Whether you’re doing a multimedia piece or a video you will no doubt be doing interviews. So this entry will provide you with some tips for getting better interviews.
Number one rule of course is that your audio capture must be good. Make sure your microphone is no more than a foot from your subject. Make sure you monitor the sound or at least your sound check by wearing headphones. You might think you are getting sound by looking at the meter on your camera – but you don’t know if it’s good. There could be a buzz or interference that without monitoring through headphones – you’d never know.
Pick a suitable location – sitting someone next to a fountain for instance would quickly make your viewer head for the bathroom.
Make a list of questions – but don’t be afraid to depart from that list. Many times my best questions were sparked by an answer that my subject had just given. For instance if my subject has just mentioned that there was a tragedy in their family that turned their life around – your next question should be a follow up to that.
Don’t ask questions that have yes and no answers.
Many times you won’t use your voice so the audience won’t hear the questions. Instruct your subject to paraphrase the question while giving their answer.
Keep quiet – direct them by the nod of your head – instead of giving verbal recognition.
Don’t step on your subject’s line. Give a pause after they finish answering a question. That pause will give you “air” and will help you in the editing room. But more importantly, people are uncomfortable with pauses and tend to keep talking. Many good soundbites have come from me waiting.
Like my dad used to say – let your ears do more of the work.