There’s no doubt about it, videos are a superb way of getting your message out.
This article will give you 6 tips on how to improve the content of your interview video, whether it’s for internal or external communications.
Shooting your corporate video in house?
1. Come up with a title.
Putting a lot of thought into what you want to say is the foundation of a good interview video. Walking into a shoot with an hour or two booked of your talent’s time with a loose idea of message, more often than not, results in a video that is neither here nor there. If you want to make a video to communicate a piece of news to the rest of your organization, then in the planning stage write down the ‘story’ or ‘title’ in simple terms.
- ‘Introducing our new CEO’
- ‘The top sellers for 2015’
- ‘Why we are changing to a new CRM’
This bit is easy. Now you’ve got to stick to it.
2. Don’t get fancy schmancy.
Unless you’ve got your own skilled, dedicated camera operator or videographer, for the best looking video, keep the scope of your shoot really simple. If it’s an interview, then in the time you have booked for the shoot, just film the talent and capture good content. Don’t worry about fancy camera moves like focus pulls on the talent’s hands, close ups of their eyes while they are talking or even setting up a second camera to shoot from another angle. Avoid having cue cards or an autocue with a script on it because there’s a very high chance that the average Joe will end up coming across as unauthentic.
At the end of the day, the time spent on setting up and monitoring these sorts of items is better devoted to improving the quality of the interview and keeping your scope smaller, which in turn makes the video better. If the talent’s delivery is poor, no amount of camera angles is going to make a demonstrable difference. Instead, spend this time prepping your talent and doing shorter, more to the point takes. Usually the last couple of takes end up being the best because the talent is warmed up and is concise in their answer.
3. Break it down into 3 ‘questions’.
You’ve got around 2 minutes of video duration before you lose half your viewers.
Here’s another big part of whether people are going to watch your video and if they do, whether you will engage them:
Most interview videos are set up with the interviewer off camera asking questions to prompt answers or a discussion of a topic and you don’t always hear the question in the video. In many cases you might add a title frame with the question before you cut to the talent talking about the topic.
Try to stick to just 3 questions. And, because you want to engage your viewers, ask questions that they give a damn about. During your research, try and match these up with what the speaker is passionate about. Keep each question personal and hook into the talent’s emotion.
That’s right, stay light on the facts, figures and lists as there are other mediums that are better suited to conveying that type of detail. Don’t worry about asking them to say who they are and what they do at the start of the video as you’re using up valuable viewer attention span. Use a super for this (on screen text).
It can be hard but if you temper the talent’s thoughts on what they’d like to say, which often means carefully handling their ego, you’ll get a much more interesting video.
If during the shoot, you find yourself asking more questions than the 3 initially planned, your video will end up becoming longer, and your viewer drop off rate will increase. Avoid this like the plague. Stick to your plan. If there are more questions to ask, group them into distinct themes and make a series of several short videos.
A better video means better feedback for you, the talent and your boss. Everyone’s happy.
4. Stay within the talent’s comfort zone.
If the talent isn’t an extrovert and is quietly spoken or is eccentric, then go ahead and embrace this fact. Don’t fight it. Avoid trying to get them to be lively. It looks pretty bad on screen and often extends the shoot time as they may then try to be lively, unnaturally. This throws a massive spanner in the works. They might come across as fake. Often the talent loses their train of thought part way though their answer as it’s not how they would naturally speak. It’s usually at this point that in the interests of time, you might try to ‘pick it up’ by then filming just the section of the answer that was disrupted by their fumble. The outcome of this is an amateur looking video because you’ll be joining separate parts together to cut out the break in dialogue.
The best way around this is to ask the question again to get clean delivery from the start to the finish. By trying to get them to be someone they are not, you’re losing precious shoot time and the talent may be getting nervous, flustered or frustrated which you’ll be acutely aware of and you don’t need that kind of pressure. Give them plenty of practice questions to calm the nerves, keep the pace of the interview slow and stick to your questions.
The best interview material can sometimes come from quietly spoken, introverted talent, as once you get into their comfort zone, there is an intensity and passion that comes through. If you’ve asked the right questions, then you’re on the right track.
5. Keep it short.
Remember that after around 2 minutes you’ve lost around half your viewers.
Get straight to the point, find the emotion in the subject and hone in on it. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be covering the right stuff. In a sense, you almost want to leave the viewer wanting more at the end of the video, which is much better than boring them to death. Well done, you’ve engaged your staff with your video.
The next video(s) in the series should follow the same approach as outlined above – short and sweet, each with it’s own theme.
If you’re uploading the videos to your own intranet (for want of a better word), then shorter videos are also smaller in file size, which means better looking videos. That’s way better than the highly compressed, long videos that play in a small player and sometimes pause as the video tries to load partway through playback which puts a damper on all your hard work.
6. Use small words.
Have your talent use every day language and be candid – the closer you get to this, the better. Again, stay within their comfort zone but assure them that the way they are talking to you off camera is the same way they need to answer your questions. Your practice questions will help tone down formality.
Crack a joke.
Try to avoid them going into ‘performance mode’ when the camera’s rolling which can happen when they hear the camera operator say ‘camera rolling’. If you’re filming it yourself, don’t make a big deal about being ready to press record, play that down.
This can help you avoid a delivery that loses viewers.
There’s no time for waffling or being verbose either.
Preparation is everything as is experience. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Stick to your plan and be confident. Be respectful to your talent but stay in control of the project.
Most of all, have fun.