Interviewing for Video: 5 Best Practices

The popularity of videos has grown exponentially over the past few years and trends show that it’s not stopping any time soon. If you’re working in PR, marketing or social media, you’ll probably have to record a video at some point. Whether you’re a video pro or just starting out, these best practices are going to help take your videos to the next level.

1. Always bring headphones

  • You MUST always bring headphones to listen while you interview. You should have both headphones in your ears as you are talking to the interviewee. You will hear them perfectly if the mic is set up properly.
  • You will also be able to pick up any accidental contact with the mic. For example, if the person hits the mic with their hand or if their hair is brushing up against it. If this happens, ask the person to stop, adjust the mic accordingly, and ask them to start their answer again.

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2. DO NOT make any sounds when a person is speaking

  • Try not to verbally respond to them. Including ‘Mmhhmmm’ or ‘Ok’ or ‘yeah,’ etc. This WILL be picked up by the mic (they are very sensitive). You may nod your head. This may feel awkward, but it will result is a much cleaner, easier to edit video.

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3. Follow the 3 second rule throughout

  • Press the record button, count quietly to 3, then start the interview.
  • After the subject has concluded their thought, count quietly to 3, then ask the next question or make a comment.
  • When the interview is over, count quietly to 3 before turning off the camera.
  • If you feel like this is awkward, you can use that 3 seconds to (quietly) write down some thoughts, move around papers, or pretend to adjust your headphones.
  • This time is used for transitioning the clips during the video.

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4. Never backlight your interview subject

  • This includes putting a subject in front of a window, the sun, directional light etc.
  • Having the space behind a person lit is fine. But the light should not be shining toward the subject’s back and into the camera lens.

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5. Avoid shadows on a person’s face

  • Sometimes shadows cannot be avoided when you are out and about, but when possible it is best to avoid shadows on a subject’s face. Shadows can make a person look dirty, sinister or just odd.
  • When using lighting kit: the general set up should be as seen to the right. This will typically minimize any shadows.
  • When using natural light:
    • Try to film your subject in total shadow (under a tree, or near a building). This will diffuse light and make it softer on the subject’s face.
    • Have them face toward the sun as much as possible (this will allow light to hit them directly).
    • Bring a white piece of paper or cardboard to diffuse light and reflect it on the subject.

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Ashley DuPuy and Mary Parkinson are Franco’s video experts and can be reached at dupuy@franco.com and parkinson@franco.com.

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