How to Make a Video Interview
Interviews are all the rage now. They are the ultimate form of video content; you can shoot a movie review, a podcast, an interview, etc. by having the most basic interview equipment.
Why video interviews are so popular nowadays?
Interviews are generally hard, especially if you are talking to a person that isn’t experienced in talking in front of a camera and feeling uncomfortable in the process. But this isn’t always the case, and the person who carries out the interview should not mumble and must know the things they want to ask and in which way to react in unpredictable scenarios. So why is this form of video content so popular? It is about honesty; it is about getting an interesting person to talk about interesting topics. And, as you can probably guess, it makes up for some interesting content indeed.
Interviews became one of the main ways of promoting products, services, and really anything a company or a person may want to promote. It mostly concerns movies, music albums, etc.
Where you can use a video interview?
But while it is easy to say that something is popular or can be quite beneficial to the success of either a product or a company, how can you implement something like that? Where can you use a video interview? Well, let’s find out.
YouTube, as we’ve mentioned in some of our other articles, is the ultimate platform for video (and, to some extent, audio) content. Sure, there are some restrictions here and there, and you cannot use copyrighted content, scenes of violence, or pornography, but other than a few minor rules that are very much self-explanatory, you are free to do whatever you want. The same goes for interviews. Some people have made careers for themselves by either making podcasts or recording interviews with people of contemporary interest to their viewers.
You have to be a bit careful here because people now are quite savvy, and they smell BS from a mile away; you cannot fool them, even if you’ve got Shaq himself promoting your company, a person watching your ad will just neglect everything they hear. Thus, when it comes to making promotional interviews, you have to be careful, make it look and sound authentic, and bring up legitimate points that can get a person interested. And then, on TV, you are limited to only a couple of seconds of the viewer’s attention.
Video ads on social media
Most rules of promo videos apply to ads on social media, but you are aiming your content at a different audience and age group, and you have more freedom when it comes to such choices. Social media ads are oriented at a younger audience which has different standards on what they find appealing.
Key equipment for making a video interview
Let’s now look into the main technical components you must have in order to record a video interview and make it look and sound truly memorable and interesting.
So, how to interview a person? What equipment should you have in store?
The right camera
Even the most basic camera of an iPhone or any other popular smartphone will look like a very pricy professional camera in the right hands of a pro. But don’t get me wrong, if you are reading this article, this means that you are very much new to shooting videos and, thus, cameras in general. Buying the right camera may be the hardest and most expensive part of the preparation process. But generally speaking, following the instructions one can find on a forum will be good enough. You may be quite surprised to find out how many answers Google has in store for you. If we have to pick one camera that can be bought on a budget which proved itself to be a quality product, then it has to be the Canon EOS Rebel T6, a great camera for the beginners.
Lighting for a video interview is very important to the success of your operation. A basic flashlight taped to a stick won’t do; when you are sold a piece of light equipment, you are not scammed because there is a reason why you need it in the first place. Interviews imply long, steady, and continuous shots of faces, and faces should be well-lit in order to make them feel expressive and alive. If you are going to have a few cameras running at the same time, then you have to test out whether your light will look good from all the angles.
Sound recording equipment
A decent shotgun mic is what you need in order to record interviews. While interviews are, in general, quite cheap to shoot compared to other forms of video content, the one thing you cannot screw up is sound because the things a person you invited has to say is the main attraction of your video. The RØDE NTG2 is a very decent product that isn’t that expensive; it proved itself to be a very reliable piece of sound recording equipment.
A tripod may not sound like the most exciting piece of equipment; you may think that it’s just a stick that is heavily overpriced, but you are completely wrong if it’s the case. A tripod allows you to place your camera in just the right position; if you have no experience in any form of camera work, then you won’t be able to understand how many small changes will have to be made to make the image look great. Shift it slightly to the right, a bit to the left, a bit lower, no-no-no, a bit higher, and you just can’t do it with a mug or a stick.
Tips for a video interview
Now that you know a thing or two about video interviews, the ways in which you can use them, and all the main equipment that you are going to need, let’s now talk about some other important video interview tips that will definitely come in handy to you if you plan on shooting an interview.
Find out enough information about a person you will speak with
Here’s the first of the tips for video interviews you should remember. The most embarrassing thing you can do, other than not having a camera or a mic, is to not know a single thing about a person you invited to have an interview with. It is embarrassing and insulting. Even guys like Joe Rogan that do almost daily podcasts with all sorts of different people manage to know at least a few things about their guests, and if you don’t plan on doing it daily, then there is no reason for you to not do some investigation on a person you plan on interviewing.
Prepare a list of topics you want to discuss and set a goal
How to interview someone? A discussion should not be overly structured, but you should be always prepared and have a few questions up your sleeves so as not to look like an unprepared rookie in the eyes of viewers and an interviewee. If you plan on bringing a scientist to interview, you, first, have to find out a few things about them, about their biography, about their recent work, and then create a plan based on the things you’ve found out or couldn't find out. Ultimately, your interview should not fall on its face after a few questions were asked. Have a certain goal in mind and lead the interview to some important question. Thus, you should prepare some video interview questions in advance. There are also various video interview techniques you can find on the internet; some of them are quite fascinating and neat indeed.
Use a couple of cameras
How to do a video interview? Having one camera is not a sin, and sure, the main attraction of the video is a person you’ve invited on your show or for an interview, but switching from angle to angle at the right moments is a very important part of properly presenting your video. A static, continuous shot will get very boring and tedious, which will, in turn, make the entire interview look this way.
Choose a really good location
This one should be very much self-explanatory, but if you are not that creative, a simple room with a decent background that will not distract a viewer and will work great with your light equipment is enough to record a decent interview. After that, you can get more creative and spend more money on either your own studio or renting a fitting place for an interview. Be cautious with any form of shooting outdoors, as all sorts of noises may mess up the entire interview; even if it’s just wind that you don’t seem to hear, all of the noise will be captured by your mic.
Don't transform your talk into Q&A
True, an interview is, for the most part, a one-sided affair, and the main focus of it is to hear something interesting from a person you’ve invited, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot voice your opinions or have any personality. There is no reason to be overly dramatic or try to be the most charismatic guy in the room, but you should at least sound and look like a worthy interlocutor to a person that you have an interview with.
Maintain eye contact
This is something that will be very easy for some people, and very hard for others when it comes to recording an interview video. This is especially important in the case of podcasts and interviews, as most people need some time in order to get used to being in front of a camera in order to be able to switch eye contact from the viewer and the interviewee in just the right time and not look awkward in the process.
Add more video content on a post-production stage
This stage is optional in interviewing, as some podcasts and videos alike have little to no editing but look and sound great, but it all comes at a price. For the bare minimum, you can add an intro, splice in the name of your interviewee and yourself, and then, at the end of the interview, give people the ability to follow a person on social media or etc., maybe even include an outro of some sort.
Be sure sound is really good
You have to make sure that you are recording the sound, and that the sound is decent because, otherwise, you will potentially lose so much important footage, so many great quotes, and so much interesting information just because the sound was messed up for one reason or another. Even the people that can call themselves very experienced in this field make mistakes from time to time, and this is why you need a person monitoring the shooting process.
Now you are ready for a video interview. The only thing it takes is to invite an interesting person that you find at least somewhat exciting to have an interview with, set up all the equipment, make sure that it works, prepare a plan, schedule the interview, find out information about a person, and then hope that the sound won’t go off mid-interview. As you can see, the process of shooting a video interview is very easy and quite intuitive.