Video Interviews 101

Capturing interviews is hard. Crafting the questions to draw out the answer is hard. Scripting, unscripted, video is complex, so is planning your shoot day. But that’s not all. You have to prep on-screen talent for the interview, and then actually conduct it. Christina Skillman, CEO and Creative Director of Boston’s Video Production Agency, Skillman Video Group, discussed the major steps of how to conduct video interviews, through four different videos, but we will cover them all in this one post. Welcome to Video Interviews 101. Let’s begin.

Scripting Unscripted Video

Video interviews 101, topic number one, Scripting unscripted video. Sound familiar? It might. Sounds a lot like, expect the unexpected. It may seem confusing and may even sound wrong to script an unscripted video. After reading this you will understand.

We have all seen a video where it’s obvious that people are reading from a script. They don’t look natural at all and they aren’t authentic, and it’s almost like they seem wooden or robotic. When a viewer sees this, they are turned off from it almost immediately. and it makes your viewers feel uneasy. Which are not feelings you want your audience to associate with your video and your brand if your goal is to build likeability and trust.

Christina always says, “Paid actors struggle to deliver lines authentically, with any kind of feeling and believability. And that’s their job.

This statement is what leads Skillman to urge her clients to do unscripted content. It allows for authenticity, more emotional flow, and better facial expressions–instead of reading a script from a teleprompter where you can see their eyes moving.

It requires a lot more work to deliver your key messages in this unscripted manner. However, it makes for a much more compelling video and allows the audience to connect directly with your company or brand. Having a solid plan in place will make your life a lot easier to set up the process of conducting a video interview.

Unscripted Video Tips and Tricks

When scripting unscripted video, do not include more than 3-4 key messages. Although you probably have a lot to say, you have to exercise some discipline. Only include the ones that will drive the video and your brand forward. And one thing you do not want to happen, after the shoot day, is for someone involved in making the video to say, “Well you should have had them say, x, y, z.” That is why all of the people involved with creating the video need to be a part of the preproduction process.

Interviewers need to stay engaged and you don’t want someone just reading questions off of the page. They have to be engaged and actively listening for those key messages to be said. Experienced interviewers should think like an editor. Can these answers be edited? You have to make sure that whoever is editing can decipher what was being said.

Unscripted doesn’t mean that there is no planning. It starts with everyone getting bought in and building your questions off of those key messages. You want it natural like they are having a conversation with the audience. Unscripted content is your best bet.

How To Plan Your Shoot Daywhat is the production process of a video agency

Pre-production is the most extensive portion of video creation. Without pre-production, you are left with no idea of how to shoot the video. Taking more time during production means more money being wasted. There are many aspects that go into the shoot day. All of which should be planned.

Christina Skillman says that the biggest mistake she sees is people cramming too much into one shoot day. In your planning process, make sure you build in enough time for the crew to set-up for each of the shots you’re looking to get.

You can’t simply pivot the camera and expect the new background to look good. Once the shot changes, the requirements to properly light that new shot also change. It takes time to readjust all of the equipment. And if your shoot day includes interviews, budget enough time for each person. Not everyone is born a star once the camera starts rolling, it takes time to get things right.

Authenticity is key, and when under pressure, people tend to stiffen up and look fake and robotic, which is the exact opposite of what you’re looking for. So if you need to allow for more time so the talent can relax and become themselves, do it.

Shoot Day Planning Tips and Tricks

Planning for a shoot day can take weeks, if not months. And even if you aren’t scheduling shoots yet, you need to lay the foundation for your shoot now. A normal shoot day is approximately 10 hours. The clock starts the second the crew steps foot onto your property. The ten-hour day must include time for setup, breakdown, and lunch.

Prioritize what needs to be captured. Be super strategic and think carefully about the shots you need to get. A regular brand video includes about 3-4 interviews, so make sure you budget enough time for those. Everything you do that is not planned will add time to your day. You need to double, or triple, check your schedule, and planning materials to make sure you are on track.

How To Prep On-Screen Talent for Interviews

As mentioned earlier, authenticity is key. Too many corporate videos sexpert being interviewedound robotic and stiff. You want your video to resonate with your audience because you are not just selling a product, you’re selling your brand.

Too often, people are put in front of a camera and expected to perform well without any preparation. Even if they are experts in their subject matter, speaking in front of a camera requires a skill set that is never taught in business school. Very few people possess the innate ability to do it well. People get the jitters and then look fake and robotic, which is, as we said earlier, the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish!

Prepping Talent Tips and Tricks

Prepping on-screen talent is a challenge but there are ways to do it effectively. These people are not paid actors, so it can be very nerve-racking for them. That is why it is good to have at least one phone conversation before the shoot day. Because it is always good for the on-screen talent to have a relationship with the interviewer. The reason for this is so the interviewer is well versed in the content. And Christina always tells her clients, that it’s her job to know what they’re supposed to be saying. It’s not their job. This way they can show up on the shoot day and not feel the stress of answering the questions.
Interviews go so much better when there is some sort of relationship between the talent and interviewer. And it boils down to trust. Whoever is being interviewed has to trust that the people in the room are there to make them look good. And always make sure that if they make a mistake you can always stop and redo it. One of the most important things to remember is that most of the process happens in pre-production. There are 6 steps to the Skillman Video Group Process, and production is step 5.

How To Conduct Video Interviews

The moment you’ve all been waiting for. How to actually conduct video interviews. There is a little bit moreBoston video production, professional video production, corporate branding video to cover, so let’s dive in.

Christina Skillman said in her LinkedIn post, “The difference between bad to ‘just okay’ to great interview content in your videos often lies with the interviewer, so choose wisely!”

Many people overlook choosing the right interviewer for the job. People think that the camera operator or an intern can do it. That is not the case. Not just anybody can do it. That is actually the worst possible way to conduct an interview. You need someone who has the skill to actively listen and stay engaged with the talent. Also, you need someone who is well versed in the subject matter.

The weight of responsibility on the interview going well falls on the interviewer, not the interviewee! This is because the interviewee is no doubt nervous as all heck, so why put even more responsibility on their plate.

Conducting Interviews Tips and Tricks

The first tip is to remember that, you must be calm and confident at all times. You need to practice and prepare yourself for asking the questions. This is because the interviewee will react based on your emotion. If you are nervous, they are nervous.

It is only human to be nervous, to have adrenaline pumping through your veins. That is why we suggest asking them a softball question, and even a throwaway question, first. This will boost their confidence in order to answer the other questions better.

People are not robots, so make sure they don’t sound like one. Do as many takes as it… takes. Your goal is to get this person talking naturally. Check out the four videos that Christina Skillman Filmed. These will give you a visual of what we discussed in this post.

For more information, we encourage you to continue to explore our website and blogs. If you have questions or would like to get started on your own project, contact us at [email protected]!

Scripting an unscripted video from Skillman Video Group on Vimeo.

Planning for your shoot day from Skillman Video Group on Vimeo.

Prepping on-screen talent from Skillman Video Group on Vimeo.

Conducting an interview from Skillman Video Group on Vimeo.