As a YouTube Creator, you don’t have to wait for big network news agencies or publishers to contact you – you can generate your own publicity by creating high-quality interview videos with clients, others in your industry, partners and more!
With these types of videos, you can attract viewers looking to learn new information and meet interesting people in your niche. The best part for all you producers who get nervous in front of the camera: you can focus on the content and shift some of the attention from you to others who have fascinating things to say.
Before you hit Record…
Creating a fantastic interview video your audience will enjoy and find value in starts in the planning process. Before you even think about hitting Record on your phone or DSLR, you’ll want to consider these factors so you can produce a high-quality video you’ll be proud of and save time in the editing process.
Plan ahead and do your research
What is the storyline of the piece? What topic will your subject be speaking about and what will they say? A good way to reduce ambiguity and ease any nerves is to pre-arrange some questions to prompt helpful answers from the person you’re interviewing. Be flexible with your questions and prepared to follow any storylines you may not have anticipated.
Choose a suitable location Scope out your location and make sure it reflects your topic well. For example, if your subject is a hairdresser, you’d want to interview them at their salon; if they’re a mechanic, maybe have them in their shop. People are inherently visual; they want to connect the story they’re being told with what they’re seeing.
Find an interesting (but not distracting) background Look for a background that’s interesting yet not distracting to your audience. Rather than settling for a blank wall, what if you interviewed your client in their element (if they’re a podcaster, maybe they have a studio, if they’re a writer, perhaps they have a favorite chair or desk to work at, if they’re an executive, maybe they have a corner office, etc.).
Also, check that there won’t be any background noise or visuals to distract your viewer from the main subject. You want your audience’s attention to focus on the person talking – not constant background din or noise.
Another background trick: Pull the person away from the background and knock the background slightly out of focus to create depth and give your viewer a subtle indication of where they should focus their attention.
Invest in good, clean audio
Visuals are important, but audio is essential when it comes to producing professional interview videos because your viewer will connect with your subject by listening to what they’re saying. If it’s done right, your audience will never think about it but do it wrong and it will be obvious immediately. If they can’t hear your content, the message (and your audience) will be lost. To avoid that, you may need to use a microphone separate from your camera.
Frame your subject
Framing is key – you want to frame your subjects (the people in front of the camera) so the frame reaches just a touch above their head and cuts off just above their waist, so your viewer can clearly see who’s speaking.
While planning ahead of time, choosing a great location and background, and investing in good audio will help make the editing process easier, your work isn’t done once you’ve stopped recording. When it comes to editing, you have an opportunity to polish your video and include a few cues for your audience to improve their understanding of your subject and the message behind your topic.
Create a title
A title is the equivalent to a book cover – it gives the viewer a clue as to what they’re about to see and eases them into your video. Creating a title and adding introductory music to draw your viewer in are the first things you’ll want to do. Then you’ll probably want to transition to a wide shot of your speaker.
How to avoid boring your audience
When it comes to making interview videos, your first fear might be that you’re going to bore your audience. After all, won’t watching more than a couple of minutes of talking heads put anyone to sleep? There are a few ways to get around this:
Take your shot(s) Mixing up the types of shots you use keeps things fresh. Two of the most popular shots include:
A mid shot or medium shot is a camera angle shot from a medium distance and shows equality between your subjects and their background. It’s often used on news broadcasts and when filming interviews when the subject is delivering information. This shot is a casual one that allows the subject to use hand gestures.
A close-up is used to show detail. In this shot, a certain feature or part of the subject takes up most of your frame (usually their face). You’d use a close-up to draw your viewer into the subject’s personal space and share their feelings.
Reflect on how you’ll time your shots to coincide with the questions you’re asking and your subject’s answers. You don’t want to miss an amazing soundbite because you were switching frames. Listen for key messages you want to highlight or make sure you include in your final video.
And don’t be afraid to get them to repeat an important point. They’re spending time to make sure you capture their best side. If their first attempt had a lot of stops and starts or “umms” and “ahs” get them to repeat it a bit more concisely to help you out later in the editing process. Transition between two shots with a simple fade to black.
In this task, there’s a lot more to shooting an interview video than just hitting the ‘Record’ button, then posting your video! You’ll want to put some planning, thought and some final editing touches on your piece to get it ready for prime time.