As an online learning addict – who also happens to be a video content producer – it should come as no surprise that online video interviews are a favourite of mine. Informational web video is a powerful way for businesses to demonstrate their value to prospects. By interviewing fellow subject experts and colleagues, both parties can potentially expand the number of people viewing their high-value free-of-charge content. And considering the impact a video offers for the cost, it also offers fantastic return on investment. This is especially true when you shoot it yourself. But there is a catch: it needs to be done well.
As a producer of video content, I admittedly pay a little extra attention to the level of care taken in shooting a video. But even to the untrained eye, the low quality of a lot of online video work out there is downright shocking! People would never hand out brochures rife with typos, blurry images and ragged edges. So, why is it that posting a link to a painfully ramshackle DIY video interview is perfectly acceptable to some people? This carelessness is all the more disconcerting when you understand that, unlike print material, video is around forever, and that, by its very nature, it is conceived to proliferate across social networks for as many people as possible to see.
No need to despair. You are not one of those people. At least not after today. Not if I can help it.
Here are my top three to-dos that will ta-da your self-made video interviews:
- TEST it! Video call your interviewee via the medium you will be using on shoot day (Skype, WebEx etc.) a few days before the interview and test your lighting and sound. Be sure to make the call around the same time the actual interview will take place – especially if you’re using natural light from windows. And by all means, let the light shine in! Nothing is more flattering than natural light; but you need to make sure there is just enough of it, and that it is well placed. Are there any unbecoming shadows? Are there any distracting (or distasteful) objects in frame? Are your subjects framed in a flattering way or do they need to back off from their computer or sit higher in the shot?Also think about camera angle. If you are interviewing more than one person, think about consistency in lighting, framing and geometry as well. Doing these things doesn’t mean you are being overly fussy or demanding; you are being professional. The people you work with won’t abhor you for your attention to detail. They will actually appreciate the effort you are making to ensure they look their absolute best.
- “Check. 1… 2… 3… Hey, is this thing on?” Invest in a great microphone. Nothing says low-rent/couldn’t-care-less, like bad sound. While audiences will tolerate a less-than-perfect image, they will click away from your video faster than you can say “mumble, slur, mumble” if they cannot hear what is being said. If someone has to turn their ear toward their computer and start monkeying with volume settings there’s a good chance you’ve already lost them. And irritating a prospective customer by creating work for them is never the first impression you want to make.That air-conditioner that sounds like a 747 powering up for take off? Turn it off! Are your children in the next room audibly delivering on their crusade against an evil pan-galactic empire? Come shoot day make sure they go on a play-date instead. As for that cheap microphone? Ditch it. You fret about the professionalism of everything else that represents your business. Why would you… buzzz… hissss… cheap out… whistle… on something as important… click… as the quality of sound!
- Oh, and Smile. It amazes me that people don’t know to do this. Sure, you might be nervous. But you’re also nervous when you meet someone in business, right? You always seem capable of mustering up a smile then. Also, don’t look at the on-screen image of yourself when asking questions and listening to your guest’s answers. Check your hair before you start the call and then forget about it. Primping and fretting about how you look (or adoring yourself) is a big turn-off. Your audience will not respond favourably to even a hint of narcissism.
Look into your camera so your audience feels you are looking at them. This also helps your interviewee feel that you are focused on them, which in turn bolsters their confidence – and inspires their passion for the interview. Everyone performs better for an attentive audience!
I also suggest putting a sticky-note with a happy face on it near your camera to help you remember to smile. If you do your best to authentically connect, both with the person you are interviewing, and with your audience, you can be confident they will connect with you.
Video is the next best thing to being in the room with someone – this is why when it’s done poorly it can do more damage than good.
I hope these tips help you improve the quality of your web-video interview efforts. I know that working together to bring about an end to the scourge of web video-villainy certainly helps me!
I’d love love love to see the work you’ve done. Please share a link to your newer, better video interview featuring a wonderful guest in the comments section below.
Until next time…
…that’s a wrap! xo