Video Interviews

If you are planning a project that includes some video interviews then this is our guide to how to get it right. A talking heads style video is more straightforward than a how-to video showing the viewer a process. If you want to know more about producing a how-to video then take a look at our blog telling you all about it.

What makes video interviews different

Video interviews are a great way to capture someone’s thoughts or share information on a given subject. If you are planning on producing a video that uses lots of interviews then there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, interviews aren’t scripted. This means people will make mistakes or run out of steam as they’re talking. It’s a good idea to share your question list with your interviewee so they can prepare. But at the same time you want them to sound natural and not forced. A natural delivery will mean they sound more knowledgeable and more trustworthy to the viewer.

All this means that you are going to have to edit the interview. For a professional and easy to watch video this means either using ‘cutaway’ or ‘b-roll’ footage or shooting the interview from two different angles. Both can work very well, but obviously shooting extra cutaway footage of the things the person is talking about will take more time. If you don’t have cutaway footage or a second angle camera then you have two choices. You can use transitions such as fade to black between cuts or enlarge every other cut by at least 30%. Enlarging is fine if you have shot in 4K (the highest picture quality most cameras will allow), but if you have shot in ordinary HD it means you will noticeably lose picture quality.

Jump cuts

Jump cuts, where you chop a bit out of the footage without cutting to a different angle or new footage, often look choppy and confusing. Some edit software has a special function for blending footage together which can be used to ‘mend’ a jump cut. This can work in a pinch, but only if the person in the footage doesn’t move around too much. If that happens then the effect can look a little peculiar.

Getting video interviews right

Video interviews are usually very straightforward to get right. Here is our list of top tips for making sure any interview-driven videos look spot on.

– Make sure your interview location is reasonably quiet and interesting to look at. A little bit of noise can be OK as long as the viewer can see where the noise it coming from. For example, if you are in the street and a car drives by quietly then as long as the car is in shot that’s fine. This is because the the viewer can see what is making the noise. Just make sure you can still clearly hear the person speaking.

– Make sure your interviewees look the part and are dressed how you want them to be. Also, watch out for messy hair and make-up. It’s also worth asking your interviewees to avoid dressing in tight stripes or clashing colours as this can look odd on camera.

– Accept that you will probably need to edit the footage from the interview. Try to decide if you want to shoot using two cameras placed at different angles or gather cutaway footage to illustrate what the person is talking about.

– Make sure your audio and picture quality are up to the job.


You might like to read our previous post on professional video production

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