Interviewing 101 | Low Budget Tips and Techniques


Aug 28, 2013
Chicago, IL
So, I am teaching a class at IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) about videography (centered around interviewing and creating content by talkign to others). One of my lessons will be about interviewing techniques - and these students will not have access to professional equipment; just camcorders - like many people out there. Keep in mind this is not a videography class per-se. It's about research.

In any event, I created 8 short clips to show off what I thought were some important tips.

Video Tutorials on Interviewing using Videography | Interviewing 101

Any feedback or things I missed would be greatly appreciated. And if there are some of you that just find them helpful - that'd be great to know too.

“I suggest keeping your camera less than 6 feet from your subject.”
“Place the camera near the window and have your subject face the light.”
“Overhead lights cast unwanted shadows on your subjects face.”
“Resist the urge to comment while your subject is speaking.”
“Have your subject state the question in their answer.”
“Ask Open-Ended Questions.”
“Using a close-up is engaging and provides the best audio fidelity.”
“Utilizing the rule-of-thirds makes your shots more interesting.”


Feb 7, 2013
Don't know how well it applies to your students situation, but if possible check out the recording location beforehand. Try to listen for noise (fans, AC, fluorescent lights that are near failure [they tend to click], wind and traffic if outdoors). That's what I remember from my classes back in the 80's. Always good to try to remove as many distractions as possible from the scene since it can have an impact on both the interviewed and later on the intended audience.


very nice wee set of clips with very practical demonstrations.

I feel for you teaching video on basic gear, when i started working at a media school some clown had decided mv600's and iMovie were what the 1st and 2nd years should be using.

Still, good basic hints to make the best of whats available.

I would chuck in a bit about locking focus, locking the zoom.

Maybe a bit about looking room and crossing the line.


I'm New Here
Dec 18, 2014
Are these interviews for documentation/research purposes or are they going to be viewed by others?
Are you trying to get them to say something specific, or just give us information that shouldnt be molded or directed? Important things to note.

Few things I've learned when doing interviews and these are interviews where most of the time I'm trying to get them to say something specific.

A little direction can go a long way. If you need something condensed, rephrased, or clarified, let them know after their done talking. "Could you shorten that? What did you mean by... I really like that part about ____ Could you talk more about that?" Or even come at em straight: "I really liked your response but could you cut it down to 15 seconds?"

Where is the subject looking? If its a known interview and the audience knows they are talking to someone off camera, have the subject look at them. If the subject is giving the audience information and talking TO the audience, have the subject look straight into the camera. I had trouble figuring out which to do when i was starting out.

Have the camera slightly below the subjects eyeline. So the camera isnt straight on or above the subject. This gives the subject some authority.