The personal interview is perhaps the most powerful tool for video storytelling both online and off. Here are some ways we make your videos effective and more watchable.
1. WE Use a lavalier mic, AND a boom. We use the best microphones we can get our hands on. Amateurs use the mic mounted on the camera- hear the difference? Yup, WE can- and so can your viewers!
2. WE Monitor your sound... through headphones when you are interviewing and listen for problems with the mic, clothes rustling, wind, or other background noises.
3. WE Get proper audio levels… by using a manual setting and set the levels such that the signal only occasionally peaks in the -12db (decibels) range on the audio meter, and doesn’t hover in the “red” zone above that. The goal is to record the audio as loud as possible, but without distortion. Viewers will put up with bad video (as YouTube proves), but are very impatient with bad audio.
4. WE Use a tripod. While viewers have become used to “shaky cam” over the years, it can be hugely distracting in interview situations. We get stable, watchable video for you.
5. WE Frame your subject effectively... Following the “rule of thirds” when framing your video subjects to bring a more powerful and aesthetically pleasing composition to your interview. Do you know what that is? If NOT- hire a professional!
Rule of Thirds
6. WE Get close. Video is a close-up medium. WE frame the image of the interviewee to create a “chest shot”, or move in even closer. How close can be a stylistic preference, but setting up the shot to see the whole person can be difficult to pull off, as people can look awkward, distant, and usually not have a clue of what to do with their arms!
7. WE help you Choose where the interviewee should direct their answers. Consider directing your interviewee to talk “off-axis” to the interviewer (which may be you as both camera operator and interviewer.) Have them talk to you as you stand beside the camera, or to an imaginary person just a few degrees off-center. The alternative is to have them speak directly to the lens. This creates a very different feel to the interview, and is not recommended for non-professional talent. Whichever way you choose, stick with it throughout the production.
8. WE help you Prep your interviewee. By giving your interviewee some tips before starting the interview. Remind them that your questions will not be heard on the final edited program, so they should include some of your question in their answer to create a complete thought. Remind them that “electrons are cheap” and you can always stop and re-start if they aren’t happy with something they said or if they misspoke. We make them feel comfortable. It’s not easy being interviewed on camera.
9. WE Get their info on camera. and always begin the interview by asking your subject to say and spell their name aloud, and identify their position/title. This helps immensely when we are editing and adding their names with on screen fonts— Misspelling a name in a production is a major faux pas you want to avoid!
10. WE Express gratitude. We always thank your interviewee, for their time, expertise and for doing a great job!
Do these things look like they might help YOUR videos look better, sound better and connect with your audience? If so, give me a call or an email, and let me know how we can help!