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Preparing to be interviewed on Camera – Part Three of Three

Preparing to be interviewed on Camera – Part Three of Three

If you are a business that is looking grow, you will almost certainly be asked to appear on camera at some point as part of your marketing strategy.  Video is a really powerful way to promote your business because it allows your customers to have a virtual meeting with you, to get a feel for who you are and build rapport through shared knowledge.  However, appearing on camera for most people isn’t the most natural thing to do, so we thought we’d share some of our answers to the most frequently asked questions that we come across as people prepare for a video interview.


Do I need to know the questions in advance?

This is one of the questions we get asked most often and the answer depends on the subject of the interview. If you are likely to be required to provide certain statistics or you are asked to comment on a particular statement then it may be useful to know in advance so that you can prepare or research your facts.

However, generally, it is best not to know the specific questions or you will be tempted to rehearse the answers so much you will not give a natural performance in front of the cameras. So a guide to the subject matter or line of questioning may be useful to know in advance but don’t be tempted to script your answers. We usually give contributors an outline of the target audience, the general tone of conversation and key topics.

If you are coming across as too well rehearsed the interviewer will notice and change the questions so as to get you to be more natural in your answers.


Why might you get asked to repeat answers?

You may be asked to re-do some of the questions, this could be for a variety of reasons but will mainly allow the Director to use different camera angles or shots so as to make the visual imagery more interesting for the viewer. 

You may also be asked to record some ‘noddies’. These are cutaway shots used to cover up any edits and will consist of you simply looking at the presenter or other guests as if you are listening to what they are saying. It can sometimes seem a little un-natural with the tendency to want to speak or giggle but you must keep a knowledgeable look about you whilst this is being recorded.  If you are actually talking in the cutaways then do make sure it’s about something relevant and not local gossip – there are people out there who can lip read!


Noises Off

Another reason for being asked to repeat answers is that during the recording there may be some distracting noises ‘off mike’ which although normally ignored by the human ear when recorded these extraneous noises can sound very distracting.   It could be things like passing sirens, overhead aeroplanes or someone walking past the door – mostly things you wouldn’t notice in day to day conversation, but on video, they stick out like a sore thumb.  These audio interruptions are generally noted by the sound recordist and the Director will be advised to re-take the question and answer.



Why might the interview be asked to repeat questions?

If the production is being shot on a single camera the Director may ask an in vision interviewer to repeat the questions separately at the end of the filming.  This is so that the camera can move to a new position and provide covering shots for edits in post-production.  You will usually still be in shot for these ‘Reverse Questions’ and although it may only be an over the shoulder shot you will be asked to look at the interviewer as if you were going reply so that the scene looks natural.


Ignoring all those around you!

It can take quite a number of people behind the camera to make your interview work.  Typically there may be 4 o 5 people behind the camera and they all have their own specific roles. Interestingly, they will appear to be completely ignoring you but rest assured they are focused on making you look good and concentrating on their role in order to make that happen.


It is, however, quite tempting to look at the camera or other members of the crew rather than concentrate on the person asking you the questions.  Try to ignore everyone other than the interviewer and remember that no matter the interview style, you are still in control so don’t be afraid to take a pause for breath prior to answering the question, or take some thinking time. Usually any pauses are edited out of the final programme. Try not to start an answer with “as I said earlier” or “yes” or “so” or “that’s right” - these comments make editing more difficult.  And of course, if, for any reason, you are not happy with your answer, ask to record it again. 


Who will be present during the shoot?

Apart from yourself and any other guests, there will be the interviewer or presenter who will ask you the questions. Often their questions are removed from the final edit so you will be asked to incorporate the question into your answer so that the viewer understands what your answer relates too. The interviewer will not interrupt your flow and so will tend not to acknowledge you but will simply nod the head in approval, this can seem a little un-natural so don’t take it as a criticism of your performance.


There may also be a Producer/Director who controls the shoot, a cameraman and his assistant, a sound recordist, possibly a production runner and sometimes a make-up artist. It can get quite warm under the lights so the make-up artist will apply a little powder to prevent glare from the lights spoiling your shot.


And finally!

It is a requirement that the Producer obtains a release form signed by all of the contributors to the production. This is only a formality and states that you have given your consent to take part in the programme on your own free will and that you will allow the Producer to edit the programme at a later date. 


We hope you found this short blog series helpful and so when you get asked to appear on camera for your business you’ll be prepared for some of the odd things that go into making a good video production.  If you need any further assistance please do get in touch, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

If you haven't already, read part one and part two of this blog. 




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