The Nature of Filming Conversations

Writing blogs isn’t all I do at Incept. Part of my job actually includes making company videos for our Facebook page.

I always have had an interest in making movies. Back in my teenage years, there was one summer when I scraped for pennies, bartered and sold my unwanted possessions, relentlessly pushing until I had enough to buy a cheap Sony 8mm camera. With no prior filming experience I’d simply cruise the streets of Ohio suburbia on my skateboard and, along with my friends, film the moments of my life from dawn to dusk.

After taking a two-year interactive media course in high school and finding my way to Incept, I am still making videos. Many of the videos I do are more on the professional side of things, due to the simple fact that Incept holds itself to world-class standards. In my ongoing quest to make sure my videos are not only creative and interesting but also engaging on an internal and external level, I interview my fellow coworkers and bosses on a regular basis.

We talk about topics like what is going on in the company, positive and top performance shout-outs, and even upcoming company events. They have become a source of entertainment and value within our company culture and will continue to be utilized to strengthen company-wide communication. Naturally, I speak with many personalities within the halls and walls of Incept. That being said, everyone is different when it comes to being interviewed on camera.

Having a conversation on film is a lot like having a conversation off-camera – there is virtually no difference. Here are some things I do to make sure I’m having not only quality conversations but real conversations while filming:

  • Set the scene for success. If you are doing a formal interview, it is always best to find a quiet place. You want your interviewees to be fully focused on the questions and dialog at hand, not daily distractions. It is also important to remember that you can always have multiple angles of anyone - a tip that really opens creative doors when working with basic equipment, as well as limited time and space, but still need a quality finished product in the end. A basic example of something I do is shooting a different angle for each question asked. In doing so the video becomes less predictable than just the same shot and gives me the ability to maximize the visual space of the setting I’m in, whether that be a small office or a giant, long-tabled conference room.
  • Make your interview subject relaxed. So you’ve found the perfect place to film, but you have some people who get nervous at the thought that their filmed response is going to be viewed by many people, a lot of whom they do not personally know. It’s easy to see why people get nervous about performing on stage or even being filmed – the world can be a judgmental place. It all comes down to you, as an interviewer, being able to make whoever it is you’re talking to feel relaxed and open to conversation. Be willing to let them do another take if they want to. It’s also a good practice to go over the questions and format of the interview before filming even starts. That gives the interviewee some insight into what the topic(s) at hand will be. This helps them have a more natural feel when answering questions, as well as comfort in knowing when transitions will occur over the course of the conversation.
  • Set your tone. Whenever you film, remember to ask yourself, “Who is my audience?” A video with the president of the company explaining changes in policies is going to be different (in terms of tone) than a video of last year’s Christmas party. The questions – and how you ask them in the environment you ask them – are going to be the determining factors toward the responses you get. Editing your video with appropriate title screens, music or sound (if any) and length is what effectively brings out desired tone when it comes to filmed, formal professional interviewing.

Right now I’m doing something I’ve loved doing for years in a professional setting and running with it. I’m going to keep pushing the limits of how good I can get with the equipment I’m working with. After working with everything from multiple editing interfaces and 8mm film cameras to high quality Panasonic HD cameras and Flip video cameras, I’m convinced it’s all about how you utilize the equipment.

What do you like to do that brings out your creativity?