Week 6 of Lizzie’s top tips for making films with impact

Posted on:December 9, 2016

Author:Clare Holt

Category:Blogs, Filming tips, Uncategorized

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Well, we’ve made it to week 6 of my top tips and this week we’re talking about getting the best out of interviews.

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Interviews are often the staple of a short film, so think carefully about who is going to do the interview and what their key message is going to be.

You may need to juggle internal politics in your organisation when planning a shoot. Try to make sure everyone is  happy at the planning stage rather than fire fighting further down the line.  A word of caution: cramming everyone in to your film just to keep them happy can lead to an overlong piece of content which could easily lead people to clicking away – certainly not the desired effect!

A good rule of thumb is to consider that generally people talk at the rate of 3 words per second – so you can work out what you want your CEO to say, and then time it. If you want a 2 minute film it’s probably best to stick to just 3 or 4 interviewees maximum rather than 7 or 8.

And, remember to warn people in advance that you will probably need more interviewees than will end up in the final cut.


Interview technique

Very few of us are naturally good on camera! The first thing to remember is that like anything, it takes practice, so don’t worry if you feel as though you aren’t as good as you hoped when the cameras start to roll!  Even the most experienced TV presenters make mistakes so unless you are being interviewed ‘live’ you can just start again if you need to!

The art of being a good interviewee is to appear to be relaxed, natural  and confident under entirely artificial circumstances, with one or more cameras pointing at you, a bunch of people you may never have met standing holding microphones and clipboards, and possible a bright light shining on your face too.


There are a couple of things to remember if you are preparing to be interviewed:
  1. Be clear about your message. Keep it simple, and keep it focussed.
  2. If you are planing a film and there are several people from the organisation that need to be included, try to divide up the key messages so they aren’t all saying the same thing.
  3. If you are being interviewed, practise speaking concisely and fluently about the subject – in front of a mirror, or with a friend of colleague. Yes, you may feel silly, but it’s much better than being unprepared or even worse, trying to use notes, which will just encourage you to keep looking down at them. It’s tempting to think that you can read your responses off an iPad style prompt, but unless you are an experienced presenter this will probably look un natural and is best avoided.
  4. If your film requires a presenter rather than just an interview, discuss this beforehand with your producer. Presenting is difficult to do well and not something to be taken on lightly so it may be worth considering hiring a professional in.
  5. If your budget allows, it may be an idea to have the interviews filmed with two or three cameras so that in the edit the shots can be varied. This is especially useful if there are hardly any other ingredients in the film.


What to wear?

This is  important –  not least to keep you feeling as relaxed as possible in a strange and potentially stressful situation.

  1. If you have a tendency to flush under pressure, wear something that covers your neck area.
  2. Wear comfortable clothes and think about where the crew may have to attach a microphone. That long tight fitting sweater dress could lead to problems!
  3. Avoid clunky or jingly jewellery
  4. Avoid close dog-tooth or striped patterns – they can cause strange effects on the screen
  5. Empty pockets of lots of noisy loose change – any jingling could be picked up by the microphone.
  6. If you have a tendency to glow under pressure, make sure you have either some powder or a tissue to take the shine off.


If you have a project that you’re itching to get off the ground give us a ring today – we’d love to hear from you.  Give us a ring on 01235 606010, visit our website, or email us at [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you!