Interviews and documentary-style videos are often focused on capturing the honest, unbridled reality of a person, company, or situation. Coming at such corporate interviews requires informed strategy. What are the end-goals of the video? What’s the best approach for reaching those goals?
Video interviews, when done right, can be long-term assets for a company to use in future videos, whether in testimonials, social media content, or even at corporate events. As we mentioned, 'goals' is the operative word here. Entering your interview or interviews with a laid-out mission of what you want to accomplish is your first step on a path to a great interview. Here, we outline some basic, yet overlooked tips on filming corporate interviews.
Preparing for a corporate video interview sounds easy right? You've got your packet of questions in tow, your production team, and usually a client along to make sure the interview content is hitting all topics. But once shoot day arrives, the shoot can turn into a different story. So, being two steps ahead of the game is necessary to pull off a successful video interview.
In most corporate interviews, the subject will not be professionally trained to speak in front of a camera. Therefore, being able to put your subject at ease to make sure their interview runs fluently is a special trait of an experienced producer. Before the interview even begins, technical preparations must be made to ensure crisp sound, clean visuals, and an environment free of distractions. Scouting your interview area before, and posting a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door while rolling seem like easy enough measures, but if that's not taken care of beforehand, the interview will suffer from its distractions. Once the shooting environment is safe and sound, all eyes and ears are on the content to make the interview run smoothly.
Setting the Stage
The first task in setting up an eye-catching interview is choosing the physical setting. While interviews can be shot in rooms of all shapes and sizes, the feel of the final video is often proportional to the size of the space. The more you can separate your subject from their background, the more life-like the shot will look.
Lighting also plays key role in creating the emotion and feel of a piece. When you watch TV, you’ll find that news programs typically light people evenly, which means surrounding their face with light to eliminate shadows. Conversely, when you watch a movie or TV drama, you will often see one side of a person’s face in light and the other side in contrasting shadow. The latter style is known as cinematic lighting. Applying cinematic lighting to all interviews and corporate videos to create a dramatic quality will draw viewers in and give an attractive platform to the speaker.
Green-screens are another useful tool for shooting interviews of all kinds. If you want to get creative with the background, a green-screen provides nearly endless possibilities, but properly lighting the screen is critical to its use. When lighting a green-screen, try to light it as evenly as possible across the screen to eliminate shadows. Again, the more you separate your subject from the green-screen, the easier it is to key out the screen in post-production. Backlighting your subject from both sides will convey greater depth and separation between your subject and the background. Getting the most visual pop out of the subject and background will provide a captivating image that strikes the audience with its professionalism.
Crafting Interviews into Stories
All corporate videos will have to fit a certain length depending on the project. Though average interview runs approximately 20 to 30 minutes long, only 2 to 3 minutes will be used in the final cut itself. So how do you do edit the interview down while still providing a tight, coherent narrative? Before editing the video, transcribing the interview so you have a paper copy of the dialogue is a great way to start. From there, edit the dialogue first on paper to construct a journalistic story, homes in on the content spoken throughout.
Once the dialogue is cut, you create a table on which to match audio and video to the chosen dialogue. From there, it's time to craft a story that engages its audience by hitting the critical points cinematically, without repetition or unneeded footage. For example, if the primary theme of a story is “kind acts of love,” then you will cut anything that doesn’t contribute to that theme. This includes editing out any “ummm’s,” “ahhh’s,” and stutters, making the subject sound as eloquent as possible, filling those gaps with b-roll footage, and using very fast, one or two-frame audio dissolves (fades) that allow missing audio to go unnoticed. A great final interview should be organized and brief, while delivering all the information needed to tell your story.
When all is said and done, video interviews should read like honest, intriguing articles. The subject delivers the information, the producer guides them, and the editor makes sure it is all wrapped up in an appealing package. The best productions are attentive to detail. By preparing properly, creating a scene, and telling a well-rounded story, you can be assured that you'll come away with a great professional video interview.