No matter what style of corporate video you’re producing (or any type of video for that matter), you are telling a story. And when you’re producing a corporate video for your company, you’re telling your story. Interviews are a key part of adding personality to your narrative, allowing you to tell your story in your own words.
But not all interviews are the same and the way you film and present your interviews has a big impact on how they are perceived, and what message your viewers take away. Below we’ll look at four different interview formats and explore when best to use them.
By far the most common type of interview you’ll see from corporate videos to television documentaries. This approach involves situating the interviewer as close as possible to the camera when they are talking to the subject. This means that the individual being interviewed is almost talking to the camera, but they won’t ever make direct eye contact with the viewer.
Because the viewer never makes eye contact with the subject, this gives your audience the feeling of listening to a conversation, rather than being an active participant in it. Overall this tends to give the interview a slightly more relaxed feel and often works best when someone is being asked to recount a story, or give their opinion on a particular subject that is being discussed within the video.
This is the opposite of the off-camera approach and involves the subject talking directly to the camera. This gives the impression that the interviewee is having a conversation with the viewer directly and is a powerful and candid way of delivering your message. However, this style of interview filming may make some audiences uncomfortable, owing to the level of intimacy associated with eye contact. So while this is a powerful technique that can have great impact, in a corporate setting it has to be used sparingly.
This technique is slightly more common in American productions than British or European ones (which in my experience is due to the added emphasis on eye contact during conversation in American culture), however there is a growing trend towards this approach within modern day documentary filmmaking throughout Western society.
Unlike the previous two methods, this interview filming technique makes the interviewer part of the conversation. This arrangement works best when the interviewer and the interviewee have a good rapport, as it allows the viewer to watch the social interaction between the conversationalists in a very natural and fluid manner.
This interview filming style does have a few more factors to think about however. For example, this format works best when the interviewer can bring some of their personality to the conversation, but you don’t want them to dominate the exchange, after all the primary focus is still the interviewee and their story.
If you’re wanting to feature interviews with multiple employees or colleagues about a specific subject, then taking the hosted conversation a step further and filming a roundtable discussion between everyone can be extremely effective.
One of the main benefits of this technique is that it has a tendency to relax the participants, meaning they focus less on the fact they are being filmed and therefore act more naturally. This is especially beneficial for corporate videos as many of the subjects aren’t used to talking directly to (or in front of) camera, which often means they are nervous and don’t express themselves genuinely.
In addition, this method can often lead to interesting topics of discussion that expand on the planned subject matter. Different people will bring different ideas, along with independent lines of questioning, meaning you might find the conversation going in a different but highly valuable direction.
Remember, when considering interviews as part of your corporate video, how you tell your company’s story is key to captivating your audience. Using the right format can dramatically enhance the way your message is conveyed and change a relatively boring ‘talking head’ video into an interesting and compelling showcase for your business.