Tips for Filming Corporate Interviews:
Planning and shooting an executive interview can appear challenging due to the potential for uncontrollable variables. However, with the right approach and consideration, producing great interview videos can be both simple, fun and most importantly very effective in marketing and communications.
Here we provide some Helpful Tips for shooting engaging, dynamic interviews.
Preparation is the key to getting a great interview. Discuss what direction you and the Interviewee would like the interview to go in – familiarise yourself with the interview’s subject matter, which can allow for some adhoc deviation, which can lead to surprise responses that will make the interview compelling viewing. Then there’s the question of location. Choose somewhere that will add to the ambience and atmosphere, but will not get in the way of the process. That means a quiet place away from other people, unless it’s required for a lively feel at an event. Most interviews are framed tight, but it’s always nice to include a few wide cutaway shots to act as scene setters and a change of perspective & angle, which can help keep the viewer’s attention.
There are a couple of ways to conducting an interview, the choice of which will be dictated by how you see the final edit being used. Will the subject being looking at the interviewer or the camera? Make this a conscious choice and relay it to the interviewee before shooting. It is distracting to have the subject’s eye line change throughout the interview. If you want the subject to look at the person asking the question, it is important for the interviewer to maintain eye contact throughout and make sure the interviewee addresses them and doesn’t look elsewhere or into the camera.
The first approach takes the form of a Q&A session. Here the interviewer will ask ‘prompting’ questions that will trigger the content of the response and provide the interviewee with a springboard to talk about a certain aspect. The final edit for this approach usually shows only the interviewee talking about the subject matter in a relaxed manner directing their responses to someone asking the questions juts off camera. This format is ideal for corporate blogs, web interviews and Youtube distributed material and provides a relaxed and informal feel to the film.
Communicating with your Interviewee before filming is a great way to relax the interviewee. Ask question like how was their journey; did they have far to travel etc. It may be applicable to tell the interviewee the type of questions you’ll be asking, particularly if the interview is of an informative nature.
Just as you should have at least a rough outline of how you’d like the interview to proceed, you should also come up with a list of possible interview questions. Although many producers/filmmakers choose to share interview questions with the ‘talent’ ahead of the shoot, I’d warn against it. If the interviewee has the exact questions before the shoot they’ll likely pre-formulate their responses. This can quickly make an interview feel uninspired and boring. Instead, just send over a broad list of topics you’d like to discuss. You will likely want to record the interviewer’s questions as well, even if they won’t make the final edit, which can be of great help for captions etc at the editing stage.
Try to have the interviewee repeat the question in their response. For example, if you ask “What is your favourite film?” their response would be “My favourite film is Batman”. This means if the interviewer’s voice is not included in the final edit, the viewer understands what the interviewee is commenting on.
In a normal conversation humans tend to talk over one another. While this may work for normal conversations, it is incredibly difficult to edit an interview if the host is talking over the subject. It’s also important to control the pace of the interview, as subjects tend to rush their answers when being filmed, just like public speaking. Control the pace by setting the pace. Talk in a calm and slow voice and your subject will be more likely to mirror you. At the end of the interview, if time, ask the interviewee if there is anything else they would like to cover or retake. For CEO and management interviews, asking the early questions again can often elicit a more relaxed response, having got used to the filming process.