Ok look, I should be the last person to criticize Claire Szabo for anything she does in life. While she’s off helping refugees, getting her Master’s and doing the limbo, I’m sitting here in Seattle watching 80s Transformers cartoons on Netflix. (Wow folks, who was in charge of continuity?)
But Szabo’s chat with Carolyn Woo of Catholic Relief Services is a great example of how you can sometimes ruin a great interview by not being thorough with your video setup.
So without further ado, here are three ridiculously easy steps to vastly improve your video interviews.
1. Don’t film into the light
It’s a bright sunny day at the Hauser Center, but that’s probably not what Szabo wanted to convey with her video. When you film toward a bright lightsource, your camera will make everything else look darker.
Always position yourself so the lightsource is behind the camera. Turn your back to the sun, move a lamp out of view, or put your subject somewhere else in the room. The light will now light up your subject and the camera won’t be disturbed.
2. Use a close-up microphone
In the beginning of this video, it’s hard to hear what anyone is saying. That’s because they are relying on the camera’s built-in microphone, which happens to be on the other side of a table.
If your camera has a mic-input, $20 will get you a omnidirectional microphone and tabletop stand. Put the microphone as close to your subject as possible and plug the jack into your camera. The subject’s voice will now come in loud and clear.
If your camera doesn’t have a mic-input, your last resort is moving the camera closer to your subject. This leads us to tip number three.
Use a tight shot to move in close on the subject’s face. When she is answering your question, the viewer will clearly see how her facial expression changes as she speaks. Sometimes, this nonverbal information in a person’s expression will be just as important as what she is saying.
Also, don’t worry about not being in the shot yourself. Look at any newscast and you’ll notice that the reporter is almost never in the shot while she asks her question. Instead, the camera lingers on the subject while she nods and reacts to the question being asked.
That’s it. Go forth and amaze.