How-To: Shoot Interviews

Before pressing record, you NEED to always think about your subjects position within the setting. How is the light? What is the light source, Is it too dark or too light? What about the surrounding audio, Is it noisy or near something that can make noise?

Knowing the answer to these questions will enable you to quickly adapt to any situation, whether you are shooting inside or outside.

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When you see a video request from Stringr, sometimes we’ll ask for interviews. Interviews, sound bites or SOTS as they are called in the news business are important because it allows those on the scene to share their perspective.

This makes knowing HOW to shoot a basic interview a key skill if you want to be a great videographer.

Here are the basics.  Let’s start with…

Sit-down interviews

When shooting a sit down interview you can set up lights or utilize the natural light.  Position your subject in an area where the light is even and casts soft shadows on the face. Watch out for windows where sunlight will silhouette your subject.  If you happen to be near windows, set up sideways and use the sunlight to your advantage.

Once you have found your location, set up your tripod and frame your subject using a medium shot. Most networks overlay lots of graphics so you want to make sure the shot is loose enough so that the subject won’t get covered up. Still you want the shot to be tight enough so that viewers can focus on the person being interviewed.

Depending on the mood of the interview you want to capture, you can either have your subject in the center of the frame staring into the camera or off to the side using the rule of thirds. If ever in doubt, choose the center of the frame.

Make sure to have your interviewers head at the same height as the camera. Then position them off to either side of the tripod in the direction of the subjects lead room.

To record clear audio, use an external microphone pointed straight at your subject. Either a lavaliere or shotgun microphone will work best.

Another kind of interview is called
M-O-S…which stand for “Man on the Street”—basically these are more informal interviews where you catch people who are out in public.

When shooting outside you need to be very aware of the surrounding light and audio.

Ideally you will have a tripod, but if not keep your shot as steady as possible.  Once again you will want to use a medium shot and framing to include some of the scene behind your subject.

Since there will be a lot of other noises, try to get your subject away from loud noises if possible. If not, just get your microphone as close as possible to capture the best sound bits.

The addition of a simple interview to B-roll footage can drastically increase the chances of your footage being downloaded and lead to more money in your pocket.

3 comments

  1. Stringr · October 4, 2015

    Reblogged this on THE STRINGR BLOG and commented:

    Shooting interviews is an essential skill for any Stringr. Check out our easy tips for acing MOS and other types of interviews in this video blog.

    Like

  2. Donald Schwartz · January 26

    Hi:

    Curious as to how to contact Stringr when on assignment to advise of problems in the field, for example, I was on assignment covering the Women’s March in Washington, DC and had no Internet access and could not upload my footage prior deadline. Perhaps Stringr could arrange for texting service to either advise the client as to the delay or advise the freelancer that under the circumstances an upload is no longer necessary.

    Like

    • Stringr · April 2

      Hi Donald, you can text us at (646) 687-5123 at anytime! Sorry to hear you experienced upload issues. – Kait

      Like

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