There’s a few things that need to come together to make a powerful interview. Not only does the subject/story need to be there, but the proper equipment and team needs to be in place. When all of this comes together you better the chances of creating a great interview that will help push your subject’s message.
One of the best things you can do for shooting an interview is pre production. You’ll want to know not only who you are interviewing but the subject they will be talking about. This research will enable you to ask the right questions and also help you get the most out of the interview. For example, if you are interviewing a CEO from a tech company, you should get basic information on the CEO such as time with the company and changes he made as CEO. Along with that, research the company as much as you can. Mission statement, clients served, services offered and anything else you can find. This will allow you to ask intelligent questions and keep the conversation moving. I also like to watch any video work they have done before to make sure I am doing it better.
My favorite part! Never should you be shooting in standard definition. That will make the company look unprofessional. If you don’t believe me watch a few high end interviews on Youtube, then watch on that is in 4×3 standard definition. I really enjoy shooting interviews with the Canon C100. The day rate is extremely affordable and it offers a sharp, clean, image. It is fast to setup and works with any Canon mount lenses giving myself a ton of options for focal lengths.
Audio is the most important part of an interview. Do not go cheap on this. The other advantage of the the C100 is having built in XLR inputs with phantom power. DSLRs are great but you have to record audio on a separate device. This is fine when you have an audio technician on site but not great when you are working as a one man band. For most single person interviews I like to boom a shotgun mic and attach a mic on top of the camera for B audio. The other option, depending on clothing, is to attach a wireless Lav to the subject. The key is to have options available and use what works best in that specific situation.
Lighting will make your subject look as good as possible. It sets the mood and helps tell the story. There is no right or wrong way to do this. How do you know what to bring? That is a great question and the simple answer is a location scout. I will be writing a post on this soon so be sure to check it out. Ideally, I like using LED lights for quicker setups and small crews. When there is time and space available, Kino Flos are my go to. They offer tungsten or daylight balanced bulbs which gives you more flexibility and more control on how the overall image looks.
If you have any questions on how to make your interviews better let me know. For company’s out there interested in putting interviews on their website please contact me and we can discuss all your options.
Be on the look out for my next post where I go over location scouting.