THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW
THE ART OF VIDEO INTERVIEWS
Corporate documentaries tell the story of real people; workers, clients or managers, in real locations. It's about who the people are and what they do. I’ve been filming corporate documentaries for ten years now. It may not be much compared to my 30 years in photography, but it’s enough to know what makes a good video interview.
HOW MY TEAM AND I PREPARE
If I can, I will scout for the best location. We need a place that represents who the person is and what they’ll be talking about. I study the overall lighting and decide if extra lights are needed. I check for power outlets, room to set setup, possible distractions and so on. The sound environment is also extremely important. Is it too noisy? Will we hear an air-conditioner or a truck backing up? Maybe we’ll be filming out on the street and that’s ok. I also discuss the interview process with the interviewee; explain how long the setup might take and how long the interview should last. I’ll discuss clothing, hair and make-up. Most importantly, I’ll discuss what needs to be heard; the topics, the questions and answers.
HOW THE INTERVIEWEE SHOULD PREPARE
1. Dressing appropriately. It seems superficial but video is a visual medium after all. I don’t expect people to be dressed fancy, just appropriately. The preparation can be as simple as making sure people are not wearing something wrinkled or as fun as bringing clothing options. On the other hand, if wrinkled helps the message, then let's go for it! So long as it’s thought out.
2. Knowing the subject matter! Prepared answers rarely work. The interviewee will end up re-doing the take ten or twenty times because they missed a word or stumbled somewhere. In the end, the result will still sound fake. Messages come across way better when the person interviewed knows their subject matter and answers candidly. Mostly, candid answers just feel more honest. So the best way to prepare is not so much by trying to learn answers by heart as to simply review and refresh one’s memory on the subject to be discussed.
With good preparation and after setting up the equipment, all that’s left to do is to have a good on-camera conversation. With microphones, lights and cameras, it might feel a little awkward at first but it's my job to make the interviewed person forget all of this. I’ll ask questions in a way that will help ease into the subject matter. I’ll nod, approve and encourage along the way. In fact, I’ve developed pretty amazing skills at making people feel comfortable and at ease during a video interview. Half the magic happens at this moment; live on set, as they talk. We forget the surroundings, the camera, the lights and mics and lose track of time. That’s when I know, we’ve captured something true.
There’s still work and magic to be done in post-production, but it is during the interview that we get the real stuff. With good preparation from my team, an interviewee that knows their subject matter and smooth on-camera discussion, that interview will look and feel great. Even better, the message will come across as honest and true and that is what corporate documentaries are about.
Watch some docs here: https://www.christianfleury.com/video/thumbs