How to record better business interview videos with your smartphone
April 6th 2020
With large portions of the UK workforce working from home and with the governments advice to only travel if absolutely necessary, marketing such as video production is certainly seeing a reduction in bookings and quite rightly so as saving lives and protecting our NHS is far more important during these uncertain and unprecedented times. I had an email from a client earlier in the week asking for some advice on how best to film an interview with a smartphone as they couldn’t risk getting us in to do it. There plan was to film an interview with two smartphones and then send us the footage to edit, which we can do entirely remotely. This got me thinking so below is the advice I sent them as it might be useful to swaths of the UK business population. It’s important to mention that creating video content this way, unless it’s for vlogs, will have limitations compared to a professionally produced video but at this time we need to do anything we can to keep businesses ticking over so once we overcome the Coronavirus pandemic the economy will be able to bounce back quicker.
So here are the key things to consider when recording business interview videos with your smartphone –
- If you are using one phone editing can be a little tricky so consider shooting in 4K as this will allow a wide and close-up shot to be created during the editing stage by using a technique called ‘cropping in’. This allows you to edit out any stumbles or shorten interview answers in order to keep them as succinct as possible.
- If using two cameras it’s best to have a 30 degree difference between them as a minimum and one should be a wide (waist up for example) and the other one a close-up (head and shoulders). If speaking to camera the subject should present to the wide straight on camera.
- Use a tripod so that the smartphone can be set at the optimum height and angle.
- Turn your smartphone on its side so it’s landscape unless you are filming solely for Instagram/Facebook stories.
- Don’t use digital zoom as this deteriorates the quality of the footage.
- Smartphones have all sorts of crazy video features so make sure you film in the normal colour setting mode.
- Make sure you use an external microphone so the sound is as clear as possible. A lapel mic is the simplest and most effective tool to use.
- When placing a lapel mic run it up the inside of your top/jacket so the cable is concealed and make sure that the mic is placed on the lapel of your jacket, near a button on your shirt or on the neck hem of a jumper. Also make sure that mic is positioned so that you don’t get any rubbing between the mic and the fabric as this will cause a distracting noise.
- To take it one step further you could look at using an external audio device as this will give a higher quality recording, but it does add an extra step in the editing stage as the audio will need to be synced with the video footage.
- Choose your location carefully so as to mitigate as much background noise as possible.
- Make sure the subject isn’t back-lit. This would happen if you were to sit in front of a window or other bright light source. The issue with this is that the subject gets silhouetted against the bright background, plus a very bright background is distracting. When silhouetted the viewer won’t be able to see the persons face very clearly which kind of defeats the point of using video.
- Light is one of the key ingredients to a good interview so select a location that is bright. If the room has a window that can’t be covered then position the subject so that the window is approximately 2 ‘o’ clock to where they are looking. This will illuminate a good portion of their face but not make them squint by looking into the light.
- Make sure you consider what is behind the subject as this will be very obvious in the final video. Try to choose somewhere that isn’t cluttered as you want the viewers attention to be on you and not the bookshelf behind your head.
- If you want the background to be plain then choose an even coloured wall but try and sit a good 4-6 feet in front of it.