Producing

Tips for Conducting On-Camera Interviews

This last week I was put on a project to for a client that involved making two seperate videos. Each video has a large portion of interviews to help tell the story. We had three days set aside to have people come into our studio, so I could sit down and talk to people to get content for the projects. There are many tips to keep in mind to ensure success in the interview process.

Aim For Demographic Diversity

I did not notice diversity in videos and commercials until I came to CCM, but it became something I had to think about to appropriately craft a story. This is something that people typically don’t think about, but it something as professional, it is necessary. For example, I was talking to my dad who is a small business owner in the town that I am from, and he was considering making a commercial with interviews. I had told him to keep in mind the diversity of those he was going to be interviewing, which he had never thought of before. I spoke to him a few days later and he had said ever since I told him diversity is important, he had noticed it more and more as he watch different shows and commercials. So if you are booking people to be interviewed for a piece, make sure you consider age, gender and ethnicity to make sure your video will appeal to most audiences.

Set Aside Plenty of Time For Each Interview

Planning an appropriate time window for people to be interviewed is very important. Many people who are being interviewed may not be as flexible with time as you may think. If you have the opportunity to schedule interviews weeks ahead of time, take it! You will have a better outcome when it comes down to who can actually squeeze your interview into their schedule.

Be Personable and Authentic

From the moment the interviewee shows up, it is important to be personable. In many cases you will be interviewing people about personal information, and you want them to feel comfortable enough to open up and forget they are talking in front of a camera. Often times, I tell my interviewee that we are just having a conversation and to just ignore everyone else in the room. This will make those “camera shy” people feel more relaxed and comfortable enough to give you an honest and genuine answer.

Frame The Questions To Get The Right Answers

This is a little trick interviewers use to get the content they need to make a successful video. It’s all about how you phrase your questions. You will get different answers depending on how you ask the questions. For instance, asking “what’s your favorite thing about church” will probably get a different response than “tell me why you love your church.” These seem like similar questions, but in reality, the second question will more than likely give you a more sentimental response.

Be Attentive To Body Language and Eye Contact

It is very important to let your interviewee know that you are actually listening to them. This will help make anyone feel more at ease when being interviewed. Make sure to keep good eye contact with your interviewee to make sure they know that you are interested in what they have to say. Don’t look around or at your phone — not only is that rude, but it makes people feel like what they are saying is boring. Also, you can show that you are interested through the use of your body language. Make sure to sit/stand up straight and use your facial expressions to show that you want to hear more from the interviewee.

Listen, Listen, Listen

Nothing is more frustrating for an interviewee than repeating themselves in an interview. This shows that the interviewer isn’t actually listening, or being attentive to the moment. Keep in mind that these people took time out of their day to help you tell a story. So even when the subject matter isn’t exactly the most interesting, make sure you listen and engage in what they have to say.


Video production school attendee Evan!Nikki Riehle is a 19-year-old from the cornfields of Indiana. She is an aspiring predimatographor (producer, editor, cinematographer), and an apprentice at the Center for Creative Media.

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