Video Interview Guidelines


For a style of interview designed to elicit sound bites and longer statements from an interviewee, that will be edited into an audio or video production. These interview techniques and interview tips are for a free and open interview style that best elicits a natural interview response from the interviewee.

1: Have the interviewee state their name and any other needed identifying information and spell anything that may be misunderstood or misspelled.

2: If a written release is not available have the interviewee acknowledge that he/she is being recorded and that permission is being given to the producer to use the interview in any legal manner (or with restrictions) without compensation to the interviewee (or define the compensation). This is not intended to be a complete release or replace a written release, but something in the absence of a written release. Laws vary in different countries and states, and this is not legal advice.

3: Some interviewees may be uneasy with the process at first; some casual conversation, before starting the formal interview in these situations, is useful.

4: Explain the process to an interviewee, who is not familiar with being interviewed. A point to make is that if the interviewer’s questions are not likely to be used, the answers given should stand on their own. Another point to make is that the interview will be edited to make it shorter and get rid of mistakes made, so the interviewee may restart an answer or correct themselves if needed.

5: If you are going to use your questions in the finished product, or even if you are not, it is useful to record the interviewer on a separate audio channel.

6: Questions should NOT be yes or no questions, such as: “Did you get a lot of useful information from attending the sales preparation workshop?” A much better question would be: “What kind of useful information did you get from attending the sales preparation workshop?”

7: An interviewee may ramble. It is important that you not interrupt during the interview that will be later edited, unless they are way off track or taking too much time. Sometimes they will go down a path you didn’t expect. If it is something relevant to your interview, pursue that path when they are done speaking with a follow-up question. The significant message here is to listen to the answers and listen to where the interviewee is leading; it may be to an unexpected pot of gold.

8: If the interviewee appears too uncomfortable or nervous during the interview take a brief break possibly offer them some water. Maybe reiterate the fact that the finished product will be edited. In all cases you should never appear irritated or rushed, as this will add to the tension felt by the interviewee.

© 2016 Bill Williams
Producer and owner of A Cut Above Video Productions, Inc. since 1988