Conducting on-camera interviews is always an important part of a corporate video or documentary film. They provide the viewer with context and help to round out the story by providing different perspectives and opinions on a particular topic. However, capturing the polished sound bites one hears in the final video is not an easy task. It takes the right kind of person, asking the right kind of questions, which helps the subject feel comfortable enough to answer while staring into a camera and bright lights.
If you find yourself conducting interviews for your next video project, here are two things to keep in mind, which should help in your next interview setting.
The most important thing is to make your subject feel comfortable. Always tell your subject is that it is okay to mess up. Remind him/her that everything he/she says will be edited. Your subject needs to know that it’s okay if he/she stumbles or loses his/her train of thought. It’s just par for the course. Those things will happen. If your subject understands that he/she will not ruin the entire video will a verbal misstep, it helps increase his/her comfort level and confidence. And that will help your subject appear more natural on camera.
However, as a follow-up to this first point, you should always make sure that the subject regains composure before continuing. This will help you when you are in the edit suite, putting your video together. For example, if the subject flubs a line and starts laughing as a result and then goes back to what he/she was saying while still chuckling, you won’t have a good point on which to edit. Your final video will have a sound bite that (for some reason inexplicable to the viewer) begins with someone laughing. Have your subject regain composure, get settled, and pause for just a moment before continuing.
Observing these two points will really help improve the quality of your interviews, because you will capture clean audio of a subject who is comfortable, natural, and confident.
In our experience as video production professionals, we’ve learned that one of the biggest factors in budgeting for a particular job is time.
How much time will be required to conceptualize and script a video project?
How much time will we need in-studio or on location?
How many shooting days will be required?
How much time will we need to put the whole video together and deliver a final product?
Of course there are other factors to consider as well, including the cost of on-camera talent, additional crew, equipment, travel, etc. However, a video’s budget will grow exponentially when a client needs additional days for shooting, post-production, etc. The budget for a five-day shoot will look very different from a budget for a half-day shoot.
Most projects we work on require multiple camera set-ups, which require the movement of camera, lights, people, additional gear, etc. All of those set-ups mean that we can only capture a certain amount of footage per day. However, one way to increase the amount that can be shot in one day is to use a 2nd unit camera.
From a budgeting stand point, it may seem like an unnecessary expense to use two camera packages and two camera operators for one job. However, employing the use of a 2nd camera unit may actually reduce the cost of the video, because you are accomplishing more in less time.
This strategy is the most effective when there is a long, complicated shot list with several different locations and a small window of time. Rather than have one camera unit spend four days shooting everything, why not invest in a second camera unit and get all of your shots completed in two days? The first camera unit can spend time at your main location, conducting interviews with your staff and shooting b-roll of your operation, while the 2nd camera unit shoots b-roll of satellite offices, off site installs, and conducts interviews with clients. And if your video calls for an on-camera panel discussion with two or more individuals, you can use both cameras to cross-shoot the scene and omit the need to reset one camera for multiple angles. It can be a very efficient way to tackle your project.
Let’s imagine that you are currently accepting proposals from various video production companies on two different video projects. Each video is to last ninety seconds. Let’s suppose that Video #1 is a promotional video for a yearly two-day conference and seminar that your company sponsors. And let’s suppose that Video #2 is a promotional video for a specific product or service that your company offers. Sounds pretty straight-forward. Each video will last only ninety seconds. Each video will highlight your company. Each video will be used on your website.
So why is it that the budget estimate for Video #2 is five times greater than the budget estimate for Video #1? Since each video lasts the same amount of time, they should cost the same amount of money, right? Actually, the final running time of a video has very little impact on the budget.* To find out why Video #2 will cost more to produce than Video #1, you have to look at what’s involved in each project. Let’s suppose that in the case of Video #1 (the promotional video for the two-day annual conference) you already have all of the footage from last year’s conference. You simply want to re-purpose that footage into a video that promotes next year’s conference. So, all you need from the video production company is post-production services. You will even provide a script from which to structure the video.
In the case of Video #2, let’s assume that everything will have to be created from scratch. You need the video producer and/or director to come in, meet with you and your team, see the product or service, develop a concept, write a script, and provide all production and post-production services, which includes a two-day shoot on location with a full camera crew.
In these brief descriptions of each project, it’s apparent that Video #2 is a much more involved project than Video #1. Therefore, the budgets for each will be different, although the final running time for each video is the same. Think of it this way: most television commercials last thirty seconds. But, would you say that the commercial for your local furniture store cost the same amount of money as the commercial for Coca-Cola that aired during the Super Bowl? Each spot may last thirty seconds, but each one will have vastly different budgets.
When I first started out in video production, I was still making approval copies for clients on 3/4″ tape or VHS and mailing them to clients. Then I would have to wait for the package to arrive, wait for the client to review the tape, then wait for the client to call with his/her comments and suggestions.
Things have changed dramatically in 10 years. Now, I can instantly share an HD-quality digital file with a client by uploading it to the cloud. Delivery is almost instantaneous. There’s no need to spend the money on physical media, packaging, and postage. Just encode the edit and upload it to an online service. Then, email a link to the client and he/she can preview it in the browser window, or download it to a local hard drive.
If you are looking for online solutions to share and collaborate on video production projects, allow me to suggest the following:
YouTube – You can easily upload videos and then share them with your clients. However, if you don’t want your rough cuts to be available in the public domain, be sure to make them private, so that only the intended recipients can watch it.
Dropbox – This is a free online storage solution that allows you to sort your content into folders, then share those folders with your clients and others on your team. You can upload various edits of a project into a designated folder so that everything stays organized. A free account provides 2GB of storage, but if you sign up for a free account by clicking the link provided, you can get extra space free.
YouSendIt – This service is simple. Upload your file (50MB per file max for a free account) and then YouSendIt will provide you with a link that you can send to your clients. This isn’t a streaming service. The client will have to download the file on their end before watching it. They now also offer cloud storage (2GB for a free account).
SendUIt – This is a stripped-down version of YouSendIt. You don’t have to sign up for anything. You don’t have to create an account and password. You don’t have to pay for anything. Just upload your file (100 MB max), get a link, and send that link to your client.
Portal Video – This online solution generates transcripts from footage uploaded to its server. From there, video editors can quickly start to piece together a rough cut by simply selecting and moving pieces of text from the transcript. Portal Video changes the corresponding video accordingly. Once a rough cut is complete, it can be shared with the client through a designated Portal Video player.
There are a number of services available for sharing videos back and forth. Some will be free and others will have some kind of pricing structure. Dropbox is the service I use most often, but if you have any suggestions for cloud storage/sharing services that you have found useful, please let me know in the comments section.
We recently worked with Hall Marketing to produce a promotional video for the Pelham Library as a part of the library’s re-branding campaign. Conceptually, the video had to fit with the library’s new tagline, “Taking You Where You Want To Go” and their new logo, which features a compass as the central icon of the design. We developed the concept and the visual of the style of the video and were responsible for all production and post-production services.