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Top 13 Tips for Filming Professional Interviews

Whether you’re filming an interview for the first time, or you’re looking for tips for filming an interview for the 100th time, we’re here to help. We’ve prepared these top 13 tips for filming professional interviews to help you get footage for a documentary or corporate film. If you’ve ever looked to take your interview filming skills to the next level, this is the post for you!

  1. Prepare

Researching prior to the interview to ensure that you are preparing the right, open ended questions, will help you to get the most out of the footage that you capture. Research your interviewee and make sure you understand the subject matter and learn about what you really don’t understand, this should be the basis for your interview questions.

  1. Outline Your Questions

Prepare an outline of questions that you intend to ask your interviewee. Start with safe questions that will help the interviewee to loosen up and feel comfortable on camera. Work you way into more difficult questions that require a well-thought response.

  1. Scout a Location

Before you film your interview, scout a location so that you understand what you’re working with. Consider lighting, audio and other important elements when you scout your location. Is there adequate power? Is there background noise? Are there any problems with the location?

Failure to scout the location could lead to surprises on shoot day.

  1. Bring Backups

Packing backup batteries and memory cards will ensure that you don’t have any slip ups mid-interview. You certainly don’t want to have to stop capturing valuable footage just because you run out of memory.

  1. Get to Know Talent Ahead of Time

You should take steps to get to know your talent and to help them know what is expected of them ahead of the shoot. Communication is key–before shoot day, and on shoot day. Make sure your talent is aware of the clothing he or she should wear, whether makeup considerations should be taken, and what they can expect when they come to sit in front of the camera.

  1. Prepare Professional Audio Recording

A sound recording specialist will ensure that you capture the best possible audio of your interview. Filming a professional interview without proper attention to sound could lead to wasted time as you check back and have to re-interview your talent to capture audio a second time.

  1. Send Questions to Interviewee

Let your interviewee know in advance what topics you wish to review during the interview. You may want to outline the questions and send them over to the talent to make sure they are comfortable ahead of the film shoot. This way you can get an idea as to the responses and the length of the interview ahead of time too.

  1. Ask Questions Twice

Don’t ask all questions twice, but prepare to reform certain valuable questions into two separate phrases so that you can achieve the optimal footage when capturing the interviewee’s answer to the most important topics at hand.

  1. Repeat the Question in the Answer

Explain to the talent that you would like them to repeat your question in their response. This ensures that a) there is adequate footage backing up the question and b) the talent knows what he or she is expected to discuss.

  1. Set the Pace

As you prepare for the interview, set the pace by talking in a calm, slow voice when you ask your talent questions. There may be a sense of nervousness with your talent, but if you set the pace upfront, he or she will likely follow with slow, well thought answers.

  1. Set the Eyeline

Do you want the subject to look at you or the camera? Make sure it is very clear where the interviewee should be facing and viewing prior to the shot. It can be very distracting to have a subject look in the wrong direction throughout the interview so be sure everyone is clear one where their eye contact should be maintained.

  1. Use at Least Two Cameras

If you can, use at least 2 cameras to film the interview. This way, you can quickly cut things like a sneeze or cough by the interviewee by switching to the other camera at the edit point. Multiple camera shots will help to ensure you capture the interview footage without fail. Click here to check out our article on determining the best size for your film crew.

  1. Keep Recording

Keep the cameras rolling even after you complete the interview as you may be able to capture candid comments for b-roll or other valuable use. Allow the camera to continue recording for at least a few minutes before and after the actual interview so that you can easily edit and get the most of the footage.

Following the above top 13 tips for filming a professional interview will help you to get the most out of your production.

Here’s a video to showcase how we film interviews here at Beverly Boy Productions:

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