Interview – Preparation


Posted By : Brad 0 Comment

1. Proper preparation techniques can maximize the opportunity for shooting testimonials. Once you have identified the participants, it is courteous and conducive to a successful interview to brief the participants approximately a week beforehand.

2. Prepare a list of proposed questions and considerations ahead of time and send them to the interviewees and to the production company to review. Interview questions should be open-ended, preferably starting with “Why” or “How.” Interviewees should be asked to incorporate the question in answer and to speak in complete sentences. Explain that they will look and speak directly to the interviewer, as opposed to the camera and that the viewer will only hear the answers, not the questions. This technique is commonplace on television news shows, for example. While the answers should be complete sentences, try to keep them short and concise. This is called a “good sound-bite.”

3. If possible, meet with the interviewees to address any of their concerns Stress that these are the types of questions that may be asked, but are not necessarily the exact questions. Discourage scripting or memorizing answers; instead tell them to try to answer in their own words. Note their initial responses and which questions they are most comfortable with. Ask them if they have ever done this kind of thing before and thank them for their time and input. Try to avoid using questions that the interviewees were initially uncomfortable with. By the same token, try to avoid if possible, interviewing someone who seems hesitant or uncooperative.

4. Interviewees should preferably avoid wearing white, black or red. Solid, muted colors like blue, green, brown, gray, yellow, or salmon are best. Also avoid thin stripes, distracting patterns or noisy jewelry. If a person wears glasses, plan for a few extra minutes of lighting set-up. Also, ask the person if it will be ok to apply a little powder to the face, if necessary.

5. Finalize your list of questions and study them. Practice them with an associate and memorize them so that at the time of the interview, you will be able to have as natural a conversation as possible.

Interview – Scheduling


Posted By : Brad 0 Comment

1. Secure quiet areas that do not interfere with other activities for the interview, if possible. Try to arrange a location scout, if you are unfamiliar with it. Note existing light sources and power outlets. Windows are fine, but should be avoided as a background. Use a plain wall instead with perhaps a plant and a non-distracting picture hanging. These props should be arranged to the side of the interview subject, so as not to look like they are growing out of his or her head! This kind of background can also be easily changed for multiple interviews in the same location, but it is best to vary locations, if time allows.

2. Think of any other shots that can be captured at the location and/or with the interviewee. These shots should supply visual support for the subject being discussed. Plan these shots to coincide with the person and location’s availability. The idea is to capture everything you need from one area before moving to another.

3. When creating your schedule, allow approximately one hour to get into the location and set-up before the interviewee arrives, so you are not wasting that person’s time. Allow approximately 30 to 45 minutes to set-up in an adjoining location. Allow approximately 45 minutes to shoot the interview.

4. The day before the interview, call everyone and remind them of the time and location. Find out what they plan on wearing — hopefully not all of them will be wearing the same color!

Interview – Production


Posted By : Brad 0 Comment

1. Arrive early and find out who at the location will help you direct all the people involved to the proper location. Sign in the camera crew and obtain any camera passes, if required.

2. The crew should light the area and test microphones with a person “standing-in” preferably the same height as the interviewee. Lighting may vary from available light only, to standard 3-point lighting (key, fill, backlight) to more extensive background lighting using colors and patterns. Microphones may either be boomed or clipped on. Typically, clip-ons are less intimidating to the interviewee.

3. The interviewer will be placed either slightly to the left or to the right of camera. Keep track of which way the interviewees are facing. You will want to alternate this from interview to interview in the finished video. The camera will zoom-in or zoom-out from question to question, but it will not need to be moved.

4. Once the interviewee arrives, break the ice and then allow him or her to be placed, miked and powdered. Remind the person to forget the cameras and just talk to you (easier said than done, you can confide to them). Begin casually discussing the interview subjects, allowing time to get used to the bight lights and to re-check the audio. But do not wear-out the interviewee before the cameras have started recording!

5. Once the camera is recording, you may want to begin by having the person say their name and title and even spell their name. This gives more time to check audio levels, eases the interviewee into the testimonial, and provides the editor with a handy reference for supering the name and title. Casually segue into the interview questions. You may smile and nod to help the interviewee, but you should avoid talking or making any noises at the same time. For optimal editing flexibility, wait two seconds after each answer before saying anything and encourage the interviewee to hold his or her focus for the same length of time. This keeps the audio clean and also gives the cameraperson time to zoom-in or out.

6. If you are not pleased with an answer, try to rephrase the question. If this subject had been discussed in the pre-interview, remind the person of something they said that stuck with you. If this still does not work, move on. You can not afford to let the interviewee lose confidence.

