Choosing an interview location can be crucial to the success of your video. I’ve seen a number of videos suffer from just choosing the wrong location to shoot. Here are three things I look for when choosing an interview location.
Is it quiet?
This may seem obvious but it can sometimes get overlooked. Unless you are in a controlled studio environment, you need to be careful about ambient sounds at your location. It can especially get tricky if you are filming in an open office environment but it can be done.
Here are some questions I ask myself when checking an office location for sound.
Is it an open work area?
Does the area get a lot of foot traffic?
Are we near any AC vents?
Are we near any windows?
What’s out those windows? Maybe a busy street or an air conditioning unit for example.
There are definite advantages to shooting in-office, too, so don’t automatically shoot the idea down. Shooting in an open office space and seeing people working in the background can be great because it shows people are hard at work. Which is good! Just make sure the entire office knows what’s going on so you don’t have to repeat interview questions after someone’s cell phone goes off. Make sure those are on silent, even the office landline!
As for AC, there is usually no control over the AC in a large office building so the best thing I can do is just avoid the vents and compressors.
Windows can be great for a video for the view or to let light in but if the window is over Market Street you could be in trouble. I don’t think I’ve shot overlooking Market once without being interrupted by a cop, ambulance, or fire truck is always going by at a crucial moment. A window out to a side street is always better and I’ll always come prepared with extra sound blankets.
Is there depth?
Depth! Depth! Depth!
Depth is your friend! That means you want space between your camera, subject and background. This is too easy to skip in an office environment, especially if it is cramped.
I’ve seen too many terrible videos of someone being interviewed right up against a white office wall. There is no visual interest in the frame. The more depth you can have, the more visual interest in the frame.
Is there sufficient light?
What is the main natural light source? Fluorescent or light from the window?
Typically for myself the natural light is the base and then I add in a little extra to make the subject pop. Fluorescent lights are NOT your friend! They give off non-consistent colors and often flicker. Day light from lots of windows is typically the best to start with.
When I come to shoot in your office, the first thing we are going to do is shut off the fluorescents and find some natural light. It’s always possible to do it without any natural light, but I like the quality of natural.
Remember, video content that you publish should be on par with the quality of your brand and product.
Little things like this may seem silly but they are what separates your videos from the herd. Shooting in a cool office space can work really well for a video, but as with anything, do it the best you can.