Pulling off effective video interviews isn’t as easy as you may think. No, it doesn’t involve the same kind of planning and preparation that must go into shooting a narrative scene, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require any planning and preparing at all, nor that everything’s smooth and simple once you’ve done your preparations.
First of all, there’s your subject to consider, and if that subject isn’t too familiar with the video production process, then it can be quite a challenge at times to make he or she feel comfortable and natural. After all, having a bunch of people, equipment, and lights surrounding you can be unsettling.
So, being that we’ve pulled off plenty of effective interviews in our time doing video production in NJ and NY, we thought we’d pass on a few tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way that should help.
1. Use an interviewer the subject is comfortable with.
Depending on your particular production and project, it may not always be possible to have someone that the interview subject knows and is somewhat comfortable with be the one who actually asks the questions, but when it is possible, that’s the way to go. In fact, it can change the entire atmosphere of the interview.
Think about it, acting and answering naturally is absolutely key to any video interview’s success, but like mentioned above, acting naturally isn’t always the easiest thing to do when you’ve never, or barely, been a part of making any videos in the past. Once those lights come on, it an be pretty weird, to say the least.
That’s why getting someone your subject already has some type of relationship with can go such a long way toward getting an awesome interview. While the lights, equipment, crew, etc., will all still be there, having a familiar face and familiar voice with which the subject can converse and answer will make everyone a lot more comfortable.
It’s not just getting past those initial nerves, either. A familiar interviewer will also have a much better chance of getting into a natural, free-flowing conversation with the subject as they’ve probably done so in real life in the past, and that kind of exchange is precisely what you need to make an effective video interview.
2. Strategically design your questions.
No one’s saying that you should lead your subject into answering in the exact fashion you want, because then what’s the point of doing the interview? You might as well just be making a scripted narrative at that point, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be designing your questions to give yourself the best shot at getting great answers.
It starts with being as specific as possible in terms of the kind of information you’re looking for with each question. The more specific you are, the more specific the answers you get will be, and vice versa. If you’re vague with the questions you ask, then you can probably expect some pretty vague answers, and that’s never a good thing.
From there, it’s all about giving the subject an opportunity to truly expound and elaborate, which requires open-ended questions. The last thing you want is to get a bunch of quick, abrupt answers that offer no real detail or insight, and if you ask the wrong kinds of questions, then that’s exactly what you’ll get.
If you want to even design your questions so that you provide subtle hints in terms of the information you’re looking for, then that’s okay, too. Just remember that you don’t want to provide your subjects with the actual answers and then just have them repeat. Instead, the objective should be to provide them with questions that make giving great answers smooth and easy.
3. Keep everyone involved in the loop.
One of the best ways to set people at ease is to be up front and honest about yourself, your specific mission and objective for making the video, the shoot itself, etc., from the start. All plans, thoughts, ideas, and expectations should be made common knowledge for all involved in the video interview, including the subject.
Trust us, it’ll only help to make him or her more comfortable and, again, that’s critical to getting a great interview. If the subject has a deeper understanding of you and your goals, then it’ll only help to give him or him a little more confidence as well as help with how they articulate their answers.
So, from the very first moment that your subject arrives and settles in, don’t hesitate to start passing on information and building that connection that will be essential to creating the right atmospheres for the interview. Let him or her know all that you expect to happen as well as all that you want to happen.
Let them know why, exactly, you’re looking for this specific kind of information out of them and what you ultimately intended to do with it. The point is, give them all the details they could possibly need to get comfortable and confident and to give better answers.
We’ve done plenty of awesome interviews in our time in video production in NJ and NY.
We’ve also done our share of bad ones, whether it was the result of the subject, an unexpected occurrence on set, etc. The bottom line is that we’ve seen the difference, and trust us, anything that could possibly help you end up with an amazing interview is worth exploring, because the alternative will render all your hard work pointless. We hope these tips help. Good luck!
About Us: KVibe Productions, one of the top NJ & NYC video production companies creating video content of all kinds, can handle every aspect of the process. And whether it’s a commercial, a corporate video production, or a feature film, at KVibe, we always create to inspire.