7. Pay attention to the answers instead of thinking ahead to the next question. You can always pause between questions to gather your thoughts. You can also ask the interviewee if he or she is pleased with the answer, but try to avoid playing back the tape after every question to speed up the process.

Interview – Presentation recording tips


Posted By : Brad 0 Comment

There is a cottage industry that exists in consulting and coaching Corporate America in speech and presentation skills. There is some information out there on the preparation of presentation materials, but virtually no information on preparing for the best live and recorded presentation. There is a certain give and take with considerations to the live audience versus the DVD or web viewers, and it is helpful to know how to maximize the quality for both.

PowerPoint (and other presentation materials)

If designing your own PowerPoint presentation, try to use dark backgrounds like blue with white letters. White or light backgrounds create a great deal of contrast between the relatively low light level on the presenter and the brightness of the screen. Blue makes a nice background that also compliments skin tone and makes it look warmer.

It is best to be able to secure either a rear screen or be able to position the laptop and projector close enough to the screen that the presenter is never standing in the projection. It is best to stand between the projector and the audience and definitely to be closer to the audience, if possible, than the screen. You can refer to the slide without having to physically touch it. A laser pointer can be effective when there is a lot of information up there, but most of the time, the audience can follow the information on the simpler slides. It is more pleasing to have the presenter looking forward at the audience instead of looking back at the screen. It is much easier to get a good video with the presenter downstage with the slide behind and slightly above him. It makes it easier to light also.


Many presentation consultants coach that a lot of movement gives the presenter and the audience a sense of energy and helps the presenter “stay in the flow.” This technique may need to be modified for a video/DVD presentation. Constant pacing back and forth makes it difficult for the camera to follow; resulting in either a wide shot or a constant panning that will make the viewer sick. Come to think of, constant pacing can sometimes make the live audience sick also. Try to use your arms and body to express yourself without moving out of a five by five area, for the most part. There are times when moving through the audience or making a dramatic move from one end to the other is effective, but not if it is done throughout the presentation. Use this energy instead in your vocal and gesture expression.


This is one of the classic trade-off issues between the live audience and video cameras. Low lighting is often aesthetically pleasing for presentation materials and the comfort of the audience and presenter. However, even good cameras need some light and the more light, the less grainy. Positioning the presenter as described above makes it possible to put one diffused spot-type light on the presenter without spilling on the screen. This light will likely be positioned somewhat to the side and as far back out of the way as possible. Some room lighting on the audience would be desirable. Fluorescent lighting should be avoided if possible.


Best to wear a colored shirt, such as blue. Avoid solid white, thin stripes or a big contrast between a dark suit and light shirt, if possible. Most men’s suits make it very easy to apply a lapel mic and make it as inconspicuous as a tie tack. Women’s suits are also easy, but a dress or jacketless shirt that has no collar or neckline is a little more difficult to deal with. Since there is usually not a lot of time to mic a presenter, it is recommended to wear a suit jacket if possible.


Finally, it is necessary to mic any presenter. Often the presenter will already have a microphone in order to be heard over a house AV sound system. The video camera person then has the option of taking an audio cable out of the house sound system, providing he can position himself close enough to the system or has enough cable and set-up time to be further away. Speaking of set-up time, the camera operator will need a few extra minutes to test the house sound coming into his camera, which is best done prior to the audience entering the room. The sound may come through distorted or be incompatible with the camera. This is why I usually opt for putting my own wireless mic on the presenter, even if he/she is already wearing one. The best option would be to use both sources, just in case, but this is not always feasible. If and only if the entire presentation will take place from a podium, a second mic (wireless or hard-wired can be secured to the podium. The general audio of the audience will be picked up by the presenter’s mic and possible a secondary ambient mic. Additional considerations exist for Q&A.


There is often structured and unstructured Q&A and it is difficult to anticipate everything that may happen and record all this audio. A handheld mic could be run around the room or a boom mic operator could go crazy trying to cover it all, but usually it is very cumbersome for the presenter to manage this. We suggest the presenter always try to repeat the questions for the benefit of the viewers and the live audience.

Set-Up Time

Setting-up and testing just one camera, one wireless mic and one light, takes at least a half hour, preferably one hour to be safe, if possible. The cameraperson needs to add time on top of this to make sure he/she can park and get into the facility in a timely fashion. For more than two presenters, most cameras have two inputs, a separate audio/mixer package would be needed and set-up time would be doubled. It is best for the presenter or meeting planner and the camera operator to either be familiar with the location or get a good description of the facility by asking all of these questions.

Ask all these questions!

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • IMDb