A week ago Vimeo released a video and an article with good tips on how to conduct your first DIY interview.  And, while we’ve discussed a lot of tips about interviews and whatnot, it can’t hurt to have some reminders and perhaps additional information.  Many of these are just basic shooting tips even when you aren’t conducting an interview.  But aside from the technical aspect of it, you need to make sure you’re prepared and your subject is at ease in front of a camera.  Following these steps should do the trick.

Vimeo’s DIY Interview Tips

As always, be prepared.  Let’s take a quick look at what Vimeo Video School has to say about conducting an interview.

1. Pick A Subject.  No kidding, right?  Pick a subject you’re interested in and you think others will be, too.  Once you do that, it’s time to learn everything you can about that person.

2. Do Research.  Go online, read past interviews, soak up everything you can so you can ask the right questions.

3. Prepare A List of Questions.  Write questions that are thoughtful and you feel will elicit thoughtful responses.

4. Mic Your Subject. Once it’s time to start shooting, you’ll need to mic your subject by using the first rule in miking people up: don’t use the internal mic built in to the camera.  Use an external recorder with a lavalier mic or boom mic.  We have a ton of articles on mics, including this one from Reel Rebel.

5. Compose Your Shot: Wide, medium, close-up.  Close-ups add intensity, wide shots are seen as more laid back.  Use the rule of thirds.  Figure out where the subject’s eye line will be so that they aren’t looking directly at the camera (usually at the interviewer slightly off camera) and the interview will look natural.  Make sure you get cutaways in case you need to cut into the footage or break up the shot every once in awhile.

6. Light Your SubjectThree point lighting techniques: In this video, they use the key light on camera left.  They then put the fill light opposite the key light.  They then use a “Hair light” (or back light) set up above the subject to separate them from the background.  If pro lighting isn’t around, reflect the natural light in the room with a bounce (or reflector).

7. Groom Your Subject.  Make the subject look good (hair, makeup, wardrobe, etc.) before putting him or her on camera.  You don’t want the person to look awful or distracting, unless that’s the point for some reason.

8. Engage With Your Subject.  Show that you’re listening with nods and smiles.  Make sure you have eye contact, but not too much.  You don’t want to make your subject uncomfortable with staring.

9. Resist Interrupting Unless Necessary.  Not only is this rude, but it hurts your audio and editing when there are interruptions.  Allow the subject to speak all the way to the end and even allow some time to make sure they don’t have more to say.

10.  Always Open Up to Going Off-book. Always ask if they have anything else they’d like to add.  These can lead to interesting snippets even more entertaining than the interview itself.

Vimeo Video School’s Equipment Needed for an Interview:

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • External recorder
  • Boom or lavalier mics
  • A few lights, but professional lighting isn’t necessary if you have good natural light

That’s it?  Totally.  Just follow the other steps and you’ll be great.