In this blog post we’re going to advise you how to get the best video testimonial content out of your interviewees, whether they’re customers, employees, or executives. Invariably, we work with clients that like to have someone on their own team conduct interviews themselves because of reasons like established rapport or perhaps they’re better suited to ask questions specific to their subject matter. Whatever the case, our advice here applies to just about any interview situation. So follow along to start with the basics of video interviewing.
Advise all interviewees to restate a condensed version of the question you ask them in the first part of their answer, so that there’s verbal context to what’s being addressed. In other words, if I ask you what your name is, you don’t just say “John/Jane Smith”. Instead, you want to say “My name is John/Jane Smith”. While it’s possible to provide context for an answer via on-screen text or graphics, it’s still advisable to get this brief moment of context on camera regardless.
Piggybacking off the need to establish context for whatever’s being discussed by restating the question, it’s also advisable to use proper nouns when referring to people, places, or things. If I were to simply tell you that “it was great”, you’d invariably be wondering what “it” is. If there’s not at least one mention of what a pronoun is referring to by name, the content being delivered is potentially shortchanged as a result.
Anyone you interview on camera for a testimonial should be able to naturally talk enthusiastically about the subject matter. That doesn’t mean they won’t still need some coaching, since speaking on camera can be unnerving for some. Once they overcome that obstacle in their mind, they should be able to sound at least somewhat excited about whom or what they’re addressing. We remind our interviewees of this on a regularly, because if they don’t sound excited, the viewing audience won’t be as compelled by their testimony. That said, whom you put on camera should not have to force anything out of them that you want to get. Pick the right people for the task!
An Important Step
An important step you take well before the cameras are rolling is to pre-interview your interviewee(s). In essence, ask them the questions you want to ask and jot down their answers. This way, you can take the time to review them and figure out what you do or don’t want on the actual recording. You can also send those responses to our team for a review from the perspective of a professional video producer. Moreover, if the interviewees know in advance what you want to ask them, they’re likely to give either better responses or at least better refine what they said last time.
Often times the less words it takes to make a point, the stronger the point. When interviewing someone on camera, and especially if they’re not use to the process, some people will ramble on when making their points. The content may be good, but if it takes too long to get to the point, it’s less effective and becomes unusable for in shorter versions of your video content.
What we may do after each answer is delivered is ask the interviewee to say what they said again, but shorter. Sometimes, we may just want something as simple as a single line or sentence. Whatever the case may be, it’s a quick and easy thing to do during an interview that could make a significant difference in your video.
One of the important things to have for the video editor is a clean in and out from every answer to a question. It’s natural, especially after someone stumbles over their words, to immediately want to jump right back into speaking again. However, as a video editor, such rushed transitions make video editing of that particular content difficult.
In short, we’ll frequently ask for a pause in between question and answer, after mistakes, and at the end, so that our video editors can make sure the story is told without distractions.
Virtually every place that you go, unless it’s acoustically treated to absorb sound, has both a natural reverberation and background noise, typically coming from air conditioning systems, white noise generators, passing cars, or other sources. “Room tone” simply refers to that background noise. For every interview, in order to more effectively remove the background noise that can find its way into your audio, we need to record nothing but that room tone.
This means that at the beginning or ending of every recording we do, we’ll want to take anywhere from 10-30 seconds to record that background noise. Everyone in the room would need to be both still and silent for the duration of room tone recording in order to make sure the noise removal filters function at their best.
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