Ask The Beard - Getting Interview Subjects To Feel Comfortable on Camera

Recently one of our social media followers asked us about how we get people to feel comfortable on camera when we're looking to interview them.

So on this episode of Ask the Beard, we're taking a look at exactly that - how do you get someone to feel comfortable under lights, mic'd up and camera rolling?!

So let's get straight into Head Beard Bruce's top tips for getting people comfortable on camera when you're going to interview them.

And the first thing is..... that this is not an easy question to answer. The first part of our job is always to get people comfortable for filming. But everyone is different and so usually it is about learning how to interact with a range of personalities. Some people need to be built up, others need calming down.

Tip #1 - Time

It takes time to try and get someone relaxed on camera. But often when we're shooting we don't have all day to capture a video. But the quicker we can build a relationship of trust the better, and usually the better the results. Often we need to use the first interaction we have with our subject as a way to build a foundation, and then hopefully as the shoot progresses, the interviewee relaxes more.

The key here is try and let them ask any questions they might have, walk them through the filiming process and give them a vision as to what you're trying to achieve. Guide them as much as you can. The more confident you are in what you're doing, the quicker and more likely they are to trust you - that you know what you're doing and that they're safe in your hands/camera.


Tip #2 - Take the Equipment Out of The Equation

Most people don't like being on camera and that's a normal reaction to have. We seen even the most talkative person shut down once the camera is up, rolling and pointed in their direction.

So we try to remove the equipment from the person you're working with. No, we don't mean remove it from the shoot, we mean make the shoot about the people in the room, not the camera. Having a friendly conversation before you shoot or even during takes helps to keep their concentration away from the scary things!


Tip #3 - The Importance of Planning & Being Prepared

We can never stress the importance of planning when shooting a video. Firstly, think about what you're trying to achieve when your video will be complete. Do you want a long or short interview - as this will guide you on how long your question set should be. 

Have a question set! Yes - strangely, having a set of questions you'd like to ask written down before you interview will help you. Without it you're likely to waste time and even forget the most important question you have. If you're struggling to think of questions sometimes it's better to think about the answers you want, and then plan your questions to help guide you there.

Plan your equipment - having someone fumble around on cameras, lights, mics etc won't make your interviewee feel comfortable. So if you're new to your equipment - test it so that you know it!


Tip #4 - Guide the Interview

Most of the time your interviewee will look to you for guidance, and that might not mean a direct question. Often it's about body language and mood.

We've found that often we need to act how we want our interviewee to come across on camera. So if the video is to be energetic then we need to be energic before and during the shoot and vice-versa. Think about it - if someone came and asked for an interview and they are whisper quiet, but kept encouraging you to be louder how loud would you get? Now compare it to if someone is already being loud - you'd instantly feel more comfortable being loud because they are.

Similarly, we've found that longer questions will often result in longer answers - which is something you might not want for a short video. Your actions, mood and behaviour will have an effect on your subject.

So think about how you act whilst you're shooting and help guide your subject.

Let's Wrap This Up!

As I wrote at the start of the article, this is not an easy question to answer. It's definitely something I have worked at over the last 12 years of working and specifically improved in the 3 or so years with GINGERBEARD Media. But it's always a tricky subject to try and key down to specific pointers.

So if you have a quick tip I'd love to hear your thoughts down in the comment section about how you get people comfortable on camera.

As always, I hope this post and video have been useful. If you're interested in video and how it can help you and your business, please feel free to get in touch- we're always happy to talk about video!

Until next time!

Beard Out!