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How to Get the Best Interview Out of a Subject During Your Video Shoot

By March 14, 2013March 16th, 2016Blog, Video

 Tahoe Production House was lucky enough to be involved with THS Visuals and TLC Chanel to film “Amazing Bathrooms” this past week, and wanted to share some video interviewing skills with you.  Sometimes this can be a difficult and tedious task depending on the comfort level of your subject, but here are some basic tips to help you get a great interview:

  • The biggest piece of advice would be to prepare your questions before hand.  Have a list of questions that you have thought about prior to meeting your subject that have to do with the kind of information you want to know.  There is no need to ask the same questions over and over again; usually 5 – 10 good questions will do the trick.
  • Avoid “yes” or “no” answers at all costs, as they will lead you nowhere.  You need the answers to have substantial information in them in order for them to be useful to you in the editing phase.  So instead of, “Does the color blue make you happy?” Ask, “What is your favorite color and how does it make you feel?”
  • Even though you have prepared questions, always allow some room for any questions that may come up based on an answer your subject may have given you and you would like to explore further.  Sometimes the unplanned questions and answers are the best in the whole interview.
  • Make sure you get the interviewee comfortable in front of the camera by asking them some easy warm up questions.  It might sound silly, but starting with what they had to eat that day, or what they have done for fun in the last week will get them talking and their mind off of the camera.  This is key!
  • Its okay to let someone know what their interview will generally be about, but never under any circumstance give a subject the list of questions you intend to ask them.  If you do, they will immediately start to formulate their answers, and in some cases try to memorize answers in advance, and you will loose all spontaneity in the interview.  Your interview will end up looking rehearsed.
  • Always have your interviewee repeat your question in their answer.  This will save you a lot of time in the editing room and story telling later.
  • Another  tip is to have the interviewee look to just the right or left of the camera, not directly at it.  The best way to do this is to have the person asking the questions to stand right next to the camera lens, and ask the interviewee to talk to them.
  • Stay quiet when the other person is talking, this is also just good manners.  You don’t want to interrupt your interviewee just as they say something profound and interesting.  Also, don’t make “hmmmm” or “yeah!” noises.  Just ask your question and let them answer it, nod and smile, and no sound.
  • Always ask the interviewee for their final thoughts or if you might have missed anything that they wanted to be included during the interview.  This sometimes can bring out some great information or bring up more questions that you haven’t thought about.

Keep your energy up through the interview and your subject will too!  The more you put into your interview the more you will get out of it!


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