5 Tips for Preparing a Professional Video Interview

January 9, 2024

Video interviews are almost an art form. They blend the guest's charisma with a cinematography that's hard to ignore, turning any subject into a topic that demands immediate discussion. In this somewhat egocentric yet captivating setting, success hinges on two factors: allowing the interviewee to convey their intended message and ensuring that the viewer is entertained and gains relevant information while watching the story.

It's not an easy task. But by following these 5 tips, you'll be better equipped to produce an interview video that satisfies both the interviewees and those watching the conversation.

When Might You Choose Interview-Style Video Production?

Interviews add a personal touch to what would otherwise be a corporate message. By featuring a real person talking about a particular subject, your company shows the faces behind the ideas, humanising the relationship with consumers. Moreover, many prefer watching videos to reading articles, making this audiovisual format more accessible.

Videos also better convey aspects such as the working environment within a company, corporate culture (a smile is worth more than a thousand formal words in a blog post), and the company's values. When interviewees share stories and experiences, they transmit a bit of the company's soul to the viewer.

Thought-leadership articles are excellent for gaining authority in the digital world, but the company's target audience might prefer a less formal yet still professional approach. Videos can help companies achieve the same level of authority without resorting to long texts that might be tiring or not align with the habits of their target audience. Interviews with company leaders are also essential for demonstrating the leadership style of top-level executives.

Another reason for conducting interviews is social proof. By interviewing a consumer who has used their product or service, companies show the impact of these products on customers' lives. As the viewer can see and hear the person giving the testimony, this opinion gains credibility and conveys legitimacy.

Companies that value transparency can also benefit from video interviews, especially when focusing on behind-the-scenes footage. The speaker can show the organisation's backstage, giving the impression that the viewer is getting privileged access to the company's "secrets."

Tips to Prepare for Your Interview Shoot

Creating an interview video involves much more than a camera and a guest. Substantial work behind the scenes is required to achieve the desired result. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

Decide on the Scripting Approach

The interview can either follow a predefined script or be conducted spontaneously. This choice should be based on the message you want to convey and your audience's preferences. If the video aims to generate authority, a controlled script might be the best choice, as improvisation can risk appearing unprofessional. On the other hand, if the guest is a consumer, some level of improvisation is beneficial to enhance the credibility of the interview.

Conduct Thorough Research

Regardless of the reason for the interview, one thing is certain: speakers, interviewers, and producers need to do extensive research to ensure everything goes well. The interviewee must, of course, know everything about the topic at hand, the interviewer needs to ask the right questions to extract the best possible content, and the team behind the cameras ought to know which framing and lighting are most appropriate.

Define a Question Strategy

Think about how TV and cinema work. In most action movies, the first few minutes are intense. In news programs, the most impactful news comes first. Your interview should follow this same principle. The first questions should be the most difficult or impactful ones. This will help capture the viewer's attention. Moreover, if the interviewee is uncomfortable with the camera or shy, an icebreaker question can help alleviate the anxiety of all involved. Remember that the editing team can change the order of the questions to improve the final result.

A prime example of a successful interview strategy is our work for Google. The briefing asked us to explore how AI is changing the way people do online research. The topic seems dense, but we decided to break this initial impression with a simple question: what was the last thing you searched for on Google? We received funny responses that served to break the ice with the viewer and, at the same time, entertain them in a video that would otherwise seem academic.

Invest in Optimal Lighting and Presentation

It's worth remembering that in video production, the visual aspect is almost everything that matters. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in professional lighting and sets that are well-suited to both the interviewee and the topic being discussed. It's also worthwhile to assist the guest with a makeup team that can enhance the participant's on-camera appearance.

Prioritise the Interviewee

State-of-the-art equipment, perfect sets, exceptional lighting. None of this matters if the interviewee appears uncomfortable or somewhat unsure of what to do. Therefore, if you have to prioritise just one thing, it must be the well-being of the guest. Create a comfortable environment and let them feel free to express themselves in their own way. If the interview follows a script, provide a teleprompter to increase their confidence. Determine which format they are most comfortable with: conversational, talking-heads, or minimal interviewer presence.

One of the best examples of this strategy is Sunday Treat's campaign for PayPal and Acast. Featuring Deborah Frances White and influencer Candice Brathwaite, the video stands out for the sense of intimacy and lightness conveyed by both the guest and the interviewer. They are clearly at home, making the conversation even more enjoyable.

By following these tips, video producers and influencers can unlock a profound gateway into the essence of their interviewees. This method transforms the process into a creative activity, capturing the human spirit in its most authentic and vibrant state.

We can do the hard work for you. Get in touch to start working with Sunday Treat.

Related articles