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Tips for Recording an Interview

tips for recording an interview

Recording on-camera interviews requires all of your production skills. When it comes to recording documentaries or commercial productions or even news programs, it all comes down to a well-lit ambiance, a well-equipped production unit, well-composed questions, and a well framed setting. A recorded interview is one of the most powerful elements for video storytelling that ties a storyline together. Consider the following production tips for recording an interview:

  • Find a clean, attractive backdrop that illustrates something about the interviewee. It could be their home or place of work. A cluttered background will not reflect well in the video and creates a wrong impression.
  • Find your frame or camera position and record three shots within it, including medium, wide, and close-up. While filming a shot, you want suitable depth in the shot, without any noticeable distractions.
  • Apply the Rule of Thirds to take well balanced, interesting shots that will increase viewer interest and rejuvenate the images. Frame your talent in a way that your shot covers one third of their body and two-thirds of the location to improve the composition and balance of images. You can always use an angle that turns the body profile of the person slightly away from the lens to produce well-balanced, more engaging, and aesthetically pleasing images. Avoid giving the interviewee too much headroom. Lean the camera to balance the image vertically.
  • Make sure the subject’s eyes are in line with the camera lens and interviewer’s eyes.
  • Set the lighting correctly, focusing on three-point lighting to enhance the look of your image. A touch of rim lighting is crucial to separate the subject from the backdrop. Keep a soft key light at an angle opposite to the backlight that highlights the hair edges, skimming down the subject’s face.
  • Adjust the camera’s frame so that no background objects point from behind the interviewee’s head. The frame should suit the subject’s hairstyle and body build. You might want to reframe the image intermittently so that you have a variety of shots available when editing the interview.
  • Use a shotgun microphone on the boom pole, making sure that it isn’t visible in the shot. Also use a lavaliere microphone on the talent. Monitor sound through headphones during the interview. Are there any problems with the mic or audio? Are there any background noises or clothes rustling? Don’t hesitate to request the talent to repeat a thought if they stumble on a word or there was some audio problem when it was being recorded.
  • Record cutaway shots to cover jump cuts during editing. Use natural, ambient sound from the room in case you need to add it to the audio during the edit. The ambient sound can be used to cover dead sound while editing.
  • No matter how well you direct a video production, there are bound to be a few places where a cut is essential or some visual variety will help sustain the viewers’ interest. It’s here that a cutaway comes to your rescue. Nobody will ever know there was an edit covering up a portion of the interview. It needs to look intentional.


We hope you found these tips for recording an interview helpful. Video One Productions is a leader in the Chicago video production industry. Contact us at (773) 252-3352 or for any assistance with your next professional interview videography.

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