Video Interview Tips

I had a recent email conversation with someone looking to do a basic video interview, but hoping to avoid typical mistakes that make the video boring or hard to watch. I wanted to share the thread for others who may be similarly interested!

Would like some advise from you. Our parenting ministry is doing a project interviewing couples and taping the interviews. About 30 minutes for each couple.

Any suggestion on background, and how to tape to make it less boring than just setting the camera on the tripod? We’ll be doing it at church.

 I used to teach how to do better video interviews at Stanford, so hopefully I can share some good tips. =]
  • You absolutely want to use a tripod for interviews. “Boring” is better than something that makes people seasick. =] 
  • In terms of background, probably the plainer the better. Try to avoid distracting background elements that appear to grow out of people’s heads, like plants, poles, etc. 
  • I would advise not having people look directly at the camera. Have them talk to the interviewer, not the camera. They will feel more comfortable and it will look more natural in the video.
  • The essence of good interviews is good audio. If it doesn’t sound good (e.g. one person’s voice is loud and the other is too soft, or there’s background noise or buzzing/hissing), the audience gets distracted and won’t have much patience for the video. If you have lavaliere/lapel mics or shotgun mics, use them!
  • Ruthlessly edit and remove unnecessary video segments so that the final product is to the point (if it is meant to be watched by an audience). If certain things the interviewees say don’t actually contribute to answering the question, etc, it should be cut out.
My favorite tutorial on producing awesome high-quality video interviews is here, but be warned — there’s a lot more work involved to “do it right!”: 

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