Interviewing Tips 

The following tips apply to interviews where the interviewer is out of frame and whose questions will not feature in a final edit. 

"Uhuh, uhuh, yeah, I've just destroyed your answer"

Most interviews benefit from efforts to put the interviewee at ease. However, interacting with the interviewee audibly is likely to ruin the interviewee's answer. This is because noise from the interviewer cannot be separated from the audio from the interviewee. For newbies we recommend you practice nodding! Be particularly careful at the end of a good answer - relief often leads to audible agreement which can destroy the whole piece.

Your question in their answer

You should always ask the interviewee to put your question in their answer. Your voice is not going to feature in the video and so it is important that the interviewee's answers are understandable on their own. Most interviewees will quickly get the hang of this, although, you may have to interrupt and remind others.

Be a mirror

People often mirror the body language of those around them and this is definitely the case for video interviews. Adopt the body language you would like the interviewee to take and they are likely to mirror you. Naturally, it usually makes sense to avoid negative body language. Don't show stress or it may appear on the faces of your interviewees.

Listen for 'In points' and 'Out points'

Editors are looking for 'In points' and 'Out points' as these delineate the possible building blocks of an interview. There can be many of these in one piece of interview and it is important that you listen for these. Without clear in and out points your final video is likely to suffer. For newbies we have two suggestions:

  • Make sure the interviewee starts their answer clearly - don't be afraid to ask them, within the first few seconds, to start their answer again.
  • Listen for a clear 'out point' - if an interviewee makes a strong start and then trails off, the answer may be useless and you may need to ask the question a second time. 
  • Considering the length of time between in and out points. If the length of time is too long then it may change the pace or duration on your final film. Don't be afraid to ask for a shorter answer.

Interestingly, politicians are adept at delivering their message before giving an out point.

Don't be afraid to ask for a do-over or a shorter answer

This isn't journalism or a live broadcast. If an interviewee is willing to take part then they are usually happy to provide the soundbites needed, so do not be afraid to ask an interviewee to provide their answer again or in a shorter form.

Remember 'eyelines'

Eyelines are incredibly important in this kind of interview, so it's important that the interviewee is encouraged to ignore the camera entirely and look at you. Some (e.g. regular public speakers) may find this a challenge so don't be afraid to ask and remind continually if necessary. If an interviewee's eyeline wanders around the room or to the camera during an answer you may be able to draw back their eyeline by nodding and holding their gaze.