Setting Up for Success: How to Shoot Video Interviews

woman on a video interview

If you don’t know how to shoot video interviews properly, the task itself can feel daunting. Whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, being on camera requires many moving parts—think technology, lighting, your physical appearance, sound quality, and video settings. Once you have the basic elements handled, remember that the emotion and credibility provided by a good interview can be the difference between a decent video and a great one. We’ve covered this topic in our FAQ series to help our clients who are interested in filming themselves make the best possible videos. Here are some useful tips to remember for your next on-camera interview.

Your Seat of Choice Matters

Let’s talk about something that can be one of the most crucial decisions you make when setting up the shot— your choice of seating. Many people will look around their office and grab whatever chair is readily available. While it might be convenient, sometimes chairs can look good to the eye, but on camera, they can be highly distracting. High-back chairs, big recliners, and other ornate chairs have a bad habit of engulfing the person on screen. They can make them look surrounded or too small, plus some chairs may cause bad posture from the person being filmed. No matter how much work you do to set up the scene correctly, it can all be destroyed by a bad chair.

We recommend using simple chairs with low backs or even stools that do not have a back at all. The goal is to keep your surroundings as subtle as possible to avoid distraction. It’s important to note that the talent’s comfort isn’t the goal but rather to get the best possible shot. A chair that doesn’t distract and encourages good posture will pay dividends in the end. If the talent asks to switch the seat for something more comfortable, you should be accommodating, but you can always offer the creative direction of why you made the choice that you did. In the end, it will come down to whether they prefer the quality of the video for their posterity or the level of comfort for their posterior.

Choose Your Location Wisely

The next thing that can make or break your video is your filming location. More specifically, where the talent’s seat is located. More often than not, people find the easiest place to set the chair, or leave it where it was originally. Again, while convenient, it rarely makes for a good shot. 

The goal should be to put the talent as far away from the wall that is behind them as possible. This provides depth, allowing for them to be in focus, while the background is soft making a much more appealing and less visually distracting shot. After all, if you’re interviewing someone, you want the audience to focus on what that person is saying, and not on what books they have on their bookshelf. When filming in a studio, remember that plain, neutral-colored backdrops show up best on camera. The key takeaway is that you should choose a background location that frames the talent in the shot and avoids visual clutter. 

video interview

Body Language Speaks Volumes

Finally, consider the talent’s body position. The goal is to help the talent appear more visually interesting. We simply rotate the talent’s chair slightly, typically favoring the position of the camera. This will point the talent’s body toward the camera, which will then cause them to turn their head slightly to face the interviewer. This should be a very slight rotation, as you don’t want them looking too much to their side. If done correctly, the body will just barely favor the camera, and the face will favor the interviewer. This simple act makes the talent look far more dynamic.  

Although this is not something that must be done, it can add a whole level of depth to the look of the shot rather than having a head-on conversation. The slight rotation of the talent’s chair will give a subliminal indication that the audience (the camera’s perspective) is welcomed as a part of the conversation. Just remember that less is more, and subtlety is key.

woman being interviewed

Contact CIESC Media Services For Your Video Marketing Needs

There you have it, a helpful set of tips for you to try in your next video interview. If you’re interested in elevating your content into professional-quality videos for maximum reach, you can always contact CIESC Media Services here, or call 317-550-2228.

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