the camera work is bad.

Here's a few tips for gathering great sound:

- Step back and listen. If you stand in your shooting location and just listen for 30 seconds you can quickly pick up many distractions that you may not normally notice. Traffic, fridge's, air conditioners and planes can all go un noticed until it's too late.

- Check for echo's (echo's, echo's, echo's). If the room you are i is very large and empty then you are likely to pick up an echo. This can be a nightmare to work around after the interview and really hamper your audio quality.

- Get the microphone as close as possible to the subject. Whether you use a lavaliere or a shotgun mic, try get the microphone as close as possible to ensure clean, crisp, un-interrupted audio.

So that was our guide to creating a successful video interview. What do you think? Have you picked up any tips or have any tips to share with us? Or do you need help in filming your next interview project?

We always want to open the conversation. So get in contact with us today!


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