“In the professional world, not many people love when I come to their office. I’m not a scary man by any means. I hold in my hands (and tripod), equipment to make even the most well-spoken and punctual people stutter and freeze up.
A day off for a video shoot sounds fun for a lot of employees. However, When it comes down to actually shooting the videos, people always want to go last. They get in front of the camera, get nervous, jittery & freeze up. I always find that directing and conducting interviews with everyday working people is harder than directing actors.
Your job isn’t just to guide the conversation in the right place, you also have to ensure that they’re comfortable in front of the camera.
In my 5+ years of video production experience, I’ve learned one thing goes a long way:
Make your clients forget that the camera exists.
As a seasoned veteran, I’ll now allow for extra time before interviews begin. I’ll have the cameras set up, people mic’d up & ready to go, the lights going and everything. Then, I’ll ask the dumbest questions.
“What’s the weather like?” “Did you catch the ball game last night?” “Those socks are so cool! Where did you get them?!?!”
Believe it or not, these “stupid” questions go a long way. Now, there’s people that can finish an interview in 5 minutes. Then, there’s also ones that take 2 hours, for the same amount of footage.
I’ve found that on average, people take ~20 minutes to fully warm up to the idea of being in front of the camera. Somewhere along that way, with all those “dumb” questions, the anxiety of being in front of a lens suddenly drops.
This makes for punchier, better interviews, that in turn, are easier for me to edit, as well.
Next time shooting video for yourself, consider using that 20 minute buffer, and see how it works out!