Jan 1, 2019
Filming interviews or short videos well is a skill every
producer or filmmaker should gain. Phil Cooke offers 10 keys to
shooting a good interview which can become a powerful tool to
market your ministry or nonprofit organization.
How good are you at interviewing people on camera? No matter how
great the camera shot or well-lit your set is, if the interview is
not skillfully conducted, your overall video will not be good, and
you’ll miss out on gaining an emotional connection with your
audience. Here are Phil’s keys on how to shoot a better
- Be lean and mean with equipment.Don’t
intimidate your subject with an excess of equipment. Learn to shoot
with as little equipment as possible so that your subject is
comfortable enough to share their story with you.
- If possible, do a pre-interview.Make sure the
interviewee can express their story well before you shoot the
video. Don’t just show up and expect them to be a pro.
- Keep the subject occupied or out of the room during set
up.Do everything you can to keep them from getting
- Don’t cover the topic before the cameras
roll.You don’t want your subject to be talked out before
the interview starts. This is particularly important for a dramatic
- As the interviewer, sit as close to the camera as you
can.Make sure the camera is capturing both of the
subject’s eyes instead of just a profile shot.
- Set the camera at eye level for the best
shot.If it’s set too high, it will diminish the subject;
if it’s set too low, it will make it look like they are looking
down on the audience. Keep it eye-level for best engagement.
- Roll the camera without the interviewee
noticing.When the crew is ready, have your camera operator
tap you and you can roll discretely before the subject has a chance
to get distracted and nervous. Have a system with your team for
this; it can lead to a great interview.
- If a problem happens, don’t let crew – or just anyone -
stop the shoot. No one should stop the interview except
you as the producer, director or interviewer. Let the interviewee
finish a thought before stopping.If something goes wrong, have
someone signal you, so you can allow the subject to finish a
thought or a story so you don’t interrupt them abruptly.
- If there is a problem, don’t tell the interviewee you
need to “redo.”Find another way to recapture what you need
by asking additional questions and redirecting the interview.
- Shoot in an interesting place.Find a location
that is a visual expression of their story. Go to their environment
– work, home, a public place – as long as it’s safe and quiet.
Bonus: Be ready for anything.Expect the
unexpected. Have a margin for “imperfections” such as noise in the
background in a noisy location – if it’s part of the real world
that is helping tell the story. Think in terms of making it
The perfect producer is the one who never lets the situation get
in the way of telling a great story. Make sure you’re capturing the
story at its absolute best with the interviewee sharing from the
heart. – Phil Cooke
For more keys on shooting a better interview, visit Phil’s blog
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Find out more about Cooke Pictures here: http://www.cookepictures.com/
Visit Phil Cooke’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzivfiicpepFmAv5ZblgYWQ