Here are a few video interview tip(s) that will help ensure that your Talking Head video is a great success.
Someone asked you to be in a video or maybe you’re making one to promote your new business. Maybe you’ve won an award for excellent work that you’ve done in support of that organization. You’ve agreed to be in a video and now you’re trying to figure out what you got yourself into. At the very least you just don’t want to embarrass yourself on camera.
I’ve got good news, I’m here to help with six video tips for great talking head videos.
What’s a talking head video?
According to this Vimeo video: “(A) ‘Talking Head’ video is one where the main action involves someone talking — either right into the camera or interview style, just to the side of the camera.”
This is one of the most prevalent types of video. Talking heads videos are used in a variety of ways to address a multitude of subjects.
So now that you know what a talking head video is, here are the 6 tips that I’ve put together in my ten plus years of experience for producing or appearing in a great talking head video.
Video Interview Tip(s) # 1 – Prepare:
This seems like a no-brainer, but it is often neglected. Let me say this plainly and clearly, the best thing that you can do to get ready to be on camera is prepare. The best way to do this is to put together a list of talking points about the subject. Bring those talking points with you to the interview and work them into your answers. From time to time during the interview, make sure you’re addressing the points that you want to address.
If you do this, you’ll enter the interview feeling prepared and exit the interview feeling accomplished.
A good interviewer comes to the interview prepared. This can include a short meeting or phone call with you prior to the interview date. This preliminary meeting helps create a level of comfort between you two that can really help.
Video Interview Tip(s) # 2 – Dress for camera:
Everyone wants to look their best on camera but sometimes what you think will look great on camera will actually end up looking awful on camera. Here are some things to avoid.
- Tight patterns: that new shirt (or blouse) that you have that looks like a million bucks can sometimes look awful on camera. This can be due to the camera not handling the color of your shirt well or due to something called aliasing that causes moire. Basically the tight patterns turn into squiggly lines on camera and it can be really distracting to the viewer. I’ve attached a picture in the gallery that shows a shirt with moire.
- Stay away from bright reds. Really stay away from anything bright. Video does well with muted colors without patterns.
- Bonus Tip: for the love of God (whether you believe in God or not) if you’re filming a green screen video, stay away from the color green.
Video Interview Tip(s) # 3 – Pay attention to your posture:
My wife Laura actually went to one of those finishing schools, the kind where they teach you high-class manners. The curriculum includes things like: what fork to eat with and how to properly bow and curtsy. Another thing that they teach you is how to have excellent posture. Posture is huge part of looking good on camera. Sit-up straight, keep those shoulders back (and relaxed) and more importantly smile. If you’re like me and you didn’t have the opportunity to go to finishing school, this is one tip that you will not regret taking.
Video Interview Tip(s) # 4 – Nobody’s perfect:
Digital video cameras completely remove the pressure on you to get it right. Sure you still want to think about speaking in short 5-15 minute sound bites and this is where your preparation comes in, but there is zero pressure to get it right the first time.
Here are the three things to think about while answering an interview question:
- Listen to the question.
- Think about the answer you want to give.
- Give that answer.
It’s that easy!
If there is even the slightest chance that you are giving an answer you don’t want to give or didn’t intend to give, stop. Pause briefly (this well help the editor) and start again. As an interviewer I strive to make the interview process as painless and conversational as possible, but the first thing I always do is remind the subject of my interview that they have the freedom to start and stop whenever they want.
Video Interview Tip(s) # 5 – Try to work the answer into your question:
This tip above all else can be a difficult one to master. Think of it like this, unless you’re being interviewed for 60 Minutes or by Dan Rather or some other famous interviewer there is an excellent chance that the person interviewing you will not be featured on camera. Therefore, you, the interviewee are responsible for providing the audience with the context of the question that you are answering.
This is something that is best demonstrated by an example:
Interviewer: What is your favorite color?
Interviewee: My favorite color by far is green. That’s why I’m wearing it for this green screen video.
(Somewhere the person editing the green screen video is gnashing their teeth in anger).
You should note the following when thinking about the example above:
- By working the question into her answer, the people viewing the video now have context they wouldn’t have if the interview subject just answered the question.
- The interviewee also provided an answer that is long, but not too long. The perfect answer is not too short, not too long but somewhere just in the middle.
- Don’t wear green to a green screen shoot.
Video Interview Tip(s) # 6 – Have Fun:
This last tip could easily be the most important but it could also be the hardest to implement and that’s just to have fun. This is a catch-all tip that has been given out to everyone from kids playing little league, to adults doing adult things. For some reason having fun is also the easiest idea to lose sight of. Most likely the reason you are preparing to go on camera is a positive one. Unless of course you’ve googled this as a way to prepare for your interview with Dateline following your wife or husband’s mysterious disappearance. Remember, just have fun and be as loose as you can on camera.
If you’re working with a professional film crew and interviewer odds are they have gone out of their way to make you comfortable. A good production team has friendly, smiling faces and they also pay attention to the little things that make an interview run more smoothly. Details like making sure the room is not too hot and having water close by for when you get thirsty. A solid, professional crew goes out of their way to make this as good and painless as it can be. All that you have to do is relax and enjoy the process.
I hope you enjoyed these six video interview tip(s) for talking head videos. I also hope that you find them useful for the talking head video that you are putting together or have been asked to be a part of.
Additionally, I’m attaching some screen shots from some of my favorite talking head videos that I’ve produced over the past few years.