News & Notes

Mastering Remote Interviews

By Amy DeLouise

What’s the secret sauce for a good remote interview? Like you, I’ve been conducting interviews in ways I never did
before, both to edit into videos or to host live for virtual events. So I’ve been collecting my tips and tricks for a better experience on all sides.

Technology. In terms of tech, I always prefer to shoot high resolution video when possible. There are plenty of camera kits you can buy or rent, which ship out with appropriate lighting, a lavalier microphone, and a laptop through which you as the interviewer can communicate with your “talent” remotely. AbelCine has the most comprehensive set of kits. But several DC area DP’s, such as Chad Horn, and post houses such as Interface Media, have also built rigs that ship. Prices vary from $1,400 a day on up, and in some cases even include tech support from a DP who can remote into the camera software to manage your focus and help the talent offload the media card before the camera is returned.

Making it Work. But tech is only part of the puzzle. Being sure the interviewee looks and sounds their best when you can’t be in the room with them is especially challenging. Getting their background to look right, for example, may mean asking them to rearrange a bookcase or move their desk. I always ask in advance about any people or pets who could interrupt our conversation—dogs, children, spouses. Most interviewees are, like us, stuck
in their homes. So trying to develop that pre-interview rapport becomes even more challenging when we are all maneuvering around work-from-home obstacles.

Sharing Themes. One of the things I do for virtual interviews that I rarely do for in-person is share a proposed flow or outline in advance. At the very least, I give the subject(s) themes and ask them to think in advance of examples. Because our remote time together might be even shorter than an in-person sit-down, I find this helps keep the interview or panel discussion moving along.

I have a few more specific tips on prepping remote interview subjects and/or panelists for
an engaging video interview, so you can read my full blog post here.

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