Successful Ways to Shoot Video Interviews

A great way that you can convey information about your company, service or topic of interest is by shooting a video interview. Once you have the acquired key information you are looking to convey, you can weave the footage together with B-roll cut-aways that enhance your piece through video storytelling.


Think of the audio as the key driving force. Video coverage, whether a talking head or cut-away is there to supplement the video storytelling.

Video interviews can be produced with one camera or as a multi-camera shoot. A decision needs to be made prior to the shoot if you want to have a host / reporter / interviewer that is seen as well as the subject. If you decide to show the interviewer, it is best to have at least two cameras. This will help keep the spontaneity of the interview alive. If you are limited to one camera, you can have the interviewer re ask all the questions again after the subject is interviewed and shoot that along with some listening / reaction shots.

Michael Howland - OmNom New San Leandro interview
Michael Howland - OmNom
New San Leandro interview

A common technique used by many video production companies is to ask a series of questions and then cut out all of the questions by the interviewer so that you only have the subject telling their story. Since the interviewer and their questions are not seen or heard, it is important that the “answers” include a frame of reference. You may need to prompt the interview subject to repeat the frame of reference. You would want them to respond with “I started the xyz company in 2010” instead of them just saying “in 2010”. For a corporate video production or testimonial video, it is imperative that you get the subject to repeat the name of the company or product they are endorsing.

Derick Lee - New San Leandro

A successful way to get good video interviews is to ask open-ended questions or make open-ended statements like “Why do you feel that way?” or “Tell me more about that”. This allows the subject to elaborate in their own way. Try to be an active listener as well and try not to interrupt. Know when to ask a follow up question instead of just moving on to the next question on the list. Sometimes the best statements are elaborated answers, sidebars or follow up responses.

In this video interview with Michael Howland of the OmNom Project created for the City of San Leandro by Direct Images Interactive, CIO Deborah Acosta and I wanted to use a host. We included the questions by the interviewer, Derick Lee. We decided to use two Canon 5D Mark IIIs to record the interview as it happened. This allowed us to get some great spontaneous interaction between Mike and Derick. You can learn more about Mike and the OmNom Project at the upcoming Make San Leandro event held on May 31, 2014.

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Topics: Video, Thought Leadership

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