Conducting Quality On-Camera Interviews

The essence of a good interview lies in its being both informative and entertaining for viewers while the interviewee appears credible, comfortable, and cofident in answering the volley of questions posed by the interviewer.  

When it comes to conducting on-camera interviews, it is important to make sure that the interview is conducted in the right environment with the right equipment and production crew. Whether the purpose behind the interview is to create interviews, case studies or testimonials, it is important to get the set-up and preparation correct to ensure the interview goes smoothly and achieves the purpose it was meant for.

Tips for conducting impressive on-camera interviews:

Rehearsal

If time permits have the interviewee take up position and get used to the lights and camera. The interviewer can engage in casual chit-chat to relax the subject.

·         Once you have decided on the interview subject, prepare your list of questions. The next important step will be to determine the right stakeholder with experience in the topic. Although not essential it is often helpful to choose a person who has some “stage presence” so that they are comfortable on camera. The best on-camera interviews are often more about getting spontaneous answers that sound genuine and come straight from the heart. Try to avoid sharing questions ahead of interview. However, to get short, complete answers, you will need to coach your interviewees to come up with self-contained answers, including the spirit of the question. Failure to do so might pose challenges while you edit the interview.

·         Interview location is also an important element in the whole interviewing process, setting the stage for a perfect interview and reinforcing credibility. While you are creating testimonial videos or marketing videos, try to make sure the environment looks not only genuine, but also interesting, with adequate lighting, background and minimal ambient noise. It will also help to create suitable space for your camera and other equipment.

Audio

Audio is one of those parts of production that when done well nobody notices but when done poorly its really stands out. Getting clear audio is essential to a great interview piece. Depending on the location and budget you can generally use one of four options.

– On Camera micropohone. This is usually a last resort and will also pick up alot of ambient noise.

– Handheld Microphone- Audio from a handheld microphone is usually good quality however the drawback with this method is that the microphone is often quite obvious and can be distracting.

– Small lavalier mic. These are used extensively in tv and video production as they are discreet and stay with the speaker even if they move around the studio/location. They are often placed on the lapel but can also be hidden inside shirts, under jackets or other places that are not visible on camera.

– Boom microphone. The boom microphone often is the preferred method if location and style permits. The mic is placed on a boom stand that reaches above and slightly in front of the subject and is framed out of camera. This allows for rich audio withouot distracting microphones appearing on the screen.

·  Camera and light placement has can have an effect on the feel of the interview and the appearance of the subject.  For standard interviews camera height should be set in line with the subject’s sightline.

·  Position the interviewee in front of the background in order to draw attention to the subject and throw the background out of focus. Common backgrounds include branding material, office settings and outdoor locations. 

·  Avoid having your subject look directly into the camera, especially if they are not a professional spokesperson. Most people, unless experience are still not comfortable talking straight to camera. A good interviewer will help make them feel comfortable and have them focus only on answering your questions. 

A successful on-camera interview requires you to choose your subject and questions wisely, while managing the environment perfectly with good placement of the subject and lighting effects.