- Do research on your interviewee and your topic before the interview takes place.
- Plan your questions in advance. Having index cards or a small notebook can help you stay on track during the interview. Avoid questions that result in a yes/no answer.
- Make sure you have the interviewee sign a release form.
- Have the interviewee spell out their first and last name before the interview.
- Make your interviewee feel comfortable and relaxed. Have your interviewee sit or stand in a relaxed position for the duration of the interview.
- Limit the distractions around the interviewee. You and your interviewee want to appear focused on each other.
- Be friendly and develop a rapport with the interviewee.
- Listen carefully during the interview. If you didn’t hear or understand something that your interviewee said, ask them for clarification.
- Make sure that your interviewee responds to your questions in complete sentences.
- Edit in your head as you listen to the interviewee’s responses to your questions. Is their answer simple and clear? Will it edit well? If not, ask your question again until you get the sound bite you will need in the edit room.
- Make sure you have the right conditions when recording with a mobile device (i.e. lighting, composition and external noise control).
- Keep phone steady when recording audio/video during an interview.
- Make sure the interviewee doesn’t hold the phone.
- Research the shots that will look and work best for your interview (i.e. Two-shot, Barbara Walter Shot, Over-the-Head Shot).
- Make sure you are in a quiet environment. Avoid humming lights, computers, traffic, talking, etc.
- Do a test run of the the audio levels before completing the full interview.
- If there is an audio problem, such as background noise, stop the interview until it is resolved.
- If there is an audio problem, ask the interviewee to repeat the answer.
- Capture room tone by recording “silence” at the end of the interview.
- Make sure to wear appropriate clothing when interviewing someone (i.e. suit, blazer, long pants, etc). It is important to look professional.
- Advise the interviewee to dress in attire that is also professional and not distracting.
- Don’t make the interviewee uncomfortable. Avoid asking very personal questions that are unrelated to the interview topic. Maintain a professional attitude and approach.
- If you have a mic, don’t let the interviewer hold the mic.
- Don’t interrupt your interviewee in the middle of a sentence. Let he/she finish what they have to say.
- Don’t ask yes/no questions.
- Don’t cut your interviewee out of frame.
- Don’t block the lens.
- Don’t record at night.
- Don’t position your interviewee higher or lower than yourself. Make sure you are at the same eye level as your interviewee.
- Don’t wear anything that will distract your interviewee or distract your viewer’s attention on the interviewee.