Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /mnt/shared-stack/plugins/elementor-pro/3.23.0-cloud1/modules/dynamic-tags/tags/post-featured-image.php on line 39 5 Tips on Conducting Video Interviews for a Documentary

Written By:

5 Tips on Conducting Video Interviews for a Documentary

The process of conducting video interviews for a documentary requires some essential planning and preparation even for someone that has a background understanding of film and video production. For someone with limited experience or history in the industry, conducting video interviews for a documentary will require substantially more thought process as you navigate the intricacies of properly conducting an interview, capturing the intended story from your subject, and setting the stage for a powerful documentary video.

At Beverly Boy Productions, our focus is always on the production of top quality video content for our clients. With more than two decades of experience in the film industry and countless satisfied clients, we’re ready to assist you with conducting video interviews for a documentary you’re creating. Give us a call to learn more, and follow these tips to prepare.

Lighting Setup

  1. Be Clear Upfront with Your Expectations

Establishing clearly defined expectations for your subject and for your camera crew is key to effectively conducting video interviews for a documentary. You don’t want to have any issues along the way, so it’s important to establish your own expectations first, and to then share those expectations with anyone that is involved in the production with you. This includes informing your subject of what you expect, informing your own team of what the expectations are, and informing the film crew of those expectations.

Your expectations should include details as to how you will conduct the interview, how you expect your subject to respond, and how you expect your film crew to capture the interview. It’s very important to help your subject to understand the importance of responding to your question by repeating the question first and then providing detailed answers to your questions. It’s equally important to be sure that your film crew knows to record at least a few seconds after the question has been answered so that they can capture any additional details that your subject might decide to be forthcoming with post-answer.

  1. Do Your Best to Make the Interview Go Smoothly

BBP camera crew 1-10

Doing whatever you can to make your interview go as smoothly as possible is another key factor of importance when conducting video interviews for a documentary. This means making sure that your subject is comfortable with you and your questioning as well as with being on camera. 

A great way to help your subject open up and feel a bit more comfortable is to start off with very simple questions that don’t necessarily require a lot of expertise or background knowledge. Treating the interview like a conversation will make the process a bit more welcoming and should help your subject to feel a bit better, just be sure that you’re allowing the subject to do most of the talking. It’s also a good idea to allow your questions to build and grow in intensity or complexity as you go rather than to start off with the deep questions.

  1. Never Interrupt Your Subject 

Remember what we said about making sure that your conversation is focused on the subject and allowing them to do the talking? This is incredibly important when conducting video interviews for a documentary! You don’t ever want to interrupt your subject nor do you want to have short conversational comments such as “Hmmm” or “okay” to interrupt your otherwise clear audio of the subject answering your questions. Train yourself not to speak if your subject is speaking, no matter how much you might want to respond!

  1. Allow Room for Spontaneity in Your Questioning

While it’s alright to provide your subject with a list of the questions you intend to ask during the interview, and it’s even advised in many cases, it’s also important for you to allow yourself room to be spontaneous with the questioning. Your questions should motivate or guide the storytelling for the subject, but if he or she responds with details that you can (and should) build off of, don’t be afraid to add spontaneous questions into the mix. 

  1. Be Sure to Position Your Subject Properly for the Interview 

Providing tips on conducting video interviews for a documentary wouldn’t be complete without some tips on how to position your subject in front of your camera in order to capture the interview footage. There are a few considerations when positioning your subject:

  • Be sure to position your subject either directly in front of the camera for a very personal interview experience or just to the side for a slightly more informal approach.
  • Make sure that your subject is positioned in such a way that there is lighting behind to one side, key lighting in front to the opposite side, and fill lighting in between.
  • Make sure that the subject is the focus, the interviewer is generally not on camera or very rarely on camera.

Want more tips on conducting video interviews for a documentary? Beverly Boy Productions is here to help you with all of your questions and to provide professional documentary video production that will exceed your expectations. Give us a call to learn more!