How to... Interview

by Sara Aulds about a month ago in how to

What all is involved?

How to... Interview
Quinn Dorian — Q &A — 2020

I’m just going to start off saying that filming and editing interviews is a lot harder than it looks. 1) because not only do you have to control the cameras, but you have to make sure your subject stays in the right stop. 2) you have to keep a consistent look and feel through the whole thing. How the person answers questions, what’s in the frame between takes; was it there in the last take or did it move? 3) if you’re using two cameras you have to make sure the colors look the same. This is a must!

Now, take what I just said and forget about it for a second. If you know me, and if you know Quinn, then you probably know the above statement probably isn’t going to be followed to a T. We plan and most of the time we wing it and do our best. The important thing is to have fun and make sure the message you want to get across does.

As you've probably noticed, if you have read my other posts, is Quinn Dorian is my subject. This project was for her and her career as a singer/songwriter. This project has been in the works since the beginning of the year and was finally filmed in May 2020. Quinn Dorian has released her new album "Living in Limbo" back in February and had asked her fans to send her questions that would like her to answers; the answers she received vary from "What makes you tick?" to "What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to an artist or band just starting out?"

After watching the video makes sure to like and subscribe to my channel and Quinn's channel so you don't miss future content!

In this post, I will be showing you how this video was created, what equipment I use and how I used it, and editing techniques and tricks.

If you know me, you know I am very much a DIYer. I will figure out a way to make something work (or figure out if it’s not going to work) before buying an expensive piece of equipment to do something so simple. For this project however, I don’t think I used any DIY made equipment. Who knows while I’m typing I’ll remember something. So keep reading and find out!

Interview Style

What is an interview style, you may ask; it is how you plan on the subject answering the questions they have prepared or you have prepared for them. In this interview, I had no idea what the questions were because Quinn was handling those through her Instagram, so I told her the style would be:

1. Introduce the person asking the question

2. Read their question

3. Answer it however you feel fit

4. Leave the editing and piecing together to me :)

A style many videographers use is where they have the interviewee restate the question in their answers. For example, let’s say the question is: “How did you get started in music?” The interviewee would answer something like this: “I began my journey in music when I was 10 years old while sitting in my back yard watching butterflies hop around the lawn.” They rephrased the question without making it sound like there was even a question asked. I call this a Continuous Style because the interviewee can asked a question from off camera and rephrase the question into their answer; with a little bit of editing magic it sounds like they’re continuously talking.

However, this style did not happen with Quinn’s video, obviously. This style we used I like to call Ask and React. Self explanatory really. Quinn reads her viewers question and reacts and answers however she feels like it. The fun part about this, she surprised me by saying she wanted to have her dog in the interview. Depending on Quinn’s actions and reactions to the questions side would sometimes react along with her. Too cute.

Audio

The biggest part about interviews is making sure your audience is able to hear what the interviewee is saying, otherwise it’s just a face with their mouth moving... and a cute dog.

There’s so much to consider when trying to figure out what would be the best way to capture the best quality audio. I am going to tell you know, my way of doing things is not perfect, but it gets the job done at the level of satisfaction I (we, Quinn and I) need it to be at. When I’m working with microphones for recording interviews I try to put the mic as close as I can to the person; this is where lapel mics, also known as lavaliers, come in handy.

Like I said before, I’m a DIY kind of person; I don’t like to spend a lot of money on expensive equipment especially if I know I’m not going to use it all that often. I have a couple lapel mics I bought from Amazon that plug into a 3.5 mm headphone jack on a phone. I have an iPhone XR... there is no headphone jack... BUT I have a dongle! It works wonderfully! Since I use my phone, I just use Voice Memos to record my audio. Really! It’s as simple as that! Because the biggest issue is taken care of by using an external mic! Once the audio is recorded I send it to my laptop or desktop for editing with the video. I use Adobe Audition for my audio editing, however I usually only use this if I have to do extensive editing to the quality of the recordings. Adobe Premiere Pro has an in-app audio editor that is great for adjusting gain, levels, noise, etc., that I use more often than Audition because I always try to get the best audio possible first.

Composition

How does your overall, in frame composition look for take to take; this is key for keeping a well composed video appealing and professional. There are somethings you can’t help, and there are somethings that fit with the vibe of your interviewee or the overall theme of the video; those are fine as long as you keep that consistency throughout the whole thing and not just here and there because it will just look like mistakes.

In case you’re lost already, composition means everything that the camera sees that is being used to tell the story. Another term I will use is “in frame or out of frame” which means everything that the camera sees in the position you are pointing it toward. For example, Quinn can be seen can be seen in the composition, but when she talks with her hands they sometimes go out of frame or off screen. Things like this are what you need to watch for while filming in case you need to do a quick camera movement to follow your subject.

Since there were multiple things going on that Quinn would do during filming, I would have to think during the take “Is it worth it to redo this take because she did this? But she did phrase her answer really well...” compromising between the message and how it looks. There’s only so much editing can help with, but a lot of actions done in frame can be hidden with matches action cuts or transitions. Also, there’s a dog in this video so I was having to watch two bodies and what they were doing to make cuts look as natural as possible.

When it came down to editing, one of the things I wish I had paid for attention to was the fact Iden laid down half way through the interview. Piecing things together from the first set of takes and the second set made it hard because Iden could be seen in one take and not seen in the next. Personally, I think I did a pretty good job working around the quirks of these two making the video flow and also fun to watch. With Quinn and Iden, I already knew it was going to be fun to watch, but putting together the whole thing was a blast.

Thank you all so much for reading through this little How To and for taking the time to watch my latest project. If you have any questions please feel free to find my page on Instagram @sara_aulds_photography and reach out.

If you would like to help support my freelance photography and videography business please leave a tip here on Vocal; it is always very much appreciated.

Thank you all for your support!

Stay tuned for more posts!

how to
Sara Aulds
Sara Aulds
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Sara Aulds

I am a photographer and videographer from Cincinnati, Ohio. I write as a hobby and capture reality as a profession.

See all posts by Sara Aulds