A Guide For The Interviewer
A big part of producing corporate training videos (or even video marketing and corporate video) involves shooting interviews or talking head type shots. Getting the picture, sound and general technical stuff right is one thing (which we’ve covered in other articles). However, someone has to conduct the actual interview and elicit the best responses for use in the final edit. This is by no means a walk in the park but getting the best content will ensure that your final film reaches its full potential. So here are some thoughts and tips from the angle of the interviewer and how to get the best our of your subject.
Firstly, prior to shooting do your research. This sounds like a no brainer but you’ll need to be sharp during the interview so that you don’t lose the energy. Most people aren’t naturally keen on going in front of camera so if you’ve worked hard to get them into the flow you don’t want to lose them by dithering over your questions.
Know What You Want
You should also have a very clear idea about the kind of responses you are looking for. Shooting interviews for Video marketing or corporate training videos is very different from press or news interviews in that you’ll probably be working to a brief with some pretty clear goals in terms of what you need to convey.
We often start with a “perfect world” list of answers that we wish to elicit, then work backwards from there and develop our questions and talking points based on the answers we want.
Warm Up Your Subject
Before starting the interview warm your subject up a little (especially if this is the first time you’ve met). Some chit chat goes a long way to helping them feel relaxed and gives you a better chance of capturing a natural feeling interview. A good tip here is to give them something about yourself. Try to find some common ground and volunteer up some personal information about yourself to try to establish a bond of trust.
Before rolling the camera also talk them through how the interview will run, ie where you want them to look (into camera or off camera to interviewer), give them a feel for the length of answer, and reassure them that there are “no wrong answers”.
Also suggest to them that it’s useful for them to give you some of your question back in their answer. This usually helps in the edit as often the interviewers voice is not required.
Make sure they are comfy if they are sat, and that their clothing is not riding up in any strange ways around their shoulders in the chair that you have provided.
Once you’re rolling always assume that you’re first question is going to be a throwaway. People often need a little time to find their flow so don’t go in with your big guns first. Your first questions can even be an extension of your pre-shoot chit chat.
If you have some quite specific comments you are looking for don’t be afraid to tell them. It’s sometimes easier for a subject if you give them a pointer of how to start their response.
Within your question list have the same key questions phrased in 2 different ways and ask that same question twice. It’s a great way of getting a second bite at some of the key points and you should have already primed them not to worry if they feel like they are repeating themselves. The 2 responses can always be edited together to form the best single delivery.
Ask open-ended questions and leave questions hanging a little for them to fill in. You’re certainly not looking for “yes” or “no” answers so give them the opportunity to get descriptive.
When wording your question try to give them something to work from and don’t be afraid to get personal. Asking people how they feel about something often produces great soundbites that give the answers a more powerful emotional element. This goes a long way to creating compelling corporate training videos or video marketing in general.
Be quiet. In a normal conversation you’d tend to make noises of agreement to show who you’re talking to that you’re interested. However you don’t really want these sounds on mic during an interview so maintaining a facial expression of interest along with eye contact goes a long way to helping the subject feel like you want to hear what they are saying.
Finally ask good follow up questions to their answers, it shows that you have been paying attention and can lead to good additional information if they have only brushed over a subject initially.
At the end of the day people generally love talking and telling stories. But they also generally dislike being filmed. So if you can engage them as an interviewer to such a degree that they forget about the camera then you’ll generate some fantastic material for your corporate training videos.