Promotional videos make regular use of interviews. Whether CEOs or satisfied customers, we rely on talking heads to communicate a huge amount of information in promotional videos. Some people are more natural than others on camera, and often you won’t know who’s who until the camera rolls, so we have put together 9 guidelines that will give you best chance of success in any interview.
(This advise focuses on the interview itself, we are assuming you have chosen your interviewee wisely and prepared your lines of questioning well).
1. First, introduce yourself talk your interviewee through your schedule. How long the interview will take, what questions you are going to ask. If they are apprehensive, you can alleviate some of that by removing uncertainties.
2. Before the camera rolls, ask some straightforward questions to get them talking freely about themselves. E.g. Where did you come from today? How did you travel? What are you doing for the rest of the afternoon?
3. Ignore the camera, just talk to me.
4. The answer is in the question. In formulating your question you can let the interviewee know where you want their answer to go. E.g. Wasn’t the ensemble incredible? How did you feel they worked together?
5. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewee to answer the same question again. More often than not people know they rambled and will thank you for the opportunity to summarise what they said.
6. Don’t talk over your interviewee. Don’t laugh or mmm or ahh. Your editor will thank you for this.
7. Ask the interviewee to pause briefly before they begin their answer. In conversation it’s natural to start answering as someone’s question tails off and you know what you want to say – but doing it on camera it makes the edit very difficult.
8. Make your questions to the point, don’t reformulate or expand on them unless the interviewee clearly didn’t understand.
9. Be encouraging and receptive at all times. When the camera is rolling this means smiling and nodding noiselessly (this can feel quite manic but it’s not). When you cut, be grateful for their time.
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