Talking head interviews are one of the most popular types of corporate video. Talking head interviews are a fantastic way of delivering key messages and showing a human face to your organization. But, a badly produced talking heads interview can create a poor image of your company with prospective customers and vendors. Here you can learn how to ensure that you have a great looking talking heads interview.
What Is A Talking Heads Interview
Talking heads are generally considered any video which features someone talking directly to camera while being interviewed. Talking heads interviews will usually feature the subject either sitting or standing. The interviewer asking the questions will be off camera and their questions are often removed from the video during post production.
Choosing The Right Location
The location is one of the first, and most important, elements to consider when shooting a talking heads interview. You want to select a location which is quiet and will leave you undisturbed during the interview. Most corporate talking head interviews will take place inside of an office and so it is best practice to have a closed off room available for the entire interview. Allow for some space behind the subject and the wall. This will stop the interview subject from looking too cramped or closed in. The video production crew will be able to perform a reconnaissance (recce) of the location beforehand to determine the best location for the shoot.
Lighting The Interview
Generally the best approach when lighting a talking heads interview is to use standard three point lighting. The connection between the audience and subject is formed by the eyes. If there is a shadow over the eye then this connection will be broken. You also want to avoid having any harsh shadows on the face of the subject. Instead aim for a diffuse light which softens the features. Avoid having too bright a light behind the subject as this will cause a silhouette. Strategic use of lighting can help to correct any asymmetry in the appearance of the subject allowing them to look their best.
Making The Interviewee Feel Relaxed
Being interviewed can be a stressful experience – especially if it is the subjects first time. This is why it is important that the director of the interview is able to put the subject at ease. Before the shoot the director should take time to relax the subject and put them at ease. Where possible brief the interviewee well in advance of the shoot so that they now what they will want to say.
Checking Sound Quality
With a talking heads interview it is very important that you can hear clearly what the subject is saying. Before the interview begins the video production crew will check to make sure there is no ambient sound which could potentially ruin the interview. For example, a telephone ringing during the interview can be highly distracting for the viewer. For our talking head interviews we will usually use a hypercardoid microphone. The design of this microphone means that they are most sensitive to sound from the front. These are more directional than a standard cardoid microphone due to the lower sensitivity to the sides. This enables us to isolate the sound of the interviewee from any ambient sound in the room.
Asking The Right Questions
When interviewing the subject you want to make sure that it will be understandable when the video is edited later on. Often the questions will be removed from the final edit of the video. Therefore for the video to make sense the interviewee must include the question in the answer. For example, if the question was “How do you plan to grow your business in 2015?”. Then the interviewee would need to answer “In 2015 we plan to grow our business by…”. This gives the interview context that the audience will need once the video is in the final edit.
Another important element is making sure it is clear what the interviewee is referring to during the interview. An example of this would be that the interviewee saying a sentence like “She has been instrumental in the rapid growth of the company”. In this case the “she” may refer to the CEO of the company. A trained director will know that the interviewee needs to include the word CEO into the sentence. This may mean that they will need the interviewee to repeat the sentence, but replacing the she with CEO.
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