10 ways to put people at ease in corporate videos

When we’re shooting corporate videos, we often deal with people who are uncomfortable with being on camera. They might be shy. They might be nervous. They might be worried about messing up.

Whatever the reason, an important part of our job is to help them feel at ease. Here are a few of the tricks of the trade that we’ve picked up over the years to help people relax – and give you the footage you need!

  1. Preparation, preparation, preparation

With a corporate video, you have the luxury of having time to prepare. You’re not trying to catch people unawares. So learn as much as possible about the person you’re interviewing and their area of expertise beforehand. We find that our corporate video clients are usually really good at letting us know the relevant background details and the kind of approach that will work best with different individuals.

  1. Warm up while you’re waiting

One great way to put people at ease in corporate videos is to make the most of the time at the start of the shoot when the technical staff are setting up. Introduce yourself, shake hands, look the person in the eye, and explain the process. While you’re checking the audio level, ask about their journey or what they had for breakfast – anything to get the person talking and feeling more relaxed.

  1. Remind them you have endless drive space

At the top, we always say, “This isn’t live. We can do this as many times as we need to.” It’s also a good idea to tell people that you’ll only use the best bits and will make sure they look great in the final edit. That way, they’ll be less worried about any slips or hesitations.

  1. Ask open questions

Avoid closed questions that require a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. Instead ask open questions that encourage people to expand and give longer, more descriptive answers. Open questions often start with ‘How’, ‘What’ or ‘Why’. So you might have a question like ‘How important is it to…?’, ‘What made this a success?’ or ‘Why did you decide to…?’

  1. Memorise your questions

It’s really off-putting for people if you’re always looking down at your notes. Instead, learn your questions.

In the television industry putting the subject at ease when surrounded by lights and cameras is crucial.

  1. Start with easy questions

Invariably, once people start talking about a subject they’re interested in, they start to open up. To help them get to that point, kick off with some easy questions. It’s the equivalent of the early rounds of a quiz show. You begin by asking: “What’s the capital of France?” before you move onto the more complex stuff.

  1. Listen and be ready to go off-script

It sounds obvious, but it’s vital to listen to your interviewee. Don’t just motor along with your pre-prepared questions if someone veers off down an interesting avenue. Let the person expand on the topic if they mention something that’s relevant to the brief.

  1. Get people to look at you

You want your interviewee to look at you, not at the camera. If they persist in looking down the lens, I usually make a joke, like, “Sorry, I know it’s not very nice for you, but please could you look at me when you’re talking?”

During corporate video shoots it is important that the client feels relaxed in their surroundings.

  1. Ask if you’ve missed anything

However much research you’ve done on the subject, your interviewee is bound to know more about it than you. So your last question should be, “Is there anything important we haven’t covered?”

  1. Keep the camera rolling

And don’t turn off the camera when the interview is officially over. I don’t know how many times we’ve captured the highlights of an interview right at the end. People have had a chance to consider the subject and now they’re relaxed. That’s often when they add those few extra comments that really enhance the story.

If you’d like to know more about our services, have a look at the corporate videos in our portfolio or get in touch.

Also, read some of our tips on interviewing children for the Surrey Youth Games and do share your own ideas in the comments section below. How have you tried to put people at ease in corporate videos? What works for you?