The coronavirus pandemic has radically altered the way journalists approach interviews. Despite strict social distancing guidelines, they’re still expected to deliver accurate, timely stories on tight deadlines. Because of this, reporters across the country are turning to video conferencing software to connect their viewers with appropriate subject matter experts.
This means your next interview probably won’t play by the same rules that you’re used to. From finding the right lighting to capturing the perfect camera angle, a great interview will require some additional legwork to ensure you look professional, sound smart and hit all your talking points.
Whether you’re speaking with a local television station or prepping for a national appearance, here are a few tips that can help you ace your next digital interview:
- Light it up. Lighting can have a huge effect on the quality of video during your interview. To ensure you look your best, keep a lighting source opposite of you — like a lamp or an open window. Most importantly, this should not be visible to the camera. Having your light source on camera will create distracting hotspots on the screen.
Good framing, good lighting
Examples of bad lighting and framing
- Prop it up. Identify where the camera is located on your computer and try to position it at eye level. If you’re using a laptop, avoid placing the computer on a low table where you’re looking down. This will create a good eye-line for your interview and ensure your face is seen from an optimal angle.
- Eyes on the prize. Remember, video interviews mean your audience can see where you’re looking! A lot of times you’ll be able to see yourself on the screen as well. While it’s tempting to watch yourself speak, avoid looking at the window in the corner and look directly into your camera. This will help viewers perceive you as present and engaged while preventing your gaze from wandering as you speak.
- Find a quiet space. You’ll want to make sure your interview can happen from start to finish uninterrupted. If you’re working from home right now, make sure to distance yourself from pets that could bark in the background or kids that may wander into the room during your interview. Trust us, you don’t want your interview to end like this.
- Use a mic. If you have access to a microphone, use it! Not only will thismake you appear more professional, but you’ll also minimize the chances that the reporter can’t understand your words. Other solutions like AirPods or headphones with a mic are good options as well. Keeping the mic source closer to your mouth will help create a clearer interview.
- Test your connection. Before you get started with the real interview, do a test call with a friend. You’ll want to make sure you have a strong internet connection to avoid any lags or interruptions.
- Understand your background. Make sure to check your surroundings and find an area that isn’t too cluttered or overlit behind you. Pay attention to things like placement of plants or pictures that may be distracting if they’re in a poor position. For example, a plant placed directly behind you may look like it’s coming out of your head on the screen!
Most importantly, remember: practice makes perfect! Because your interview is probably live, you won’t have the opportunity to start over or redo a line. This means it’s critical to think through the questions you may be asked and be ready to answer them. To ensure your interview feels natural, avoid having a script or talking points sitting next to your computer — the audience will be able to see your eyes looking at the script.
When it comes to digital interviews, the quality can make a huge difference, and ultimately determine if journalists are willing to cover your organization’s stories again. That’s why our team wants to ensure you have the tips you need to look polished and professional.
For more information or guidance, feel free to reach out to our creative team by using the Contact Us page on our website.