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  • Nancy Soulliard

Tips for preparing for videography and the current environment

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Challenging times encourage creative solutions for video storytelling

Yesterday, I was back on campus for a video shoot. Amidst all of the pandemic regulations, we still need to create content and tell stories...just differently.

I’ve found that sometimes boundaries can be freeing. They provide a framework to build within. In this case, we needed to capture interviews while maintaining masking and social distance regulations. The current campus restrictions require masks to be worn at all times except if there is only one person in the room. Photo and video shoots aren’t ideal in the current environment but a little adaptability helps find success in new ways. We often use active footage for b-roll but, since the video will outlive the pandemic, we planned to create simple video interviews and not include others in masks.

Planning and preparing

As I begin planning a video, I work with my team to create an outline or edit list and questions that will get the subject to tell the story we’re looking for that focuses on engaging the right audience. Sharing these with the videographer, editor, interviewee and anyone that will be approving the final video to get feedback before shooting begins gets everyone involved with the process onboard with the plan from the start.

I often begin scheduling based on the videographer’s availability and the deadline. I then work with the interviewee to schedule a corresponding time within that window of time. The environment of the interview can help tell the story that the subject is talking about so I look for an interesting location that can add value to the story being told. For example, a nursing simulation lab is a great place to showcase a nursing professor. Once the location and time is established, I follow up with an appointment for everyone’s calendar that includes all pertinent details for the shoot including the time, location, my contact information, questions and clothing direction.

The Interview

Most people are not professional interviewees but they are experts in their field and are passionate about talking about their specialty. We need to see that passion and depth of knowledge as well as a warmth and inviting personality. Everyone prepares differently for this. For some, bullet point notes of key themes are helpful. Others prefer to fully write out their thoughts.

Ways I help prepare the interviewee:

  1. Always give detailed clothing direction ahead of time! Simple, bold colors without patterns look best for video and photography. I always recommend the subject bring another shirt in case the first option doesn’t provide enough contrast between them and the background.

  2. Review with them the main points needed to tell the story in the video before the interview begins.

  3. Discuss the importance of keeping answers short and concise so we can create a brief, promotional video.

  4. Recommend beginning and ending the answers with a breath and a smile. This is an easy way for the interviewee to begin calmly and look warm and pleasant. Having the interviewee hold the smile for a second or two after each answer is also helpful for the video editor to have some space to cut from one shot to another.

Preparing for potential curveballs

Over the years, I’ve learned to plan well for all aspects of a shoot. Sometimes an interview isn’t as strong as we hoped for. Even minimal b-roll footage and infographics can help strengthen the story when the interview needs more support. I always have back-up ideas of locations, questions and creative reorganization if the initial plan deviates from the original direction.

The interviews on campus yesterday came together well and I’m looking forward to seeing the final videos in the coming weeks.

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