Interviews are the main method for acquiring information from individuals. Study these 10 strategies to improve your interview skills.
Cover Photo:: Michael Pattinson, Public Domain
- If you wish to film someone, ALWAYS ask for permission before you start filming. If they do not give you their permission, please respect their privacy and do not film them.
- Know your interview location and how to get there.
- Pay attention to the background. Bright backgrounds like windows and white walls are slightly overexposed. Train your eye to search out good and interesting backgrounds for your subject.
- Place the camera next to your shoulder. During the interview, the subject should look at you, not at the camera.
- Eye line of subject and camera should be on the same level.
- Manually focus on the subjects face and lock the focus.
- Check if the microphone is working properly.
- Avoid unwanted background noise. Airplanes flying overhead, shopping-mall-music, the noise from an air-conditioner or computer fan mess up editing.
- Make your subject feel comfortable. Talk to your guests a few minutes before and after the interview.
- Ask open-ended questions. Questions that can be answered “yes” or “no” are closed-ended questions. They don’t contain much information of real value. Long questions are good.
Workshop: How to make a short documentary with a smartphone
Part 1: The best apps for making videos
Part 2: Mobile journalism must haves
Part 3: General filming tips
Part 4: Michael Rosenblum’s “five shot” method for meaningful video sequences
Part 5: Tips for shooting dynamic video interviews
Part 6: Working with video apps
Part 7: How to make a documentary
Part 8: Further reading