Craig Sawyer

One of the key productions we regularly produce for clients are video testimonials and case studies. These are generally held together by a talking head / interview with either the client or the end user. Having conducted over 300 such interviews we have established a strong workflow and process to ensure we get the best results – here are some of our tips for a successful video interview.

1. Planning
Its important to be clear on the objectives of the interview and what soundbites you are hoping to get from the time with the subject. We sometimes find it helps to create a virtual script of an ideal interview to help focus during the planning stages. Once you know what content you are looking for, write some leading questions around the subject to help prompt the interviewee and guide them down the right track!

2. Prepare
Contact the interviewee before the day and go over the plan, share with them the objectives of the interview and send them the questions so the can prepare in their own minds. You can start to build a rapport with the subject. If you don’t have access to the actual interviewee, involve the marketing or PR department organising the shoot so they can make sure everyone is clear.

3. Setting Up
Ensure you have a nice quiet space where there is unlikely to be disruptions from ringing phones or passing people. Use multiple cameras to capture various angles and get cutways of hands etc. to assist during post production. Light the scene well and use the best audio equipment you can for the environment. Have a good technical team on the cameras and audio so you can focus on the matter at hand.

4. Conducting the Interview
We like to just leave the cameras recording and start with a general chat with the interviewee to make them relax. There is nothing more nerve racking than lots of ‘cut!’ and ‘are you rolling?!’. Don’t dwell on anything too long if they are getting tongue tied, you can always come back to it. If they are talking to fast, mention it but give them time to find their flow. As you build rapport they will start to forget the cameras and relax. This is the golden time to get those soundbites! Don’t sit staring at your notes while they are speaking – this is very off putting! And try not to have more people than necessary in the room.

5. Post Production
Going from 30 mins to 90 seconds is a quite a task! Keep referring to the original brief and pre production planning and draft scripts to help pull out the key soundbites. We often have the full un-edited interview transcribed and then highlight on a printed copy the key soundbites and use this to build our story. This transcript can also be used by the client to create a written case study or social media content from. There are no short cuts here, this can be one of the most time intensive parts of the whole process. Time here is well spent, don’t rush it!

We have a great online collaboration platform that allows our clients full access to the edits where they can annotate their thoughts directly onto the videos. This saves so much time and emails going back and forth.

6. Delivery
Who said it had to be one video?! Create multiple cuts – 30 second snippets to draw your audience in to watching the full interview, different edits with relevant call to actions for platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo and your internal intranet. And consider create 15 sec social media Instagram edits etc.

Getting someone commit and endorse your service or product on camera is incredibly powerful and adds authority to what you are offering. But in can also be quite daunting. There are not many people in this world that actually enjoy being interviewed, just as we don’t like perhaps writing blog posts (like me!), but the benefits of doing so are plain to see – nothing is as powerful as a video testimonial. Getting someone to say yes to being interviewed is half the battle won – let Blue Juice manage the other 50% for you! See examples of our work here