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Interviewing for video - an underrated skill

Filming an interview isn't as easy as the professionals make it seem. Yet more and more people are being asked to fulfill this role within corporate environments.

At Vanilla Films, we've had years of BBC training and experience to stand us in good stead. We've interviewed all sorts, from members of the cabinet to A-list celebrities. Victims of crime to captains of industry. So, what can you do when you're asked to film somebody from your Senior Management Team for a quarterly report, the CEO for an end of year message or a loyal customer for a testimonial video?

Of course, there are the technicalities. Lighting, audio, camera set up, framing, cutaways. But amongst all that, you also have to ensure that your interviewees are relaxed, your questions elicit the right responses and that you leave feeling confident you have everything you need to cut together a strong and engaging piece which is completely on message.

Here are some of our top tips:

1. Preparation is key. Consider the questions you're going to ask and the answers you need to get to tell the story you need. But be prepared to stray from your questions on the day if your interviewee gives you additional information which is of value.
2. Try and speak with your interviewee in advance. Especially important if you don't know them and need to build a relationship. But also so you can gauge what they might say on camera.
3. Begin with questions to put your interviewee at ease e.g. what they had for breakfast (TV speak for an audio check!), how their journey in was etc. 
4. Ask open ended questions which prompt responses, and which don't just end with a 'yes' or 'no'.
5. Although you might be pre-occupied with the camera and sound, or simply with the list you need to get through, ensure you make enough eye contact with your contributor throughout and pay them attention.
6. Listen carefully to the answers being given, as opposed to concentrating on the next question you have to ask. You have to know when you've secured the answer you need and be sure you have got it in the most succint way possible. Never be afraid to ask someone to repeat their response in a briefer way.

Good luck!

Debra, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Vanilla Films

020 8445 8324