I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve turned up to a company’s HQ to do ‘talking heads’ style video interviews, only to be ushered into a cramped, white walled meeting room with as much character as Andy Murray on tranquilisers.
If you’re going to the trouble and expense of booking a videographer, give some thought to the interview setting. It makes such a difference to the final product.
Here are 6 quick tips for indoor interviews:
SPACE: videographers need space, to set up lights, and to position the interviewee so that there is depth to the shot (rather than plastering the subject against a wall). It might be convenient to book out Meeting Room 4C for the day – but if the room is one size up from a broom cupboard, you can’t expect Hollywood production values.
BIG TURN OFF: can the house lights and air con be switched off? Office flourescents have an unpleasant colour cast and can’t be controlled/shaped, so I always prefer to start from scratch with my own video lights. Air con, meanwhile, is a menace for audio.
A BACKGROUND THAT SAYS SOMETHING: If you’re an electronics company, it makes sense to have your widgets in the background of the shot. If you’re a hospital, medical equipment and ward beds will ground the interview in a sense of place. If you make robot sex dolls…well, you get the idea.
LOOK AGAIN: You may think your company HQ is irredeemably bland, but there is almost always a cool-looking space somewhere. How about that stairwell with the industrial steel banister? The reception desk with the neon sign above it? How about doing the interview after hours, when you will have the full run off the office? If all else fails, you can always take the interview off site. Hire a local photography studio, or call in a favour with your local art gallery or community centre.
BE PREPARED TO BE INCONVENIENCED: for a typical interview shoot, it usually takes me an hour and half to load in all the equipment, rearrange the furniture and swear at my light stands. It’s vitally important that you factor this set-up (and pack-down) time into the day’s schedule. It’s NEVER just a case of pitching up and pressing record.
COLLABORATE: your videographer will want to deliver the best possible product, so work with them. Share ideas, send photos of potential interview spaces and get enthused. This is film-making! It’s fun!