Videos are good for your website. Many visitors like to get their information that way, they lend themselves to social media use, and they make you look good on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Interviews are one of the easiest types of videos to do. The conversational aspect is more comfortable for many people than the “talking head” effect of being alone in the video, and the overall effect can be more friendly. Questions and answers cut down on the “ummm” tendency and are easier than memorizing a speech.
That doesn’t mean that you should just turn the camera on and chat. We did an interview with Douglas Hutchings, owner of myDealCompass.com, which has inspired me to collect some dos and don’ts for you.
Do have a plan. We went in with specific questions and we told Douglas ahead of time what we’d be asking so that he could be ready with his answers. At the same time, we also planned the marketing points we wanted to have made, and the various ways we’d distribute the video, so we could be sure to have appropriate clips for all our goals.
Do be open to serendipity. As Douglas talked, other questions came to mind, so we asked those after the main part of the interview was completed. We also accepted Doug’s invitation to visit his lab, and got some footage there as well. These additional elements will give us some different views and movements to use in editing, too. The structure of the interview is there, so it will look like an interview, but it will look like an especially interesting interview.
Do think about the visuals while you’re setting up and shooting. If you look closely at the picture at the top of the post, you’ll see Rosie and her camera reflected in the mirrored background of a display case. It was just a couple of frames and we can edit it out, but it would have been sad if the whole interview had been done in that spot. In the image below, you can see where we put interviewer Jonathan and interviewee Doug: in front of a simple background, with no plants growing from their heads. Outside of a studio or a green screen, you can’t usually get a completely plain background, but this one isn’t distracting.
Don’t try to do it alone, even if you have a tripod or webcam that makes it possible. Rosie was watching the video, even when she was using a tripod, to catch any sections that needed to be redone. I was listening and taking notes to identify topics we’d want expanded on or clarified. That meant that Jonathan was able to relax and interact naturally with Douglas instead of having half his attention on the filming.
Don’t try to do it all in one go. The basic interview took about ten minutes. Douglas was willing to spend another ten with us making sure that we had all the footage we needed. That meant we didn’t get started editing and have to work around a bad shot or an unclear word.
Don’t forget the closing “thank you.” When you finish the footage, you won’t be finished with the interaction, so it’s easy to end up with your “Thanks for taking the time” off camera. It makes a nice ending to your interview, though. Record it and then have interviewer and interviewee smile at one another a moment before turning away to allow for editing.
These reminders will help you make the experience smooth and painless for everyone.