How to Interview Someone on Camera

How to Interview Someone on Camera

00:28 – Open Vs. Closed Questions
01:06 – Ask Them to Repeat the Question
01:32 – Prepare Your Questions
02:10 – Don’t Give Out Your Questions
02:30 – Stop Talking
03:01 – Give Them the Final Word

Interviewing someone on camera can be tricky. If you don’t ask the right questions in the right way, an interview can quickly become stale, boring or inauthentic. I’ve compiled a few tips for you, so you can make sure that the interview you are filming is as engaging and professional as possible.

Open Vs. Closed Questions
When interviewing someone, getting the best answer is your top priority. While asking the right question is crucial, HOW you ask the question is just as important. Asking open-ended questions is the best way to get the response you are looking for. For instance, asking ‘Do you enjoy your work?” will illicit a yes or no answer. But if you ask, “What are you working on at the moment?” will give you a far better response. It allows the subject to really get into the meat of the subject, and will give you much better content for your video.

Ask Them to Repeat the Question
When answering the question, have your subject include the question in their answer. If you ask, “What is the best part of your job?” their answer might start with “The best part of y job is…”. This simple technique will help out a lot when editing the video, especially if you don’t plan on having narration. It will give their answer context so the audience knows exactly what they are talking about.

Prepare your questions
Have your questions prepared before the interview. This may seem obvious, but it is a common mistake for interviewers to be overconfident or lazy before the interview and try to ‘wing it’. Think about what information you need from your subject and what type of questions will get the responses you want. But don’t think there isn’t room to improvise. If your subject starts to talk about something interesting, go with it and ask appropriate, natural questions. If you rigidly stick to your prepared questions, the conversation and rapport with your interviewee can suffer.

Don’t give out your questions
To get the best, most natural answers possible, it’s usually best not to give your questions out before the interview. You can give a general idea on what kinds of questions you’ll ask, but if the subject tries to prepare their answers, you run the risk of the interview being robotic and stale.

Stop Talking
Keep your questions short and to the point. If you ask a long-winded question, the subject may forget the point of the question, or not understand exactly what you are asking. Once you have finished asking the question, stop talking. Unless you are a subject in the interview, don’t make any noises such as “yeah” or “ok”. You can nod and gesture, but keep it quiet. This will make sure your voice isn’t picked up in the audio and will reduce editing time.

Give them the final word
At the end of the interview, ask if you have missed anything or if there is a topic they want to talk about. As prepared as you may be, sometimes the best information will be something you hadn’t thought of.

Following these simple tips will make sure that you film an informative and professional interview on video every time.

For any questions about filming interviews or if you’d like to shoot your own interviews, please contact me here at Dreamengine. I’d love to help.