February 26 , 2021
4 min read
Interview is one of a key element of video and TV production. News always involves people. Consistently, there will be a person or people who know what you need to know, or who have relevant opinions. Filming an interview can be not that easy as it seems, and even challenging sometimes. So you have to be prepared. Here are a few things that you should take into consideration.
- Do a research. Proper research is the key to getting a great interview. Find some information about an interviewee and the interview’s subject matter and generate a list of questions to ask.
- Location. The best location for an interview is usually one which gives the audience some information about the interviewee or the story that you’re covering. Make sure the location you choose is quiet, well-lit, and has a clean background.
- Double check. Take time to prep and check the equipment before you go to the shooting. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and memory cards — who knows how long it will take.
From a technical perspective.
- Framing. The camera should be positioned at or just below eye level of the interviewee. Follow the rule of thirds: try to position the subject either left- or right-of-center. NB! Unless your interviewee is intentionally speaking to the audience, (s)he should be looking off-camera at the “interviewer” and never directly into the camera.
- Light. Have your interviewee face the direction of the strongest light source in the space and position your camera, so that you’re shooting away from the light. Depends on the location, the strongest source will be the sun or a nearby window. In other cases, you will want to get creative with available lamps.
- Audio. Bad sound is a quick way to lose the attention of your audience. So be sure to use a lavalier, a boom, or a decent shotgun microphone to record the audio. Find a quiet area to film and make sure that you don’t have distracting background noise. Before you start recording, you’ll need to run a sound test.
- Ask the interviewee state and spell their name. Even if you know the name (and apparently you do), you should always ask and confirm the spelling; if it’s necessary, get the name of his or her organization and title.
- Avoid “yes” or “no” answers. Ask open-ended questions. That will elicit better and more interesting responses.
- Prepare, but be spontaneous. Don’t be afraid to ask unplanned questions, especially if the interviewee says something interesting or unexpected that you’d like to explore further. Sometimes these “spontaneous” questions & answers create the best moments. BUT! If the interviewee starts to ramble on about things that are off-topic, politely — but firmly — steer the conversation back on track.
- Have them repeat your question. Get the person to repeat back your question in their answer. For example, you ask, “What do you think about X situation?” The interviewee says, “As for the X situation, I think…”. This will help you with the storytelling and video editing later.
- Keep quiet. (Unless the camera has both of you in the shot and you are part of the story) Ask the question and then keep quiet. You don’t want to hear the “hmm…”,” sure”, “right” in the background. It is good to nod and make gentle facial expressions. But no sound!
- No zoom. The cameraman should not move the camera or use the zoom while the interviewee is speaking unless there is a good reason to do so. If you want to change the image size, do it while or before the next question.
- Don’t stop recording. Never stop recording until at least 10 seconds after the interviewee has stopped talking. You never know — they might add something important. At the very least it gives you a little pre/post roll so you can edit more easily.
- Shoot more than you need. B-roll is the additional footage used as cutaways in a video sequence. With b-roll, the speaker’s points can be reinforced with related imagery. So that it’s very important to film the b-roll in order make the interview more interesting. Also, film a few isolate details such as hand movements or facial expressions. That will give the editor more choices during the post-production.