Interviews can be tedious to shoot; while some can be done and over within just a few minutes, others can take hours or days to get through. When it comes to filming an interview you want to understand that there is more to it than just capturing one person answering a long list of questions. You want to film it in a way that keeps people interested without distracting from the key focus – the person being interviewed.
How do you film an interview that is dynamic and engaging? Below we’ll discuss just how to accomplish this with 5 easy tips.
Tips for Filming an Interview
Do the Prep Work
Do your research to learn more about who is being interviewed. Have an outline for what needs to be covered. Interviews can go in many directions and having an outline will help you ensure the most important aspects are covered. An outline will also give you an idea of how the interview will progress. Interviews tend to start with more lighthearted questions to set up a safe space then the harder more thought-provoking questions are asked.
Aside from an outline, you will work from you want to send the person being interviewed a brief checklist to limit surprises in the day of the shoot. This list should include a brief overview of what they can expect on the day of the shoot, what clothing they should consider, and contact information if they have any question or need to inform you of last minute changes.
Do you want the person being interviewed to keep their attention on the interviewer or on the camera? This is often an overlooked, very vital, aspect of properly shooting an interview. You want to keep to have the line of reference consistent throughout filming so decide where the person needs to look and ensure they maintain this line of eye contact. Also, consider if the person conducting the interview will be seen on camera or not. You want to ensure everyone on set understands where each person should be position in relation to the camera and to the lights.
You can have everything perfectly lit and the interview could have gone perfectly but, if you don’t have the right sound this could all be for nothing. You want to ensure you are working with the best sound equipment as well as a professional audio engineer. Poor sound is the fastest way to lose the attention of the audience and should be considered the most important aspect of the interview. Don’t forget to record the natural noise of the room where no one is talking so you have these to help cover up and sudden changes in the sound when filming.
If you are working with a low-budget set up, check out some of these lavalier microphones to try out and help improve your sound quality.
Camera Set Up
You should always try to shoot with at least two cameras when possible, and three or more is probably ideal. This will allow you to shoot the person being interviewed from different angles which can make editing a lot easier. It will also allow you to have a camera on the person conducting the interview if you decide to include them in the final version. With multiple cameras set up you have more options to cut between shots, so if the person you are filming ends up pausing slightly in the middle of an answer to cough or sneeze you will be able to cut to a different angle that might not show this action on camera.
It is best to continue to film through the entirety of the interview, even when there are no questions being asked as these can often lead to candid comments or reactions that can be used when editing. Aside from the full interview, there are a few additional shots you want to record. You want to have a few different reactions shots, such as having the person nodding in response to a question. You also want to get a few close-ups of the person especially of the hands which can make great edits that can help build upon the mood of the interview.
Filming an interview can take a lot of prep work and planning. Each aspect of an interview needs to be carefully considered to ensure that not only the filming runs smoothly but so that you have enough footage to edit the interview so that it is engaging and intriguing.