Interviewing Exercise

Take time to do a few practice interviews – from introducing the project and obtaining informed consent to setting-up your shots and conducting the interview – before you really get started. Here are some suggestions on how to practice…

Get your visuals

Start with an “establishing shot” (typically a long shot at the beginning of a scene designed to inform viewers of a change in location and orient them to the general mood and relative placement of subjects in the scene). Examples may include panning from the street to your subject (interviewee) or a wide shot.

Remember to frame your subject and remember the rule of thirds and to match eyelines.

Ensure you have good audio!
Use your headphones and listen for any distracting background noises (wind, traffic, hums, etc.) and turn off those you can control. For those you can’t, think about the best ways to minimize the noise by proper miking techniques. Hold your mic close to the speaker. If using a clip-on mic, pin it as high up as possible and make sure it is not rubbing on fabric.

Steps for the Interview Exercise

  • Start your interview. Take turns interviewing each other on the question “What is your earliest childhood memory?”
  • Follow the guidelines from the Interview Tip Sheet and remember important aspects like having the interviewee introduce him or herself and avoiding yes or no questions.
  • Take note of the questions that you ask. Follow up on specifics – sights, smells, people, etc. Five to eight questions should be sufficient.

Discuss with the group

Returning to the larger group, watch a few of the recorded answers.

  • Compare whose interview garnered the most vivid, detailed story and discuss what type of questions made it successful.
  • Some people are simply natural storytellers, but everyone has a fascinating story to tell – it simply takes a good interviewer to draw it out. People pay attention to compelling stories!
  • Analyze the technical aspects of the interview

What’s Next? Label and Log Your Footage

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