May 20, 2021

How to Record Remote Interviews: 6 Tips and Tricks for Success

recording remote interviewsFor many of our clients who want to produce video content with customers or stakeholders, geography can pose a big challenge and they'll need to record remote interviews. With tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and WebEx, it's easy to connect with people almost anywhere in the world, but how do you make it look professional and less like a zoom recording?

We recently produced a series of 13 remote interviews for Club15 (A part of Microsoft's Project 15). These interviews were conducted with animal conservation experts and technologists from all over the world. We've put together some quick tips and the logistics of setting up a remote video interview, interviewing your subject, and post-production editing for maximum impact. The information below is designed so that anyone, regardless of equipment, can pull off a quality look for their project. If you want some wow factor on a production with a major budget for remote interviews, check out the remote production setup for the Emmys!

Tips to successfully record remote interviews

1) Find an appropriate location - This could be their home office, living room, or even a quiet coffee shop or library if needed. The key here is to sit them in a brightly lit room, ideally near a window. The interviewee should sit in a place with as few objects behind them as possible to give a clean and non-distracting background.

2) Make sure all participants have access to internet with high enough bandwidth to handle the video stream - Use a wired connection if possible.

3) Check that each participant has their own camera set up properly before starting recording.

  • Lighting is critical. If natural light is not available, use a lamp or desk lamp to provide soft and even lighting across the area being filmed. They might even be able to point the light at a white wall close to your guest to create a bigger light source. It may be helpful to have them turn off any automatic adjustments for low-light or backlighting in their camera settings.
  • Camera angles and framing are important. For example, if you are interviewing someone who is sitting in a chair it may be appropriate to raise the camera angle slightly so that it's not pointing up their nose.
  • Audio levels (mic placement, sound check) - double check that everything sounds normal and that their audio isn't peaking. Listen for distracting background noises or software noise reduction that could cause distortions.

4) If you have the budget, consider the option of sending your interviewee a production kit to record remote interviews with a light panel, microphone, and a quality web cam. Many computers only have low-quality 720p (or lower) webcams. See our recommendations below for a quality HD Camera option.

Here are a few options that can really bump up your quality: (We may receive a small commission if you purchase these items through the links below. We only recommend items we believe in!)

5) Use software that will allow you to record independent video feeds for editing later. This way you'll be able to edit between all your guests without relying on the automatic feed switching in your video software. We try to avoid Zoom since their recording resolution is only 360p. If you have fast internet, VMIX Calls is a great tool for this

6) Prepare your guest for how your interview format will run. We tell our interviewees that they can always start over or go back to the top of a thought if they stumble or feel like they're off track.

Trying to record remote interviews can be difficult, especially when your guest isn't tech savvy, but with these few simple tricks and tips you can make your content look great. If you have questions, we are here to help! Contact us if you have questions about getting started recording remote interviews or need some advice on what equipment would work best for you. We're also here to leverage our team's expertise to take on your next remote interview recording project!

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