Making interviewees comfortable on camera when filming corporate video

Video Content Agency filming James Constable

Most people are not used to being interviewed or appearing on camera. But with video now a major online marketing tool it is something more people are finding they are being asked to do at work. And if an interviewee is not relaxed on camera it will show in the final cut.

Most people are not used to being interviewed or appearing on camera.

But with video now a major online marketing tool it is something more people are finding they are being asked to do at work. And if an interviewee is not relaxed on camera it will show in the final cut.

If you are producing a video to showcase your business you will likely want it to appear positive, informative, authoritative and friendly. At Fortitude Communications we conduct a thorough preparation process to help make a video production project successful. As part of this process we consider with the client who would be best to help communicate their story, who is good on camera, what key messages they will cover and who may require some guidance or training in advance. This helps prepare for the shoot. 

But it is not the full picture. 

There is another element that makes a real difference in securing footage that will do your business justice. And it is an artform that many video production companies overlook. It is using an experienced interviewer. 

Experienced interviewer

Ensuring an experienced interviewer conducts the interviews for a corporate video makes a significant difference to the overall quality and effectiveness of the film. An experienced interviewer is excellent at making their interviewee relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. 

They are exceptional communicators and invest time into preparing for an interview to make sure the subject matter is communicated effectively on film. This ensures they ask their interviewee the right questions to illicit the answers required to highlight the required key messages to make the film a success. This cannot be underestimated in terms of value. There are many great camera operators in the industry. But great interviewers that are also great camera operators are a rare breed. 

At Fortitude if a video production brief includes interviewing people, we always assign an experienced interviewer to complete the commission. This combined with first class filming and editing skills creates a compelling combination that creates excellent outcomes. 

Journalism background

Trained and experienced journalists are ideal people for conducting interviews for professional videos. They have undergone extensive professional training designed to equip them with the necessary skills to gather information and tell stories effectively. 

They are therefore good at building a rapport with their interviewee and making them feel comfortable talking to them. 

News sense matters 

A journalist is highly experienced at adapting their style to encourage people to communicate. It is important not just for what is said on film, but also how people appear on screen. 

But the journalism experience goes deeper than that. They are also experienced in asking the right questions and in the right order to ensure the story they are producing is covered to an exceptional level of detail and contains all the required key messages. 

Furthermore, they are experienced in interviewing different people, on different topics, in different circumstances and locations. Journalists with a news background, for example, will have interviewed a wide range of people on a wide range of topics. 

At Fortitude we have found this experience is invaluable to the production of a corporate video and utilise the journalistic experience within our team for our video production work involving interviews and storytelling. 

Sensium Healthcare commissioned Fortitude to produce a video as part of a hard-hitting PR campaign to highlight the burden of hospital acquired sepsis, for example. It included interviewing a sepsis survivor about his experience of developing sepsis in hospital which sadly resulted in losing his legs and four fingers. The interview required care and sensitivity. 

We were really pleased with the video Fortitude created for us,” said Faye Griffin, Sensium Health Product Manager. They were very professional, putting our interviewee at ease and asking the right questions. Fortitude were able to suggest ideas to make the video more engaging and linked with our cause as well.”

Communicating effectively

Having an experienced storyteller conduct the interviews for a corporate video can make the difference between an average video and an excellent video. It requires exceptional storytelling skills to guide an interviewee to summarise all required key messages in a short space of time. Often this will mean asking various questions to tease the desired soundbites out. Or putting the interviewee at ease to perform in their best light. 

Oxfordshire based charity Oxford United in the Community commissioned Fortitude to produce a series of videos as part of a social impact campaign to help reduce loneliness. It involved interviewing multiple people, mainly retired footballers, about their careers and lives outside the sport. 

Fortitude produced highly engaging video content for our Let’s Tackle Loneliness Together’ campaign,” said Chris Lowes, Head of Oxford United in the Community. 

We wanted each video to be feature length, like a television chat-show for people to enjoy at home and so it needed someone who could handle managing a detailed interview. Thom at Fortitude was simply brilliant at handling the whole process of putting everyone at ease and guiding the interviews to ensure we achieved highly engaging content for our audience. He was well prepared and had a remarkable knack of asking questions in the right way, at the right time. It made a real difference to our videos to have used an experienced interviewer as part of the filming process.” 

Journalistic core

At Fortitude our head videographer Thom Airs is a trained and qualified journalist, alongside being a skilled camera operator and editor. Thom is a former Reading Evening Post, Oxford Mail and Oxford Times journalist and is also an editor at Bauer Media. 

While our founder Greig Box Turnbull was a senior journalist on the Mirror newspaper and Shaun Reynolds is a former news reporter, sports editor and chief writer for Newsquest and Bullivant Media. 

Our journalism skills combined with corporate communications expertise, business acumen and technical ability ensures our videos tell our client’s stories effectively. 

Editor’s cut

A key journalistic skill is telling a story succinctly. Both Greig and Thom have worked as sub-editors, honing other writers’ words and trimming away unnecessary copy. The same principle applies in video work and is perhaps even more valuable in visual media.

It’s all too easy for an inexperienced video editor to be afraid of taking a scalpel to their precious work, but at Fortitude we strongly believe less is often more – and your audiences, with busy lives and short attention spans, will thank you being brief and to the point. We will happily collect more footage than can ever be used in a single video, knowing that the art of delivering your message comes in the edit. We can spot waffle and repetition from a mile off and aren’t afraid to cut it back to create a more streamlined and effective delivery.

The art of storytelling 

Storytelling is at the heart of what we do at Fortitude. We use the art of storytelling to create engaging content that is aligned to a communications strategy and ensures you communicate effectively with your audience. 

If you would like to discuss a video project, or wider communications brief with us get in touch here.

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