Tips for Getting Good Video Interviews

Posted on 3/21/2010 by Gail A Mooney | Printable Version | Comments (0)

More and more still photographers are getting into video because of the appeal of the hybrid still cameras that also shoot video.  Photographers love the visual coming out of these big chip cameras – what’s not to love?  But they quickly find out that if they aren’t just going to be laying visuals down to a music track, they will need to start thinking about their audio – specifically a narrative track or one driven by sound bites from interviews.  I work in the corporate sector, as well as create documentaries, so I do a lot of interviews.  The interviews, along with a scripted voiceover comprise my audio track and drive the story.  

I love doing interviews.  That’s because I’ve always been a curious person and like to ask questions.  I enjoy the “conversation”. I don’t want to become part of the video, even though I am usually the one asking the subject questions.  My voice and my questions will not be heard in the final video, so I need to coach my subjects to paraphrase the question when they relay their answers.  But before I get to the interview, I research my subject and come up with a good solid list of questions to ask in advance.  

Here are some tips for getting good interviews:

1.    Ask leading questions – not yes or no questions.  Example:  Instead of asking where do you work?  Ask: Tell me about where you work.
2.    Ask subject to paraphrase the question if you don’t want the interviewer to be part of the video.
3.    Don’t step on your subject’s lines.  Instruct your subject to pause before answering the question.  In addition, make sure that you pause after your subject answers the question.  Many times someone will add more insightful information to fill in that pause.
4.    Ask the question more than once.
5.    If your subject rambles – ask them to summarize their thoughts.

6.    Use gestures to encourage and guide subjects – remember you don’t want to hear your comments.
7.    Be a good listener – many times my best questions are follow up questions to something that the interviewee just said.
8.    Pay attention to your subject’s answers because you’ll need to illustrate what the subject is talking about with B-roll.
9.    Pick a suitable location for sound.  Find a quiet environment and turn off all fans, motors, radios etc.
10.    Record room tone – you’ll need it when you edit the sound bites.

Copyright © 2010 Gail A Mooney. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Gail Mooney is a partner with Kelly/Mooney Productions, a video production company specializing in corporate, NGO's and institutional videos.


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff