Example of being interviewed on-camera.
I videotape a lot of on-camera interviews with non-professionals. Some are naturals and others, well…they need a little coaching. My clients are usually corporations or small businesses who make videos for internal use, marketing purposes or for their websites. I find that the people I videotape have little or no media training and they occasionally make some simple mistakes.
If you find yourself being recruited to do an interview on video, here are a few pointers that will hopefully make the process easier.
- What to wear. This is easy. Wear whatever you are feel comfortable in. It should also make you look professional and something that makes sense with your business. Wear business attire, a uniform or shirt with a logo if that’s what you usually do. You’ll want to stay away from thin strips. Even though HD can handle that better, your video may be down converted to SD and those stripes will produce a moray effect. I prefer any color over all black or all white. Black or white can create too much contrast with your skin tone, but your videographer can adjust if needed.
- What to do with your hands. Some people get perplexed over this. Don’t over think this, do what’s natural. If you talk with your hands, do so. Just be careful not to hit your mic. The mic is sensitive and the hit will override your voice. You’ll probably be asked to redo the question if that happens.
- Don’t OVER prepare. I see this one every so often. The interviewee receives the questions a week in advance and writes down perfectly crafted answers. They’ll spend the next few days memorizing their statements. When it comes time to do the interview, they get tongue-tied trying to remember exactly what they wrote. The interview takes twice as long, they sound very robotic and their answers come across disingenuous. The best thing to do is to briefly look over the questions to make sure you are comfortable with what will be asked, then put it aside until the interview. Most likely, the questions are on something you do or know very well. Your answers will sound much more natural.
- Rephrase the question into your answer. If your interviewer is standing next to the camera, chances are they won’t be seen or heard on camera. You’ll need to rephrase the questions so the audience knows what you are talking about. For example, if you are asked, “What color is your shirt?” Don’t just say “Blue”. Without a context to that, no one will know what you mean by “blue”. You should say something like, “My shirt is blue.”
- Keep your answers short. Most likely, long answers will be edited down and something you felt was important may be cut out. By keeping your answers brief, there will be a better chance that the entire answer will be used.
- Ignore the camera and people in the room. Keep your eyes on the person interviewing you. The audience doesn’t know that there are other people in the room like a camera person or grip. Looking around will only make you appear shifty-eyed.
- If you make a mistake, keep going and don’t make a face. This is another one I see this all the time, that tiny little grimace you make when you say stumble over a word or phrasing. Actually the viewer would never know that you goofed up, so keep going. If you feel that you didn’t say something quite right, tell your interviewer that you want to do that question again.
While these guidelines are a good start, they are not hard, fast rules. Your videographer or producer may have you do something different from what’s listed here. Either way, try to relax and enjoy the experience. If you are comfortable, you will come across confident. The audience can sense that and you will end up with a successful video.
About the author:
Deborah Shapiro is a producer, videographer, and editor for her Akron – Cleveland based business, Montrose Video Productions where she specializes in web videos for large and small businesses. She likes to hike, has two dogs, two cats, is a part-time vegetarian and loves really good chocolate.
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