online video interviewThere are a number of ways that you can use interview in your corporate video. You may want to interview senior management in your company, staff, customers or partners. Depending on the genre and style of your corporate video, interview is likely to be a core element of your video. Shooting video interviews effectively isn’t as easy as it looks. We have already offered some tips on the technical aspects of shooting interviews. Here are some tips about conducting the interview itself in order to get the best from your interviewees.

1. Know what you are trying to achieve and prepare

Preparation for interviews is key. Without it, there isn’t much point. You need to establish what you want to get out of the interview and then conduct your preparation with this in mind. You should research your interviewee so that you can pitch your questions to them. Sometimes it is useful to send your questions to the interviewee in advance so that they have time to prepare.

2. Making contributors comfortable

Often you will be interviewing people who have never been interviewed in front of a camera before.

If you have an interview set up with lights and other gear your interviewee might feel intimidated or overwhelmed. You won’t get the best contribution from people who are feeling this way and so part of your role is to help your contributors feel comfortable.

This may include meeting informally prior to recording the interview. This will give you an opportunity to let them know, face to face, what they can expect. This informal meeting will also give you a chance to establish a relationship which will be beneficial to the on camera interview. As mentioned above, sending questions in advance will ease their nerves and improve the quality of your interview.

However, don’t practice the video interview. Practicing will destroy any spontaneity and may make the actual interview more difficult as the interviewee may feel they are trying to work to a script.

Eye contact and general rapport between the interviewer and interviewee will have a massive impact on the quality of the footage you shoot. You goal is as interviewer should be to be as personable and approachable as possible. Engage with your contributor as two people having a conversation. They will bounce off your manner so work to get it right.

3. Communication between video interviewer and camera operator

To get the best quality shots of your interview, take the time to brief your camera operator about what your goals are and what questions you are going to ask. You are likely to want close ups of interview responses that are more passionate or more emotional.

Your camera operator needs to be as tuned in to this as you are. If this isn’t possible, consider having some prearranged signals so that you, as interviewer, can give the camera operator instructions, mid-interview, without affecting the flow.

4. Asking the right types of questions

The results you get from your interviewee will very much be a reflection of how you have conducted the interviewee and how you have made them feel.

One specific example of this is the types of questions you ask. The obvious point is that you need to ask open questions. The alternative are closed questions which only provoke one word answers e.g. Question: “Did you enjoy your time with the company?” Answer: “Yes”.

Not particularly useful. Especially when you are probably aiming for stand alone responses. More usefully, you could ask “Tell us about your most memorable moment with the company”. Questions that start with “tell me…”, “explain…”, “how…” or “why” will leave room for nice, long, open replies.

5. Give the contributor some guidance about how to answer your questions

Giving your interviewee some guidance about how to answer your questions will give them some confidence and will also make the editing process a lot easier for you. In particular, encourage them to include your question in their answer. This will allow their response to stand alone (without the need for your question to be included in the footage).

Different people give different types of response. Some will be short and succinct. Others won’t be sure when to stop. It is this latter type that will be more difficult to edit. Consider giving these interviewees a goal so that you get more concise responses from them. E.g. “Tell me in 30 seconds what you have enjoyed most about working for this company”.

Video interviews are a perfect demonstrator of the fact that you only get out what you put in. They really do provide the main thread for many videos and are worth investing the time and energy.