Last updated on October 11th, 2012
As we were breathing new life into our post on filming an interview, it became apparent that we didn’t mention anything about interviewing online rather than in-person. All of our tips included in 9 Steps to Properly Filming an Interview consisted of how you should set up and conduct your interview in-person.
Even though filming interviews through an online video chat service like Skype were around when we first discussed this topic, the method has grown tremendously in the intervening 2 years.
Many websites, and even more traditional news outlets, are increasingly using web video to obtain top-quality content. Not only are costs much less, the ease of capturing a video chat conversation means you can film top-quality interviews much faster. Employers are also increasingly using video chat to conduct job interviews.
So how can I use Skype or another video chat service to get great video content for my website?
From just the interview perspective, much of the process is the same as if you were conducting the interview in-person.
Be sure you send questions ahead of time to ensure the interviewee has a full understanding of what you’ll be discussing. Take a few moments before the interview begins to sort of break the ice and make sure both of you are properly centered on the camera.
But filming your interview through an online video chat service like Skype though does require some special consideration – as seen in this discussion on web-based interviews from the Wall Street Journal.
First is technology – since you’re dealing with technology, it’s important you connect with a friend with video chat capability a few days before your interview to make sure all of your equipment is working properly.
Technical issues like connectivity are important as well but in some ways, out of your control. Be sure your interviewee has the necessary upload speed to handle the interview. Upload speed is a much more important factor than download speed. On the day of, there’s really not much you can do in the event a connection gets broken. The best you can do is pick the interview back up once things are working again and make edits after the fact.
Next, when you’re both sitting down for the interview, test audio before filming to ensure the video you capture can be easily understood by your audience.
Another consideration, which is pretty big in fact, is eye contact.
With an online interview, both you and the interviewee will appear on your monitor. Cameras are typically affixed to the top of your monitor whether you’re using a laptop or desktop machine. It’s vitally important you maintain eye contact with your camera throughout the entire interview!!
This will, one, make your audience feel like you’re engaging with them and not simply looking down at your screen. Having both faces on your screen can be distracting to say the least, which is why it’s helpful for some to cover their monitors with a sheet of paper during the interview.
Backlighting is another consideration you’ll need to take into account. Make sure both you and the interviewee have plenty of light – ideally, the camera needs light from both in front of and behind your face to make both participants appear properly. If you’re in a room without much light, consider putting a lamp in front of and behind you to give your face the light it needs to appear properly in the interview.
Next is background…which is important regardless of whether you film an interview online or in-person.
But since many bloggers and journalists film online interviews in home offices, how the background appears can sometimes get missed. To ensure viewers maintain attention on you, make sure the background is uncluttered and doesn’t have anything that will draw attention (…like someone walking by!).
Besides a good video camera for your computer, a microphone and a video chat program like Skype, you also will need to consider how you will edit the video once it’s recorded. Fortunately, there are a variety of programs you can look at to help you cut out any parts you don’t like.
That’s pretty much it – as we said last week, the Google Panda and Penguin updates have made content an even more important component of a website’s rankings. Video content – be it an interview, tutorial or news story – can provide really good, original and informative content.
Being able to interview online too makes it much easier to connect with industry experts and others. Internet video chat is certainly revolutionizing how people communicate, and revolutionizing how news and information is obtained and delivered.