Many company representatives are finding themselves invited to do video interviews over the Internet using a technology like Skype or Google Hang-Outs. Many publications — especially technology trade magazines — have discovered that video interviews are very interesting to their readers, bringing lots of eyeballs to their site, and generate good organic search results.
However, with limited bandwidth and the fact that laptop video cameras are not really designed for high-quality video conferencing, it is imperative that both interviewer and the interview subjects try to optimize the online video interview experience. Here are a few tips that will ensure the highest quality video interview experience.
- Listen, think, and then talk. Don't be planning your answer until you hear the end of the question. The momentary pause is good for video and audio interviews, especially if the interview is being edited for clarity.
- Set up and test out your video/audio system beforehand to make sure the camera and microphone work. It doesn't matter how good the video looks if no one can understand what is being said. Make sure you have a good microphone and use headphones to prevent feedback from your computer's speakers.
- Find a good location with a nice simple background. Nice pastel background — with the subject at least five feet away from the back wall. If you have a logo for your business, hang it up behind you. Make sure the location is quiet; free from distractions like barking dogs, gardeners with leaf blowers, and complaining children.
- Make sure your face is well lit. Online video needs light — and lots of it. Turn on a light; open the window. Maybe reposition your laptop so that the light is more directly on your face.
- Position your video camera so that it is level with your eyes. Try to get a nice bust shot — from the top of your chest to the top of your head with a little bit of space above your head. If possible, match your head size to the head size of the interviewer.
- Position your chair at slight angle to the camera. Sit up straight and slightly turn your head to the camera. If in the camera shot, you are now looking slightly left, slightly move your camera so that your head is slightly on the right side of the frame. This is called “look room.” That means more room on the side that you are talking towards. Your head should be slightly to the left or to right of the center. Just a smidge. If you are looking right, your head should be more on the left side.
- If possible, be the complement (opposite of your interviewer). If they are looking right on camera, you should be looking left. That way it appears that you are looking at each other. If they are looking left, you should be looking right.
- Preplan close-ups of images, objects, and other props. If you need to hold something up, move it to the camera. It is best to discuss the use of images, charts, products, etc., before the video starts. It may be preferable to simply send the images to the publication so they can edit them in as needed. And, provide them in a video format — more or less a 3 x 4 rectangle. Look at the dimensions of your TV set or video monitor.
- Use the best Internet broadband connection possible. If you are using WiFi, get as close to the router as possible and make sure that all other uses stay off the network while the interview is in progress.
Follow these guidelines and your video interviews should look and sound good, and provide the audience with the info they need, as well as the promotion you want. If possible, make sure to conclude with an action statement — how and where can the customer get more information about your product, technology, and company.