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March 29th, 2013

How To Properly Prepare For On-Camera Interviews

Great looking on-camera interviews are imperative to corporate videos. Proper preparation for on-camera interviews combined with a few simple tips will lead to a great looking interview! Below are 6 tips which Frozen Fire follows to ensure a great product.

1. Make Your Interviewee Feel Comfortable for their On-Camera Interview

Most people are not comfortable or accustomed to being in front of a video camera. Make sure you help lighten the mood and ease the stress with the client each chance you get. Allow them breaks as needed to regroup and collect their thoughts.

2. Choosing Your Microphone

You have several options to choose from when it comes to getting the perfect audio for your interview. Here are a few options that are good to follow when setting up your mics for an interview.

If you are setting up in a quiet office room with carpet or rugs, opt for using a shotgun microphone boomed over the subject. A boom mic, positioned in the vocal arch will give you clean, clear audio without the sound of rustling clothing or having the risk of having your subject brush the microphone while gesturing. (Booms can be held in place easily with a c-stand attachment.)

Boom mics do pick up noise from the environment. If you are in a space with lots of activity, such as people talking or road noise, you will want to opt for a lavaliere microphone.  Boom mics will also pick up air conditioners. However, if you are careful to record room tone, noise filters combined with a music bed will remove the audio disturbance.

If you are using a lavaliere microphone, consider attaching the lav in plain sight and hiding the cord. The mic itself is small enough that viewers generally ignore it and you will have much less interference from your subject’s movement. If preferred, lavs can always be hidden, but proper precautions must be taken to achieve good audio.

3. Answering Questions

Try your best to give your interview subject the questions ahead of time and encourage them to think about and practice their answers ahead of time.

When asking interview questions, you want to make sure the interviewee includes the question in their answer. If you are asking: “How long have you been using the World’s Most Amazing Product” your subject would reply: “I’ve been using the World’s Most Amazing Product for 7 years…” This practice will endear you to the editor and will help your interviewee stick to the topic. Sometimes it can be difficult for an interviewee to re-phrase the questions in their answers, so try to give them a heads up that you will ask them to do this, so they can practice.

4. Wardrobe

Simple details like wardrobe can present some surprising obstacles to a good looking on-camera interview.

Ask your interviewee to avoid tight patterns. Many cameras (especially DSLRS) are susceptible to an effect called moiré, which makes tight patterns look like they are moving. This effect is very distracting and will greatly detract from your video.

If you are working with a background, make sure that you communicate your need for contrasting colors. It’s common sense, but if you don’t address it, you may end up shooting an interviewee in a white shirt against a white background!

Ask your subject to bring multiple wardrobe options so you have choices to ensure that you avoid wardrobe problems and your subject is confident and happy throughout the on-camera interview.

5. Physical Presentation

Taking care with a few physical details during your on-camera interview will help guarantee that your client is happy with the way they look in your video.

Invest in oil blotting cloths. These small, disposable cloths fit in any camera case easily and will help keep your subject’s T-zone oil free throughout an interview under hot lights. It is also great to have powder available for more extreme cases.

If you are in a pinch, paper towels will also help remove shine, but make sure that you ask your interviewee to blot rather than rub their face.

Having your interviewee stand will alleviate problems with posture and bunched up clothing. However, if your subject needs to sit, keep an eye out for bunched sleeves, shoulders, and make sure their shirts haven’t come half – untucked. (Also keep an eye out for the clasps on women’s necklaces and make sure they are positioned properly behind the neck.)

Normal facial expressions will often look severe in video, so always encourage your subject to smile. It may feel fake or odd to them, but it will make your content much more enjoyable.

6. Name Slate

In the age of computers, legible penmanship has become a rare trait, so the team at Frozen Fire always asks interviewees to say and spell their name on camera. Almost all on-camera interviews require the creation of a lower third during post production and this practice gives your team an important reference. Having them say and spell their name is also a great opportunity to confirm that you have the correct audio levels set!

There are other important aspects of filming interviews, such as lighting and the fine points of audio and camera settings, but you will be surprised how helpful our five simple tips will be when you film your own interview!

           

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