Storytelling with Interview Videos
Updated: Jul 14
Interview videos have become an incredibly popular tool for companies to tell their stories with. This style of corporate video is sort of a "mini-documentary" and can be an effective medium for video content creation. Interview videos offer multiple ways to share your brands message, from customer testimonials, to case studies, and recruitment.
When DesignInc approached us to produce a suite of video content to compliment their new website, we agreed that interview videos would be the best way to share their stories.
As a recruitment focused film, the video above lives on the new DesignInc homepage under the heading "work with us". It shares the culture and vision the business is proud to offer its employees by speaking to the people within the business from across their various design studios. The suite also includes several other interview videos to support various areas of design from across the practice.
What makes an interview video watchable?
We've all seen a boring interview video (and likely not all the way through to the end)! So if the work we create is to be considered successful for our clients, then it's essential that we create video content that's enjoyable to watch. This comes down to creating films that engage our target audience. Here's a few of the key ingredients we consider when producing interview videos:
From the outset, we want to know who's going to be watching the video. I.e. Who is the target audience? If it's to be job seekers, then our video needs to speak to them in a way that ensures they're getting the message they're interested in. Hence, our interviews must provide a career focused discussion.
How long is the video going to be? Can we make it shorter by getting to the point quicker? As a rule of thumb, about 3-5 minutes is generally a good target. However the duration really depends on how long a particular audience will watch for. Videos that are highly targeted to a particular stakeholder with a highly vested interest in a topic will watch for longer than someone with a rather passive interest. Hence, we refer back to the 'Audience' question when looking to answer this.
B-roll is the overlay footage used to cut away from the interviewee to keep it interesting. Having something to cut to helps us hide the spots we edit to make the interviewee sound better, and it keeps the interest flowing. We often shoot b-roll in slow motion as this also creates a far more engaging visual experience.
Interviews might seem pretty basic, but when it comes to producing a quality interview video, there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. Firstly, the space the interview is filmed in makes a huge difference to the final video. When setting up for an interview shoot, our professional cinematographers will consider the surrounding environmental aspects, such as:
Background noise - things like other foot traffic, air conditioners, echoes, external noises such as roads, flight paths or thoroughfares.
Area lighting - the ability to control the incoming natural and ceiling lighting vs setting up our professional production lighting.
Room size - can we comfortably fit our production equipment in the room? Will there be enough space between the camera and the person being interviewed to frame the person with a flattering lens choice? (If we have to sit them too close to the camera, a wider lens will distort the person's face).
Background aesthetics - Does the background have interest? or are they going to be painted into a corner or worse, set against a blank wall? It's always nice to find a location with a bit of depth and interest in the background.
Obstacles - What is in the way that makes the shoot harder or more restrictive? Board rooms are often difficult to film in because they have a large immovable table in the centre of the room which makes it difficult to properly setup lighting, sound and camera equipment.
Interview lighting - despite what many might think, bright even lighting makes faces look flat like a news reader and not at all flattering. We like to light our interviews using a softly lit two point lighting setup that produces a nice level of contrast across the face, creating shape.
Cinematography - where we place the camera is just as important as how we light the interview. We like to place the camera on the shadow side of the face, and have our interviewee looking just off camera towards their interviewer. The interviewer should be seated beside the camera to create an even eye line. The camera height should also be set to match the eye line and not be looking up or down at the interviewee.
The way the camera frames the interviews is just as important in delivering nice looking vision as is lighting or lens choice. Framing the interviewee too far away makes them look small, while framing them too close isn't flattering, and is generally unwelcome by the person being interviewed. Since high definition is still the standard delivery format for online content, we use a little resolution trick to make it look like we're filming with two cameras when in fact we're only using one. By shooting in 4K resolution and editing in HD, we can film our interviews in a comfortable mid-shot from the waist up and use the high resolution to crop into a closeup when we need to. This is helpful when we want to change the audiences perspective in order to continuously stimulate their viewing experience, or if we need to hide a mistake that the interviewee made with a cut.
As with any video, background music is the unnoticed glue that keeps it all together. The music should compliment the tone of the interview and support the story. The volume level should be loud enough to just barely hear it - without it, the sound is flat and uninspiring, but with it, the brain continues to be engaged. And (as an added benefit) the music helps hide any unwanted environmental sounds - like the chirp of a bird or distant sound of heels on a hard wood floor.
As you can see there's a number of key factors that go into creating quality interview videos that keep your audience engaged. With good production, interview videos can be a powerful, yet cost effective tool for delivering any business message - whether it be aimed at customers, collaborators or staff.
That's a wrap!
We hope you've enjoyed this insight into how to produce great interview videos. If you have a project to discuss, we'd love to chat! you can get in touch via phone or email here and one of our producers will be glad to help.