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Over the years, we’ve produced and photographed thousands of on-camera interviews. Spend enough time in this business, and they become routine.
But they’re never simple.

There are so many factors that go into shooting the perfect video production interview. Our crew is out on location filming interviews all week.
We asked them to share their essential tips when it comes to setting up and shooting the perfect sit-down.
Here’s what they came up with….

Location, Location, Location!

This one is so important. First, if you’ll be using a backdrop, we recommend selecting a 20’ by 40’ room. This gives you depth between the camera and the backdrop.

If you won’t be shooting with a backdrop, find a space that is relevant to what the interviewee will be talking about. Don’t just choose an office, conference room, or whatever bookcase is nearest you. Try to incorporate the subject’s branding or find some really unique to what they’ll be discussing. Whatever you choose, make sure the room/space is quiet, without any sound or personnel interruptions.

Run A B-Camera

Running a second camera gives you twice as many options when cutting the interview. Not only does this make the editing process easier, but your final product will also be a much more enjoyable watch.

Pay Close Attention To Your Audio

Headphones, headphones, headphones. It sounds like a no brainer, but so many people make this mistake. Quality audio is key to a great interview. Get the mic in close. If possible, we recommend a Sennheiser 416 Boom Mic over a standard clip-on lavalier. Not only does it look better without the microphone attached to your subject’s shirt, it also produces a crisper, higher quality sound.

Get The Lighting Right

Make sure you have at least a 3-point lighting set up.

digital mediaThe key light should be your main light while your fill light will accentuate the other side of the interviewee. The fill light should be lower in intensity as to create a stop difference (no more than a two stop difference) between the two sides of the face. The backlight should be on the opposite side of the key light and should really separate the subject from the background.

Move The Camera

VideographySometimes a static shot works just fine, but we always like to get the camera moving. In the field, we like to use a Dana Dolly. We also love how easy the Dana is to take on trips where we have to fly.

The Matthews HD Slider really provides a nice sweeping camera shot. When you’re able to move the camera without distracting the audience, you give a greater depth to the environment.

Prepare Questions In Advance And Engage With Follow-Ups

Having a well thought out list of questions is a must. As the interviewer, make sure you’re paying close attention during the interview.

LISTEN to your subject. This will create a consistent flow and conversation during the interview. Follow up with questions based on what the subject is saying. Get them to dig deeper into their stories. This will provide more detail for you to work with in the editing process.

Prepare Your Interviewee Before The Shoot

Your interview subject should have a good idea of what to expect before walking into the interview. Tell them what to wear and the kinds of questions you are going to ask. Create a document (here are the SolidLine Media Guidelines For Interviews) that you can send to every interviewee before they arrive to the shoot. The more people know, the less nervous they’re likely to be.

Professional Hair And Makeup

Your interviewee looks great, no doubt. But you want them to look spectacular. Having a hair and makeup professional on set with you gives the subject the confidence they need to deliver a great interview. They won’t be thinking – did I do my makeup right? Is my hair OK? There will be a trained professional there worrying about those things for them. You can read more about how professional hair and makeup creates a great interview in this blog post.

Those are eight quick tips on how to create the perfect on-location interview. To find out how SolidLine Media can create your next vibrant video production, CONTACT US HERE.

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