Shooting an interview is not as easy as it looks.

There are lots of things you need to consider when filming an interview.

You need to know what equipment and expertise you will need to film the interview.  What is the format of the interview? How long will an interview last?  What questions will you ask?  What background information do you need to know? Is your interviewer up to the task?

What makes a good interviewer?

There are several important things that you need to master to be an effective interviewer:

  1. Friendly technique and good verbal skills
  2. Good at retaining background knowledge
  3. Patient
  4. Good at understanding people

How to do an interview?

1.  Prepare for the Interview

Tips on preparing well for the interview

  • Know your goals
  • Do your background research on the topic
  • Formulate your interview questions
  • Find a good place for the interview
  • Have backup equipment ready to go

A. Know your Goals

In preparing for the interview, you should first need to be clear of your ultimate goals. For example, will the interview be friendly, hostile, etc. Are you trying to get the interviewee to open up personally or about their business etc.?

B. Do your background research on the topic

You should always do as much research as possible. Watch and read previous interviews that are similar subject to yours. If possible read previous interviews from the subject you plan to interview and build your questions/focus from what you think worked.

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C. Formulate Your Interview Questions

Prepare at least 20 to 30 questions per 30 minute interview. This will enable you to ask questions that suit where the conversation is going. Be ready to ask impromptu questions during the interview.  The key is to get the information that you outlined in your goals. Remember, the more comfortable your interviewee, the better the chance of them opening up.

First, start by asking simple questions.  Asking simple questions will make your interviewee feel at ease.

A good idea is to get a little background on the subject.  You can ask your interviewee from where he or she is from and build in from there. These might seem like silly questions that won’t interest your viewer. However, you can always edit them out later. Their purpose is to relax the interviewee and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera.

A person tends to forget the tension after several minutes when the mood is light.  When you see that he or she is at ease, you can ask the hard questions related to your topic.

D. Look for a Willing Guest for the Interview

If you are doing street interviews, you might find that getting participants for an interview is not easy.  Should anyone agree to be a participant in front of a camera, they won’t do very well if the interviewer asks hard questions. Unless the interview is lengthy, try to keep questions simple and straightforward.

If you are planning an interview with a specific subject then this is not a problem as they will have already agreed to the interview beforehand.


2.  Film The Interview

A. Prepare the Set

Prepare your set before your interviewee arrives.  Make sure that it is ready 30 minutes before the start of an interview.  This will help ensure things go smoothly.

Adjust the light based on your interviewee’s height and wardrobe.   Good lighting is essential as most interviews are one shot deals.

Placement of the camera is also important.  You should make sure that the camera will capture everything you need.  Adjust every angle for good filming. It is a good idea to have multiple cameras going. Try to film the subject from at least two angles and the interviewer too.

Always be prepared for last minute changes.  Things can take unexpected turns at any time.

B. Camera and Subject Placement

Always remember camera placement and subject placement are vital.   You can film your subject straight on or at an angle. Straight on is generally recommended.

C. Feel Relax and Start the Interview

It is important that both of you and the interviewee feel relaxed and comfortable. If you sense they are on edge, ask a few questions before the interview starts. Also, for longer interviews, discuss the process with your interviewee. This will make them feel more relaxed.

During the interview, continue recording even if your interviewee messes up their answers.   You will find that you can edit your video later to get the best out of the information they give.

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D. Listen

Always pay full attention to what your interviewee is saying. There is a temptation when interviewing someone to focus on what the next question you is about to ask will be. This is wrong. Listen carefully and let things flow.

Observe their body language and facial expressions.  Use your body language to keep them interested. Nod your head if you agree with them or to show that you are fully listening to them.

Other Tips:

  • Remember to get the permission of your interviewee to avoid legal problems.
  • Always carry with you extra batteries for your camera.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time booked for your interview to avoid rushing.
  • Avoid asking yes or no questions.

That’s it. Good luck with your interview.


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