how to shoot an interview - sound and vision media

Shooting an interview is a nuanced process that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and effective communication between the interviewer, interviewee, and production team. Whether you’re conducting a one-on-one interview or capturing a panel discussion, following a structured approach can help ensure a smooth and successful shoot. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to shoot an interview:

1. **Pre-Production Planning**:
– Define Objectives: Clearly outline the purpose and goals of the interview, including the key messages or themes to be addressed.
– Research the Interviewee: Gather background information about the interviewee to tailor questions and anticipate topics of interest.
– Select Location: Choose a quiet and well-lit location that is conducive to filming and minimizes distractions or interruptions.
– Arrange Equipment: Ensure all necessary equipment, including cameras, microphones, lighting, and accessories, is set up and tested prior to the shoot.

2. **Setting Up the Shot**:
– Camera Setup: Position the camera at eye level with the interviewee, maintaining proper framing and composition. Use a tripod to stabilize the camera and avoid shaky footage.
– Lighting: Use soft, diffused lighting to illuminate the subject evenly and minimize harsh shadows. Position lights strategically to enhance facial features and create a flattering look.
– Audio Setup: Place microphones close to the interviewee to capture clear and crisp audio. Use lapel mics or boom mics for optimal sound quality and minimal background noise.
– Background: Choose a visually appealing background that complements the subject matter and avoids distractions. Consider using a shallow depth of field to blur the background and draw focus to the interviewee.

3. **Preparing the Interviewee**:
– Establish Rapport: Build a rapport with the interviewee to help them feel comfortable and relaxed during the interview. Engage in casual conversation to break the ice and establish a connection.
– Explain the Process: Brief the interviewee on the format and structure of the interview, including the types of questions to expect and any technical considerations.
– Mic Check: Conduct a mic check to ensure audio levels are properly set and there are no issues with sound quality. Monitor audio levels throughout the interview to detect and address any issues promptly.

4. **Conducting the Interview**:
– Ask Open-Ended Questions: Begin the interview with open-ended questions that encourage the interviewee to provide detailed and thoughtful responses. Listen actively and maintain eye contact to demonstrate attentiveness.
– Be Flexible: Allow the conversation to flow naturally, but be prepared to steer it back on track if it veers off-topic. Ask follow-up questions to delve deeper into interesting or relevant points raised by the interviewee.
– Encourage Authenticity: Foster an environment where the interviewee feels comfortable expressing themselves authentically. Avoid interrupting or interjecting unless necessary, and refrain from leading or influencing their responses.
– Manage Time: Keep an eye on the clock to ensure the interview stays within the allotted time frame. Be mindful of any time constraints and adjust the pace of the interview accordingly.

5. **Monitoring the Shot**:
– Continuously Monitor: Stay vigilant throughout the interview to monitor camera angles, framing, lighting, and audio levels. Make adjustments as needed to maintain visual and auditory quality.
– Check Focus: Periodically check focus to ensure the interviewee remains sharp and in focus. Adjust focus settings as necessary to maintain clarity and sharpness.

6. **Post-Production Considerations**:
– Review Footage: After the interview, review the footage to ensure it meets quality standards and captures the desired content. Take note of any technical issues or areas for improvement.
– Backup Footage: Make backup copies of the footage to safeguard against data loss or corruption. Store backups in multiple locations to mitigate the risk of loss.
– Transcribe Interviews: Transcribe the interview to create a written record of the conversation, which can be useful for editing and reference purposes.

In summary, shooting an interview requires careful planning, effective communication, and attention to detail at every stage of the process. By following these guidelines and best practices, you can capture compelling and engaging interviews that effectively communicate your message and resonate with your audience.