Setting up an Interview

Setting up an Interview:


Interview Structure 


A video interview can be thought of as a conversation involving three types of people:

* The interviewer is the facilitator. (S)he chooses the topic of conversation, asks questions and guides the discussion.

* The guest is the subject of the interview. (S)he will do most of the talking and get most of the camera shots.

* The viewer is a silent observer who has been invited into the conversation.

This creates a three-way interaction. A successful interview will include all three groups in the correct mix.

  • Begin by setting the scene.
  • Invite the viewer into the conversation by introducing the location, guest and topic.
  • The way the interview progresses will depend on the situation. A short vox-pop style interview will last long enough to get the information from the guest and then close, often quite abruptly.
  • A more in-depth or personal interview will usually go through a settling-in stage where simple facts are discussed, then move gently towards the more thorny issues or whatever the topic of discussion is.


Interview Questions


Most interviews seek to achieve one or more of the following goals:

1. Obtain the interviewee’s knowledge about the topic

2. Obtain the interviewee’s opinion and/or feelings about the topic

3. Feature the interviewee as the subject

  • It’s important that you know exactly why you are conducting an interview and which goal(s) you are aiming for.
  • Stay focused on questions and techniques which will achieve them.
  • Do your homework. You will be expected to have a basic knowledge of your subject.
  • If you show your ignorance, you lose credibility and risk being ridiculed. At the very least, the subject is less likely to open up to you.
  • Have a list of questions. If you are looking for spontaneous answers then it’s best to wait until the interview to ask the questions.
  • Ask the subject if there are any particular questions they would like you to ask.
  • Listen to your subject. A common mistake is to be thinking about the next question while the subject is answering the previous one, to the point that the interviewer misses some important information. This can lead to all sorts of embarrassing outcomes

Conducting the Interview

In order to get the best possible answers and responses out of your interview you will want to follow these basic rules.


Off Camera: preform the following….

  • Introduce yourself and your title and thank your interviewee for taking part in this interview.
  • Find an ideal location to conduct an interview (consider light, ambient noise, and possible distractions)
  • Get the proper pronunciation of your subjects name and title
  • Conduct a pre-interview. Ask simple questions that will ‘loosen up’ your subject.
  • Ask questions about their home life, work, a funny story. Something that can be brought up later during the actual taped interview.
  • Make sure your subject looks camera ready (i.e; no food in their teeth, dust on their jacket, something in their nose, ect.)
  • Preform a sound check on your subject. One of the worst things would be to stop an interview in the middle to adjust something that should have been done beforehand.


On Camera: preform the following….

  • Before you start the actual interview, have the subject spell their first and last name on camera. This may seem odd but when you go back to edit later you want to have the correct spelling.
  • The ideal shot composition for an interview is a Medium Shot / Close Up. You don’t want it too wide.
  • Start your interview with a basic open-ended question. (how do you feel? what is a typical day like for you? what does your job mean to you?)
  • Listen to your subject. They may mention something you previously did not know – asking a follow up question to whatever they say may generate your best answer.
  • Read your subjects body language. Are they tense? Do they seem nervous? Are they talking to softly? Do they not give full answers?
  • Maintain eye-contact. Even tho you are most likely not in the shot, maintaing eye contact creates a level of professionalism.
  • End the interview by asking the subject, “is there anything else you would like to add?”. This gives the subject a chance to clarify, elaborate, or express any opinions that weren’t made clear during the interview.
  • Thank your subject for their time.

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