How to Interview Someone on Camera (Who Isn’t a Hollywood Actor)

Cameras scare people, they’re intimidating.

how to interview someone on camera big scary camera lens
There are many people who can easily talk, carry on a great conversation, and have a relaxed tone and presence. But when the camera rolls, it’s like they’re a whole different person; nervous, uncertain, and wooden. Shooting videos is so much more than having a nice camera, asking questions, and cutting the footage together. A huge part of it is being able to work with people to get the best performance possible.         Here’s 7 tips on getting better performances for interviews with people who aren’t used to being on camera.

1. Your number 1 priority is making people relax on camera. 

Say you’ll be there to help guide them through speaking on camera. It takes some practice, but you know they can do well.
finding nemo gif relax when you're being interviewed on camera

2. Schedule extra time to film, lots of extra time. 

You don’t want either your talent or yourself to feel rushed. It takes time for people to adjust to being on camera. Tell them you have plenty of time, plenty of film, and there’s no rush to get things perfect right away. They can start over, do things again, and take time to think, or take a break whenever they need to. Want some advice on creating the best interview questions? Vidyard has you covered.

3. Talk with people a bit while they’re seated and everything is set up. 

This will help people to acclimate to being under the lights with the camera pointed at them. Make it relaxed, fun, and conversational. You want people to carry this same relaxed, natural energy into an interview.

4. Provide a lot of encouragement during the interview.

People don’t like to think they’re blowing it. Tell them they’re doing a great job. Don’t ever get frustrated or annoyed. Be patient. Your job is to help them feel comfortable. Let them know you’ve interviewed people who have had more issues in front of the camera, and their fear and nervousness is normal and expected.
you are beyonce gif encourage people on camera

5. If you don’t get the desired response to a question, it’s often good to ask a similar question and try to hone in on what you’d like for them to cover. 

People don’t love being asked to answer the exact same question over and over. There are a lot of ways to discuss a topic and questions that you can ask.

6. Let the interviewee know you’ll edit things together and that your number 1 priority is making them look good.

Tell them you’re on their team and will help them get everything just right. I’m surprised how many times people are worried I’ll leave in screw-ups or inarticulate moments.

7. If they’re still struggling, give them a break from being on camera.

Let them walk around, grab a drink of water, and clear their head. I then find it’s good to have a one-on-one chat, not in front of the camera. See if they can articulate to you off-camera what they want to convey. Then you can say, “That’s perfect. Now we just need to get that on camera. We’ve got plenty of time, and I’ll help you get there.”
teleprompter help people who are being interviewed on camera
Some people do better with a script and teleprompter while others do better being interviewed. It’s a good idea to have a client do a reading of a document you have around so you can see if they can deliver a polished, believable reading that doesn’t sound like they’re reading lines. It’s an enormous waste of clients’ resources and budget to write a script and then find out on the day of filming that their reading sounds wooden and scripted. You can see videos with a number of interviews I’ve finished by going to my main page:

Conclusion: Now that you know how to interview someone on camera, your clients will learn to stop worrying and love the interview.

We covered my top 7 tips on interviewing people on camera for promotional videos. You can now help them relax, be articulate, and you can edit their video into something even more amazing. Now that you know how to interview people, you probably want some more tips on how to film, edit, and upload…am I right? Well, I put together a FREE 100 MINUTE COURSE on how to shoot videos using your phone. Are you creating videos but not seeing the level of online growth you’d like? I cover strategies to grow in this post. I also cover overall marketing advice in my round-up featuring marketing hacks and tips from over 40 books. The pictures I used in this post were from my shoot with Coldwell Banker Devonshire.
live action footage of me interviewing someone on camera