So you've hired a production company or videographer to shoot an interview and you're the star of the show...but what comes next? Below we are going to give you or your team a few tips and tricks to help prepare yourself for the production day.
Lighting and audio are the two most important factors when dealing with an interview which typically comes down to picking the right location. It's best practice to allow a minimum of 6' between you and the camera to allow some depth or bokeh (the blur around the subject) in the video which can help draw the attention to the interviewee. It's the videographers job to shape the light in a way to highlight your face and make you stand out from the background which can be difficult to do when there isn't enough room to set up lights.
Most interviews are shot with the golden rule of 3-point lighting which uses one primary light on the subject's face, a fill light to lift shadows and a back light that is used to create depth and make the subject look more 3D on camera. It's best practice to allow a minimum of 3-4 feet between the subject and each light surrounding them so that the lights don't cause a blow out or over-exposure on camera. Fluorescent lights blink at a frame rate that the eye cannot pick up but our cameras do and that's often why we prefer to turn all the lights off and then add our own LED lights with diffusers to get a nice soft daylight look. Daylight or a window can often times be best used as the key or primary light but remember that as the day goes on that light will change on the subjects face or back causing the final video(s) to look different.
It's important to think about how audio is going to be captured, this is most commonly done using lav microphones which are small microphones connected to a transmitter and receiver that attach to the interviewee and the camera wirelessly. Alternatively, there are boom microphones that sit on extension poles or shotgun microphones that are attached directly to the camera but often pick up lots of surrounding noise. Keep in mind that the lav microphone will need to attach to a piece of clothing ie; a collar, cardigan or button up. Wearing a t-shirt will limit the ability to attach the microphone somewhere easily and also can make it difficult to hide the exposed wires ultimately resulting in an unprofessional look on camera. Some helpful planning tips are to pick a place that has the least amount of noise. Noises to be thinking about are; phones ringing, conversations between people, fluorescent light buzzing noises, car or foot traffic noise etc. Remember to turn your cellphones on silent so you don't end up ruining the best take!
Standing vs Sitting, Looking at the Camera vs Looking Away
For a professional interview we typically will have the interviewee look down the barrel of the lens to address the audience, this is normally done when we are trying to connect to the audience or sell a product or service. Often times other interviewees will look off camera at the interviewer which is more common to see when discussing an event recap, a testimonial or when we are not directly connecting with the audience. Often times we will see someone sitting in a chair or on a stool, we would typically recommend standing but more importantly we want the interviewee to be comfortable. If sitting down will take away from the professionalism of the video then stray away but if it is a candid, organic feel then sitting can be a great way to have the audience engage better with the speaker rather than feeling like they are being sold to.
It's great to pick a well lit background as it can be used as the back light and save time in setting up. If we are discussing a product it could be in the background so that it get's blurred out a bit on camera but gives the audience context for what the interviewee is talking about. An empty office or boardroom background can be a great backup if there is no products being sold and we are discussing services. Outdoors can be the trickiest in terms of noise and lighting so it's best practice to keep the locating indoors. We often will even rent co-working spaces to fit the right vibe the client is looking for or use a studio for a clean white backdrop with great lighting already set up.
What to Wear
The most important thing to know when deciding what to wear for an interview is can the lav microphone attach to your outfit easily? The second most important thing to think of is how you will look with the background. Often if we see a uniform or company t-shirt that's bright blue then we find the brand colours somewhere on the walls and those will wash out on camera ex; blue shirt on blue painted wall. It's best to wear a white shirt on a dark background or a dark shirt on a white background to help make you stand out from the background. Consider the location you will be shooting in and decide what colour to wear from there, you can never go wrong with black and white.
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