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Video interview tips: how to be your best self on camera

Video and social media marketing are more important than ever for businesses in all kinds of industries striving to showcase their work. And so more and more professionals are finding themselves with the daunting task of appearing on camera. It can be an unusual and nerve-racking prospect for most, but we promise that the experience isn’t as scary as it might seem at first!

When we start a video interview, for example, we’ll always start with a few warm-up questions to help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. You might even find that you enjoy the process once you get going (really!), and get the chance to talk with us about the things you’re most passionate about.

Nonetheless, if you’re still feeling a little unsure of how to handle the situation...

5 video interview tips

Video interview in progress

1. Relax!

We certainly know that this one is easier said than done! Feeling a little self conscious is completely natural when you're looking down the barrel of a camera. But this tip is at number one for a reason. The more you’re able to let go of those nerves, the more enjoyable the process will be and the better the final result will end up.

Don’t worry! Few people are able to reel off eloquent answers from the word ‘action'. That's why your producer or interviewer will give you at least a couple of takes to re-do anything you’re not happy with. The magic of editing also means that any significant stumbles won’t make an appearance in the final video, so you can rest easy.

2. Keep your eyes on the right spot

Depending on the type of video you’re creating, that ‘spot’ can vary - so make sure to clarify this with your producer if you’re unsure. For most of our interview-style videos, for example, we’ll be trying to create a sense that the audience is sitting in on a natural conversation. That’s how we framed the interviews for the below documentary-style video we worked on with Birmingham’s USE IT! project:

We aim to do this by getting your line of sight level with the camera, but not on the lens itself. Often the best way to achieve this is to keep your eyes on the face of the person sitting behind the camera and asking you questions... as intense as that may feel at first!

For other videos, you may be asked to look right down the lens of the camera. This kind of framing is more suited to sharing a message more directly with your audience, like in the campus tour video below that we worked on with Birmingham City University:

This can be a little intimidating at first! It’s often tempting to flick your eyes away to look around the room - but this can read to the audience like you’re searching for an escape.

One piece of advice I heard recently was: “look at the camera as you would your dog.” If you’re a pet lover, at least - that might help you to get across that confidence and sincerity.

3. Be concise

It’s always tempting to ramble when you’re put on the spot but, for most interviews, it’s the concise answers that work best. When editing the final video, we will usually only have a few minutes (at most!) to cover a lot of different talking points. Therefore, we’ll be looking for those short and to-the-point soundbites that we can easily slot in.

Remember: you don’t have to rush to get your answer off right away! You will always be welcome to take a moment to think about the question and how you want to summarise your answer. By the time you start speaking, you’ll have organised your thoughts and you'll have a stronger idea of where you want to go with your answer.

4. Don't stick to a script

We love to see that our contributors have put some thought into what they want to say. Sometimes though, this can be more of a hindrance than a help when they come with a strict script in mind. On our end, we often try to avoid setting out specific interview questions for this very reason. Sometimes, interviewees can think so much about their answers that they end up coming across as too rehearsed.

There are so many instances where, for whatever reason on the day, that script that sounded great in your head doesn’t come out quite right. It’s more helpful for us to just have a natural conversation and follow the most promising train of thought. Preparation is great, but be flexible!

5. Answer with part of the question in your response

When we’re editing your video together, we’ll most likely be including your answers and not the footage of us actually asking you the questions. That means that the audience won’t have the context to know what you’re talking about right off the bat. That's why it's always good to phrase your answer in a way that gives this to them.

If we ask you, "What's the best thing about this product?" and you say, "Definitely the user-friendly design!", the audience won't know what point you're making. But, by phrasing your answer as, "the best thing about this product is definitely the user-friendly design," then that makes for a snappy and informative clip.

Lavalier microphones for video interviews

Of course, there are a litany of more general video interview tips to bear in mind if you can. Try to be aware of your body language, for example, drink plenty of water to keep your voice strong, do your best not to mumble. But don’t get too caught up trying to worry about all these things at once. The most important thing is that you try to relax and let your passion and knowledge on the topic shine through. If you can focus on that, you’ll do great.

At Ember, as well as priding ourselves on producing good quality video, we also always strive to create a positive and comfortable atmosphere for our interviewees and contributors. If you would like to work with us on a video for your business, or simply want to learn more about our production process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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