On-camera interview tips


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A series of tips on what to avoid and how to get the best out of an on-camera interview for TV. Written for journalism students preparing for a career in broadcasting.

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On-camera interview tips

  1. 1. Image courtesy of opendays.eu via Flickr released under Creative Commons THE INTERVIEW On-camera tips
  2. 2. The on-camera interviewGet the lighting right Avoid wash out Lighting and external noise control are some of the most important factors when selecting an interview location It’s important to ensure the interview is shot in the best light Image courtesy of mberry via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  3. 3. The on-camera interviewGet the positioning right Remove barriers Don’t feel the need or obligation to place the person behind his or her desk. By removing it as a protective barrier and a symbol of power, you’ll see the difference in his or her demeanour and attitude Image courtesy of Patrick Q via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  4. 4. The on-camera interviewCheck the background The right environment Avoid shooting situations where there’s a flat surface within two meters behind the interviewee It gives the viewers a feeling of confinement – they want to know where they are in the environment Image courtesy of Cherry Crimson via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  5. 5. The on-camera interviewPick the right position A relaxed pose There’s no rule that says every person you’re interviewing needs to be sitting in a chair. Ask them to lean or sit partially on a desk or other piece of furniture. It will put them in a more relaxed and casual state of mind Image courtesy of Blackangel via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  6. 6. The on-camera interviewKeep contrast in mind Avoid silhouettes Take advantage of background colours, shades and light levels to enhance the contrast of the picture For example, someone with dark skin, hair or clothing may photograph better if the background is also darker Too much contrast makes the camera very unhappy Image courtesy of –mrsraggle- via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  7. 7. The on-camera interviewLimit movement Avoid spin Never allow them to sit in a chair that has wheels, that can swivel or that can rock Nervousness will show in telltale movement of the chair and could disrupt the flow of the interview Image courtesy of MexBeadyEyes via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  8. 8. The on-camera interviewPrevent fiddling Remove distractions Remove any items from within reach of the person – items that he or she could pick up and fiddle with during an interview Again, it suggests to the viewer that the Image courtesy of JeffDoe via Flickr person is nervous released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  9. 9. The on-camera interviewHands free Tea before or after Don’t allow them to be holding anything in their hands during the interview, such as a pen, their glasses, coffee or a cigarette (Except when there is an overriding reason for it – as in a demonstration or a story about coffee, cigarettes, smoking, etc.) Image courtesy of PiddleVille via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  10. 10. The on-camera interviewKeep documents out of reach No referring to notes If they want to have notes, books, files or documents in front of them to which they can refer, politely ask them to put them somewhere out of reach Be prepared to stop the interview so that they can check notes However, it’s best if you tell them to speak only about Image courtesy of Luz via Flickr what they know released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  11. 11. The on-camera interviewBest use of available light Lighting options are good If the photographer has only one portable light, allow him or her to use the main light from a window to light the subject’s face and the portable light to act as a backlight or hair light It’s always worth having lighting options on hand Image courtesy of Tomas.Quinones via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  12. 12. The on-camera interviewRearrange background items Interior design skills Don’t be afraid to open or close drapes or shades, move furniture or remove items from the walls or from flat surfaces to enhance the composition and Image courtesy of Anderson Mancini via Flickr lighting of the picture released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  13. 13. The on-camera interviewAvoid reflections Important to see the eyes If the person is comfortable doing the interview without wearing glasses, consider doing that. It will prevent reflection and glare problems during the interview. No matter how well the photographer plans the picture, light will probably reflect off the glasses and Image courtesy of ImageMD via Flickr into the camera lens released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  14. 14. The on-camera interviewLimit distractions Do not disturb Turn off mobile phones, unplug or turn off regular phones, turn off anything that can generate any sounds Be aware of pets in adjoining rooms or activities outside windows. If there are workers outside ask them to take a break during the interview. If children are playing outside, find a way to encourage them to play somewhere else Image courtesy of The Facey Family via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  15. 15. The on-camera interviewPlace warnings Polite signs If you can, put a note on any doors that lead to your interview location. “Shhh. We are conducting an interview. Please come back later? Thanks!” Image courtesy of DR.ZVLV via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  16. 16. The on-camera interviewMore than three is a crowd No overcrowding The optimum number of people in the room or on the scene outdoors for an interview is three the person you’re interviewing, the photographer and you Do not allow anyone else to be in the room of near the outdoor interview If the person you’re interviewing sees other eyes, Image courtesy of Frangipani Photograph via Flickr released under Creative Commons he or she will be distracted @helpingmedia
  17. 17. The on-camera interviewCreate a natural environment No manipulation Avoid coaching the person before the interview. The only thing you need to say is that they should not look at the camera – they should be talking to you. Avoid the “actor” or “performer” situation which may create fear and anxiety. Hone your own interviewing skills so that you can elicit complete sentences and Image courtesy of Louish Pixel via Flickr complete thoughts released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  18. 18. The on-camera interviewBasic housekeeping Neat and tidy At the end of the interview, make certain that you put everything back where it was Return shades or curtains to their original positions Wipe down any surfaces you might have soiled, pick up any tape wrappers or other debris and return the location to exactly as it was before you invaded with your intrusive equipment Image courtesy of gusset via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  19. 19. The on-camera interviewSay thanks And mean it No matter how unhappy you were with the interview, tell the person that he or she did a great job and thank them from your heart Image courtesy of vernhart via Flickr released under Creative Commons @helpingmedia
  20. 20. The on-camera interviewAcknowledgement Don Ray Using material from a training module by Don Ray on Media Helping Media Don can be contacted for training work at donray@donray.com http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/ Image courtesy of Don Ray @helpingmedia
  21. 21. On-camera interview tips @helpingmedia