How To: Select the Best Interview Setup for Your Video

By Michelle Maslanka • Producer

One of the most common ways to deliver information in a video is through interviews. Once you have decided on an interview-based video, you'll want to think about the type of interview style that works best for your message and location. Here are four different interview setups to consider for your next project.

 

1. Standard Single Interview

The quintessential interview style, this single-subject setup can be seen from corporate videos to documentaries and beyond. The interviewee looks off camera to the interviewer and is generally placed on either side of the frame, following the rule of thirds. These setups tend to allow for a more formal approach within a controlled environment and use lighting equipment and hidden microphones for a more polished look.

In the Exact Data sample below, notice how each subject, whether sitting or standing, is placed in this setup, perfect for a corporate profile video.

 

2. Two-Person Interview

In some cases, two is better than one! A two-person interview should be an intentional choice; one that is going to add to the overall story. Two people could be interviewed at the same time to establish they are connected in some way. For example, business partners, a parent and child, or teammates could make for a dynamic duo interview. The goal is to witness and record an interaction, and see/hear how they play off of each other in telling their story. 

In the Citi Bank sample below, two-person interviews were used to establish connections between the employees of Veterans New Beginnings and the residents they support, and allowed for visual displays of emotion.

 

3. Man-on-the-Street Interview

Playing off of the standard setup, "man-on-the-street" style interviews can often be seen in event or news coverage type videos. These setups are typically simple, stand-up interviews, and use the location the subject is already in as the backdrop. As opposed to more formal sit-down interviews, these setups need be readied in minutes, so the lighting is simplified and mics are typically clipped to the outside of the subject's shirt. There are usually a number of people who will be asked to answer a few questions, which later will be compiled for an event recap video.

In the TrendWatching sample below, presenters and attendees alike were interviewed throughout the event in the "man-on-the-street" style.

 

4. Audio-Only Interview

An abstract take on the standard interview, this setup is as the name implies: audio only. While the interview itself may be conducted in a similar manner to a standard interview, video footage does not need to be captured; rather, the audio is the most important element here, so conducting the interview in a location that will allow for clean audio is best. While the audience never sees the subject in an interview setup, they can connect the voice with the "hero" of the piece easily.

In the Ebert Studio sample below, the audience hears directly from the owner. His interview answers are woven together and presented in an authentic, storytelling way which makes for an engaging video.