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How To Shoot An Interview | A 7-Step Process by Parker Walbeck

By David J. Crewe on February 19th 2019

Creating an intriguing interview video can be a challenge for even a seasoned professional filmmaker. Thankfully, this video from Parker Walbeck and www.FullTimeFilmMaker.com breaks down the process of filming an interview into seven steps to help you manage any on-set worries and improve the quality of the footage you create.

Here are the seven steps from Parker’s video, condensed to give a brief overview the excellent content that this and the accompanying blog post provide.

  1. Location – The two things to consider when picking your location are 1) Lighting and 2) Composition, so that you can get the best looking shot possible.
  2. Composition – Once you have your subject positioned properly, the next step is to compose the shot so it looks great in-camera.
  3. Lighting – Once you’ve got your scene and your positioning nailed down, then it’s time to start adding and/or subtracting light to ensure your subject matter “pops.”
  4. Audio “George Lucas said that ‘Audio is half of the viewing experience.’ Don’t take audio lightly! No matter how professional your image looks, if your audio is echoey or distorted, your whole production feels amateur.” Make sure to have the right people and tools to capture the audio correctly to ensure a quality production.
  5. Camera Settings – Typically, you want your shutter speed to be double your frames per second (FPS), but in a situation with minimal movement, you can can increase your shutter speed to compensate for having a low aperture instead of messing with ND filters. You’ll also want to ensure that your settings and picture profiles are matched across all cameras in a multi-shot setup.
  6. Slider Settings – Sliders aren’t necessary, but having them and putting to good use will add a definite cinematic movement and feel to your production, taking your interview to the next level. Your speed of movement should match the intensity of the interview.
  7. Interviewing Process – Once you have everything set up and your cameras are rolling, there are a few things to remember to keep a smooth interview process:
    1. Sync Your Video and Audio – Use a slate or have someone clap to help sync the audio and video in post.
    2. Listen – The best questions often come from listening to the responses of the interviewee and asking questions based off of their responses. Make it more of a conversation by keeping eye contact and making them feel less intimidated by the cameras and lights.
    3. Don’t Fear Silence – Let your interviewee think after asking a question and give them time to respond properly. It’s better to have their BEST answer rather than their quickest.

Check out the video below for all of this in much more detail:

 

For those who mostly shoot still photos, diving into video can be a bit intimidating. These seven steps should help take some of the pressure off for any of you looking to get into filmmaking.

Be sure to check out the rest of Parker’s work and education via the links below and let me know in the comments what you think about this video.

Content shared with permission from the creator. Do not copy or distribute without direct consent from the creator.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

David J. Crewe is a full-time commercial photographer and Senior Editor with SLR Lounge. Based out of both Southern California & Las Vegas, Nevada.

View his work and blog: DavidJCrewe.com

Follow his Instagram: @DavidJCrewe

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Lenzy Ruffin

    This is all sound information, but I don’t think this is helpful to the intended audience. This seems to be aimed at the 101 level person, which is where I was this time in 2017, but this is a 301 or 401 level of instruction. Anybody who has access to all the stuff in that video doesn’t need that video.

    I’m a photographer who learned how to use the video function on my camera for marketing purposes. Over the last two years, I’ve ended up becoming quite proficient at the basic talking head video and the basic interview. Those are the only kinds of videos I make.

    This video is way beyond what someone just getting started would benefit from, in my opinion. There’s too much equipment here and too many people.

    I started with one camera, as will most people. I sat next to the camera and conducted the interview. That allowed me to wear headphones to monitor the audio and know if the camera stopped running for some reason.

    I use lav mics because shotgun mics require a light stand, a boom pole, etc…more stuff to haul as a one-man or one-woman band. A wireless lav is so much easier. A sound engineer may be able to tell the difference in the audio quality between a lav and a shotgun, but the other 99.9% of the world can’t. 

    Also, hiding the lavs under the clothing is totally unnecessary. People are used to seeing mics everyday on their local newscasters. Hiding them under clothing is an unnecessary complication that is going to be impractical in many situations working with regular people, which is where most new to videography will find themselves. 

    A slider? Who can afford it (at the 101 level)? First of all, a slider means you have more than one camera to work with. Also, a slider means another tripod or two to carry. One man band…all these instruments are getting heavy. 

    Shotgun mics on each camera. Totally unnecessary. The built-in mics are more than sufficient for capturing scratch audio for multicam sync purposes. That’s what I use in the two and three-camera interviews I do. 

    And regarding composing the frame, that environment they’re using is just not a realistic example. They’re in an empty warehouse with unlimited room for equipment and crew. Most people are going to be conducting interviews in an office or residential space of some sort and there’s not going to be hundreds of square feet of empty space to work with. You’ll make it work with whatever’s there and whatever’s there is not going to look like that warehouse.

    I do use the Aputure 120d v2. That’s the only piece of equipment from in this video that I think is a must-have for anyone wanting to do interviews. 

    I’m not bashing the video. After I started making videos, I pretty much lost all inclination to critique the work of others because I know how much work goes into creating a video. I just think this video might discourage the people it’s targeted at because there’s so much stuff in it that you don’t need and is very likely out of reach as a person getting started with video interviews.

    All you need is a camera, a tripod, two lavs, a mixer, a light source (I started with window light), and the skill of asking good questions and being an active listener, which can be learned. All the other stuff in that video is nice to have, but none of it is necessary at the 101 level. 

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