Getting interviewed for a video for your organization can cause anxiety for even the most confident of folks on your team. But speaking eloquently, concisely, clearly, and with the correct tone to connect with your organization's audience, is critical for an effective "corporate" video. Whether it is an overview video, product demo, company culture video, or beyond.
Making sure folks putting their best foot forward on-camera is sometimes easier said than done.
With that in mind, The Video Garage's Associate Producer/Editor, Ruby Kinnamon, has put together a list of approaches that we use with our video interviews so folks represent their organization as on-brand, comfortably, and as engaging as possible:
Preparing, leading, and recording a video interview is a bit of an art. There are so many elements to keep track of, and ultimately, your knack for interviewing will determine the final footage you get. Here are a few things to consider before you sit down for the interview:
Before you can even brainstorm interview questions or topics, you’ll need to decide whose voices you want to share with your audience. Consider the following:
– Perspective: Understanding the perspective of your interviewee will help you ask the right questions to get interesting and relevant answers. If there are multiple interviews in your final piece, having different and complementary perspectives from your interviewees is especially important to give the final product more depth. If your interviewees have the same perspective, then you might end up with redundant answers. It’s helpful to think about how each interviewee is contributing to the overall message of the project and if they’re the best person to speak to a specific topic.
– Expertise: In any project, it’s important to know what you want the viewer’s takeaway to be. So, it’s important for the people you interview to have the knowledge that you want to pass on to your audience. Seek out interviewees who are experts in whatever your project’s topic is. Expertise doesn’t necessarily mean a professor with a Ph.D. (although that might be a good idea for a project about quantum entanglement, for example). An expert can be anyone with unique knowledge, like a first hand witness to an event, or someone who has endless passion for a topic.
As an interviewer, your main job is to get the most interesting answers out of your interviewees. Usually, that begins with exciting questions. The questions you ask will greatly depend on the scope, angle, and topic of your project.
– Use perspective and expertise: It’s good to think about what your interviewee has to offer and frame your questions around that. Tailor your questions around each interviewee’s strengths and knowledge, so their unique perspective can have a voice in your project. Sometimes it’s helpful to watch or read any interviews they’ve done before to get a sense of questions they’ve already answered and their style of responding.
– Storytelling: As you put your project together, you will probably have some idea of the story you’re trying to tell. Write interview questions that touch on the important pillars of that story so you can be sure you’re getting the interviewees’ perspectives, and that you have enough footage to present the main pillars to the audience.
– Open-Ended Qs: For the most part, it’s good to avoid questions that are very close-ended, like yes or no questions. You want to ask questions that get your interviewee talking, and talking, and talking! For example, instead of asking, “Was that experience exciting for you?”, ask “What was so exciting about that experience?”. It’s also good to channel your inner therapist when you want to hear more on a specific question: “How did that make you feel?” or “What else do you remember about that?”.
– Follow Curiosity: After you’ve made sure to jot down some of the more important questions in regards to your final project, one of the most important guideposts is your own curiosity. What about this person is most interesting to you? What would you like to know about their experience? If something about them surprises you, ask about that.
Now that you’ve got the experts and production ready, what is important to remember on the day of the interview?
– Shoot multiple angles: Interviewees are human beings, and they will speak like human beings! That means there will be ums, pauses, slip-ups, and rambling. Shooting multiple angles is a great way to hide cuts between sections of dialog.
– Warm up the interviewee: Most people you interview won’t be used to sitting in front of cameras on a set. Some people are more shy than others, but it’s always a good idea to chat with your interviewee before you get into the questions. This will make them more comfortable with you and the setup, and lead to a more honest and conversational interview. Keep them relaxed by offering breaks, water, and encouragement.
– Encourage Interviewee to restate the question in the answer: Depending on the final format of the video, it’s probably a good idea as often the final video script will not include the interviewer’s audio.
– Let it flow: Even after prepping interview questions, be sure to let the interview lead you where it naturally goes. If an interesting point comes up, don’t move on to the next question right away. Sometimes the most interesting moments are the ones that you can’t predict!
– The long pause: A classic old interview trick is the long pause. People hate silence, and they’ll do anything to fill it. If you want an interviewee to elaborate, try to avoid filling in the silence. (If you can’t deal with the awkward silence either, a good trick can be to keep writing notes.)
I hope this primer is helpful to you as you plan your video needs. If you have any questions or comments, or if The Video Garage can help bring value to your organization, please click here to reach out to us!