How to direct the perfect interview
Among the various types of existing videos, the interview is one of the most complicated to conduct/perform, as it involves preparation, technical skills and ability to relate to other people.
To direct an on-camera interview, there are many variables to consider if you want to get an excellent result, however there are three main elements: the place, the interviewee and the interviewer.
Below we give you some simple advices to follow to realize the perfect interview without making mistakes.
The choice of the place may seem irrelevant, but actually it is fundamental.
Choose a quiet place, so you don’t have any noise in the background or that can interrupt the recording.
Use a background that doesn’t distract the viewer too much, it’s important that the attention remains on the interviewee. A little trick is to focus only the subject of the interview (and possibly the interviewer, if appears in the frame) while maintaining the rest of the setting out of focus, without forgetting that the viewer must understand how the background is structured.
As for the lighting system, generally people tend to use as key light a soft light because it’s flattering, but keep in mind that it’s not always the most appropriate choice.
We suggest that you place the light to the left of the camera, in order to give shape and intensity. NEVER position it so that it illuminates the subject from below, it would create an unnatural look. In terms of height it’s advisable to direct the light at about 45 degrees above the subject, so the face will be perfectly lit.
To give to your video a high-quality look, you can also use two other light sources: one is on the other side and softer than the key light (in order to create shadows), whereas the other must be positioned behind the head of the interviewee, as far as possible (this light is important, it creates separation between the subject and the background).
In the end, a special mention must be made concerning the audio. The ideal way to capture the subject’s voice is to get a clip-on microphone, it’s strongly advised against using the camera microphone. Moreover remember: pay attention to the tone of voice!
The first thing to do is choosing the right person to interview. It’s advisable to prefer someone who can express himself fluently and vividly in front of the camera: if you get bored by listening your guest, it’s likely that your audience will too!
Once the choice is made, the subject must be prepared: he needs to feel comfortable without being afraid of appearing unattractive or making some mistakes.
Reassure him: the video can be modified to improve his appearance, and possible errors can be deleted or corrected.
The subject should not give obvious answers or that can confuse the viewer, furthermore it is good practice repeating the question within the answer (e.g. “Why did you want to enter the Energy sector?” “I wanted to enter the Energy sector because…”).
However it’s always useful getting ready by doing rehearsals with the subject, so as to “break the ice” and make sure that everything will work out for the best: so you will be sure to avoid epic fails such as the one shown in the video below.
Also the role of the interviewer has its relevance.
His most important task is to make the interviewee feel comfortable by creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere: it is advisable to avoid asking questions as if it was an interrogatory, but rather it would be better to turn them into statements.
The interviewer should be as close as possible to the subject, in order to draw attention to himself and to ensure that he would not be distracted by the equipment or the surrounding setting.
If you don’t want to be rude avoid interrupting the subject by superimposing your comments during the answers, wait for him to respond by smiling and mantaining eye contact ( but don’t forget to keep control of the interview, even overcoming the fear of facing “ uncomfortable” topics!!).
Prepare the questions first in order to build a sequence that leads to the desired topics, but be careful, NEVER read your material: you would appear unprepared and mechanical.
Remember, the key words are positivity and spontaneity!