How to Conduct Great Interviews

Top 15 Interviewing Techniques and Reminders

  • Good lighting and sound are key: LOOK AND LISTEN CAREFULLY
  • Source light should always be BEHIND YOU when looking at your interviewee
  • Use a tripod, or at least a flat surface.  This will really make a difference!
  • Use headphones to listen for sounds and turn off noises that you can control
  • Use the “rule of thirds” (Watch a video featuring info on lighting, background, shots (1/3 rule, composition) (6:39)
  • Keep your subject in a medium to medium close-up shot
  • Don’t move camera or zoom unless absolutely necessary
  • First question: CONSENT (see informed consent section)
  • Second question: INTRODUCTION and ask them to say and spell their name and affiliation (i.e. organization)
  • Make sure all your questions are OPEN ENDED (not yes or no) and have your subject answer in COMPLETE SENTENCES (tell them to do so if you have to).
  • Prepare a list of questions beforehand – and ask them all!
  • Don’t interrupt your interviewee – unless absolutely essential
  • ALWAYS ask the interviewee “Is there anything you’d like to add?”
  • Keep silent during an interview
  • Log your interview and mark your tape(s)!


A good way to learn to good film techniques for interviewing is simply to watch several interviews from different sources.  Jot down what you like and don’t like and use your notes when you’re setting up a shot.

Watch this fun video by screennation to learn more about indoor and street interviews and the various shots you could use (2:56)

To get good instructions on how to interview, for instance which setting and lighting to use – watch this video from expertvillage! (2:33)

What’s Next? Informed Consent: Process, Tips and Suggestions

Suggested Exercise:  Do a Test-Run Interview With Your Friends

Additional Resources:

  1. February 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    You guys are hilarious. What an amazing job you did educating about interview and making it funny. A+

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