15 tips to improve your on-camera interviews
Updated: Jan 12
We have all been there at one point or another. You secure a production team for your upcoming video, you hold a planning call to discuss every aspect of the project, you have a firm date for the shoot, and then the sinking feeling over sitting in front of a camera starts setting in. The good news is this is entirely normal, and we are here to ease those fears. Our team has put together 15 tips to prepare you ahead of your next interview, which should temper at least some of the natural anxiety that comes with speaking on-camera.
Whether you are a seasoned executive with hours of media training or you are preparing for your video debut, these tips will be a useful resource ahead of your next shoot.
We have split the tips into three main sections:
Preparing for your interview
Staging the set
Preparing for your interview
Tip #1 Prepare your talking points ahead of time.
Choose four or five points you want to cover in your segment. Remember, the more comfortable you are with your answers ahead of time, the more natural you will come across during the interview.
Tip #2 Be sure to add context to what you are saying.
You never want the viewer to feel like they have missed something, so when you answer an interview question, always start by rephrasing each question before providing an answer. Ex. "What is your favorite color?" "My favorite color is blue."
Tip #3 Avoid using empty words.
"Umms" and "uhs" and "likes." These words can be avoided by preparing your answers, as we have mentioned above. If you need to pause to gather your thoughts, pause, and start again when you are ready.
Tip #4 Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Rehearse in front of a mirror, and or film yourself with a cell phone. If you aren't too shy, grab a friend or spouse to film so you can fully concentrate on the delivery of your talking points.
Tip #5 Rehearse but don't memorize.
You want to sound natural in your responses, so don't try to rush through the answers. Practice taking a thoughtful pause before answering the next question to ensure a more conversational speaking cadence. Unlike live performances and news broadcasts, this interview is not live, so you can stop and start over as many times as you need without fear of wrecking an entire production.
Tip #6 Think about your answers in soundbites.
Consider how your answers might be repurposed as standalone soundbites and try to keep your responses 1-3 sentences.
Tip #7 Limit industry jargon.
Avoid industry jargon unless your video is for a niche audience. The last thing you want to do is alienate a broader audience.
Tip #8 Pretend you are talking with a friend or colleague.
Think of this interview as a conversation with a colleague. Try not to get hung up on thinking about the future audience and instead focus on the interviewer and the present moment.
Staging the set
Tip #1 Prepare the shooting location ahead of time.
We are more than happy to make recommendations for your video, but these are a few things to consider when staging your set for filming. Ensure the room (or rooms) designated for filming is free of clutter and void of indoor noise like loud A/C units, printers, intercoms, closing doors, and external noises (as much as in your control) that occur outside of your office. Also, be sure that the room has at least two electric outlets for our team to run extension cords to our production equipment. If you are shooting in a less controlled environment, either outdoors or a high traffic area, you will need to note the many variables you and the production team will contend with. Our team will assess the space when they arrive, but you can avoid common nuisance interruptions if you have already done a sweep of the shooting location.
Tip #2 Make sure the set is available 30 minutes before and after your interview.
We recommend scheduling 30-minute padding to the shoot's front and end to give our production team ample time to set up and break down our production equipment.
Tip #1 Consider your wardrobe.
It's always a good idea to avoid loud patterns, i.e., polka dots, non-business logos, or pinstripes. If you wear glasses, you might consider taking them off if you don't have reflective lenses. Keep in mind that production lights are brighter than typical office lights, and if your lenses aren't anti-glare, they will catch these lights and quickly become a distraction for the viewer.
Tip #2 Inform your team and building staff (when applicable) of the shoot.
Ensure everyone knows that a film crew will be on-site ahead of the production to avoid unnecessary confusion, delays in production, and co-worker interruptions.
Tip #3 Arrive early.
If you are filming in a studio setting, consider arriving an extra few minutes early and taking a short walk to calm your nerves and get the lay of the land. Getting aquainted with an unfamiliar place can also help quell nervous energy and allow you to meet the people who you will be working with during the shoot.
Tip #4 Anticipate and plan for interruptions.
Interruptions happen. We will do what we can to limit avoidable interruptions but understand that they do happen. It might be an external environment noise like honking or dogs barking. Or it might be an on-set interruption like sudden hammering from the next room or our team needing to swap out a camera battery. It doesn't happen often, but we can't promise that it won't ever happen.
Tip #5 Bring your energy!
Be sure to bring some energy to your interview. If you are excited about what you are saying, your audience will be too! Be sure to get a good night's rest the night before and, if possible, avoid juggling too many tasks leading up to your interview. If you are distracted by a big project deadline, our cameras will know, and the viewers will know. We also recommend not scheduling big meetings before your interview, whenever possible.
Need a production company for your next video? We have got you covered. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today to speak with someone from our team.