Before you pick up the camera to shoot your 1-person interview, make sure you have a solid plan of what that videos needs to look like. Check out our article on how to plan a 1-person interview and our handy planning template:
Once your plan for a 1-person interview is ready, it’s time to get filming. Here’s how to set up and direct your interviewee to achieve a professional interview style.
VARIANTS of the 1-person interview
Thought leadership videos
Staff Profile videos
Setting up for a 1-person interview
Here's a great example of a 1-person interview made by Qantas on Shootsta.
Set up the camera and the shot following the 7 steps to film on the Shootsta Kit. For this type of video you won’t need the autocue.
Position your interviewer as close to the camera as you can, either a little to the left or a little to the right of your camera. Your interviewee will be looking at them.
Position your interviewee to look off camera, at your interviewer. The interviewee should never look at the camera as they’re not directly addressing the audience.
2 camera angles set-up
There are two ways to create 2 camera angle look:
Using 2 cameras: If you happen to have two cameras handy, set up your first camera as a mid shot of your interviewee and then the second camera as a close up of your interviewee.
Using 1 camera: If you don’t have two cameras you could record the first question as a mid shot and then move your camera closer and to record the next question in a close-up and so on.
Make sure not to break the 180 Degree Rule. This means that if your first camera is positioned on the left hand side of your interviewee's gaze, keep the second camera angle also on the same side. That way your interviewee will always appear on screen facing the same direction in both shots.
Directing a 1-person interview
For best results, give your interviewee your full attention during the shoot. If you’re filming and directing at the same time, you likely won’t spot both technical issues (e.g. the subject going out of focus) and content issues (e.g. incorrect product name). So partner up to film a 1-person interview by having:
How to ask questions
Here are a some tips on how to get the best answers from your interviewee:
Have a conversation. Keep your interviewee’s answers unscripted and unrehearsed so your interview feels natural and authentic. Just make sure you listen out for the key talking points you planned for.
Guide the answers. Let your interviewee know what you’re looking for. You don’t have to spell out the answer word for word. Instead, guide them in the direction you want them to go, key points you’d like them to touch on, and how long you’d like the answer to be.
Ask open questions. Asking open questions will give your interviewee a chance to expand on the question rather than answering just “yes” or “no”.
e.g. “Did you have a good day?” (Closed)
e.g. “Tell me about your day.” (Open)
Pause before you respond. Make sure you leave a few seconds of silence before you ask the next question, and have your interviewee to wait a few seconds before answering too. This will ensure there is no overlap in voices and leaves the option for questions to be cut out cleanly in editing.
Repeat the question in the answer. Ask your interviewee to repeat the questions in their answer. This way, your viewer has context about what your interviewee is talking about once the questions are cut out in the editing.
e.g. Q: “What is your favourite colour?” - A: “Blue”
e.g. Q:“What is your favourite colour?”- A: “My favourite colour is blue.’