Interviews, sound-bites, vox-pops, talking heads... whatever you call them, they form the backbone of many video productions. And for good reason: there is arguably no more effective method of selling to new customers than letting them hear directly from your existing, happy customers.
Having filmed hundreds of interviews over the years, we understand that it can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time on camera. To help you prepare, here are our 5 tips for being interviewed on camera.
1. Take a second.
We always describe an interview as a simple conversation, which happens to be on camera. However, unlike a normal conversation, we have to be able to edit this one! When asked a question, the best thing to do is take a second to pause before answering. Not only does it give us a great edit point, but it gives you a moment to relax and collect your thoughts. Starting your answer too soon may mean that even if you were word-perfect, you’ll still need to repeat it for the camera.
2. Repeat the question… in your answer.
The interviewer isn’t important to your audience – it’s you they want to hear from. In most cases their voice will not be in the finished video. A self-contained answer allows us to keep the focus on you and your words, where it should be. So, if the question is “Why should a new customer think about working with you?” the best way to begin your answer (after your slight pause, don’t forget!) is “A new customer should be thinking about working with us because…”
3. Maintain your eye-line.
More often than not, you’ll be talking to an unseen, off-camera interviewer, with the camera angled toward your face. Sometimes you’ll be directly facing the camera, but even if this is the case, this advice is still relevant. Particularly toward the end of an answer, it is common for the interview subject to turn toward to the off-camera interviewer. It makes sense – we’re all keen to check that we’ve done a good job! As with our first tip though, this can cause problems in the edit, and more immediately is likely to require another take on the day. Keep focused on your interviewer (or looking directly down the lens) until you’ve completed your answer and hold it. Once the shot is in the can you can look away!
4. Relax. And repeat.
Unless you’ve been media trained, or happen to have been interviewed before, chances are you’ll be a bit nervous. We completely understand! Our crew will always help you feel as relaxed as possible before the cameras roll. Try to keep in mind that you are an expert in your field, and it’s simply our job to help you communicate that expertise. We aren’t there to catch you out, and sometimes taking a few runs at a sound-bite can help you relax into the delivery. Also keep in mind, this isn’t a speech to be rattled off in one go. We can cut, and go again, until we’re all happy. And we will!
5. Feel free to be concise!
On-camera interviews are different to everyday conversations, and brevity will help keep your audience engaged. We never advise clients to write their answers out ahead of time, as it’s easy to get hung up on trying to remember the way you phrased something earlier – when in fact the most important thing is to communicate your message as simply and clearly as possible. Think about the 2 or 3 key points you need to make, then explain them as concisely as you can. Think about how to end your thought, too. Sounds obvious and easy, but believe it or not, once you’re warmed up, stopping talking can be the most difficult part!