Preparing for your Interview Video
Given our experience in producing promotional videos and corporate films, we’re fully aware that being an interviewee on camera can be a rather daunting thing. So we’ve put together some top tips to help you prepare and put some of those pesky pre-shoot nerves at ease.
1. Take your time
A compassionate film crew should be more than aware that they’re not working with professional actors that do this day in day out. The large complex equipment and lighting are likely to be a little dazzling if it’s your first time in the hot seat. But remember this, you aren’t expected to get things perfect as soon as the director shouts “ACTION!” And that’s O.K, honest. The beauty of filming is that we expect to carry out multiple takes, often cutting and stitching different versions of an answer during the editing process. Admittedly it’s always better to get full answers in a single take, but there are ways to break things down if you’re feeling a little nervous and the edit style allows.
2. Consider the interview filming style
Typically there are two styles of video interview that we in the “biz” like to refer to as; “Off-camera” & “Direct to Camera”. “Off-camera” is when the interviewee is speaking directly to the interviewer. The camera will be framed and focused on the interviewee only, with their eye line past the camera lens. On nearly all setups such as this, the editor would remove any questions being asked, using only the speaker’s answers. “Direct to camera” is when the speaker is addressing the viewer by looking directly down the camera lens, simple as that. Now, depending on the person, some may find this approach a little unusual, as they aren’t speaking to a person, rather a piece of equipment. The key thing here is, try to convince yourself that you ARE speaking to a person. Try and feel that you are in fact speaking past the camera, past the screen or phone, and directly with the person watching. The more you block out the physical equipment, the more you should feel at ease with the task at hand.
3. Avoid over-preparing your piece to camera
We’ve seen so many occasions when people have tried to script and memorise answers if they have the questions beforehand. If you can do this, great, but not all of us have the skills of an Oscar-winning actor. Couple this with feeling a little nervous and that pre-rehearsed script could fly straight out of your head, leaving you not knowing what to say next because you’re too busy trying to remember those little black words from your computer screen. Our advice here is to have an ‘idea’ of what you want to say and feel confident that you’ll be able to communicate this when speaking to your interviewer on the day. Often, you’re in the hot seat because you’re a professional in a certain field or have an important or valued opinion. You already have the information in your head, so relax into it and believe that you can communicate this. Bullet points can help, if you want to make sure you cover specific areas of your topic, but the less you write down the less you will have to recite from memory, resulting in a much more natural flow.
4. Consider using a Teleprompter
For those that may not know, a Teleprompter (aka an Autocue) is a device that allows you to read scrolling text from a screen whilst still being able to look down the lens. Magic you might think – all of your problems solved! This may be the case for some, but certainly not all. I for one find it rather difficult to read out loud. I often mix my words up or end up reading too fast. There’s certainly a level of skill involved in reading aloud, but at the same time making it sound as if you aren’t reading at all. There may be times when using a Teleprompter is necessary, so if you are new to it, perhaps practice reading a book aloud or spend some extra time familiarising yourself with the copy beforehand, so that you’re already comfortable with what you’re going to say.
5. Plan your wardrobe
Now, this has nothing to do with whether you look fashionable or not, more so a few tips that can help the crew from a practical standpoint. Where possible, avoid shirts/blouses with fine tightly packed lines, checked patterns or herringbone. Without going into too much technical detail, these types of fabrics cause what’s known as Moiré. Moiré occurs when a scene or an object that is being filmed/photographed contains repetitive details (such as lines, dots, etc). As a result, the camera produces strange-looking wavy patterns when the footage is viewed back. Try to go as plain as possible, and if in doubt bring an extra shirt or blouse just in case.
If audio is being captured via a small clip-on lapel microphone, it’s always handy to have suitable clothing to do so. Men typically wear shirts or suit jackets which allow us to attach the microphone and hide cables with ease. Women, on the other hand, can have a much more varied selection of clothing that would be worn in a work environment, making the same task a little more tricky. So if you are a lady that is preparing to be filmed on camera, consider wearing a blouse with buttons down the middle, or a blazer on which the mic can be attached too and the cables easily hidden.
A quick recap of our top tips when preparing for your Interview Video
- Try not to panic. Just take your time and go at a pace that you’re comfortable with.
- Don’t feel like you need to nail things first time, you can always re-film takes that you might not be happy with.
- If speaking directly into the camera, try to envisage speaking to the person behind the camera, or directly to the viewer. Sitting up straight and projecting your voice beyond the camera really helps.
- Try and avoid memorising text. Unless you’re a professional actor, it could lead to more issues. Rather, familiarise yourself with points that you want to cover, and trust that the knowledge and information is there in your head.
- Reading from a Teleprompter can help, but remember that this too is a skill that should be practiced before the camera rolls.
- Avoid clothing with fine tightly packed lines, checkered patterns or herringbone.
- If in doubt, bring an extra blouse or shirt
- Ladies, remember to wear either a buttoned blouse or blazer so that lapel microphones can be easily attached.