Filming Educational Interviews? 5 Key Points To Bear In Mind

There will be times when you will want to include educational films with simple interviews of a domain expert in your eLearning courses.It is a great way to reduce the cost of introducing videos in your eLearning.

So how should you prepare for that?

I’ve talked about how you should prep your speakers before the filming. What else should you be thinking about? Here are 5 points you shouldn’t forget.

1. Make sure the script is locked down.

The biggest mistake people can make in the preparation phase for an educational interview is assuming that they can wing it. Only a very few people who are used to speaking in public and are good at it can do this. Also speaking while looking into the camera – where there is no one looking back at you and nodding in agreement – can be twice as hard.

If your speakers are technical people – as is often the case with domain experts – they may have little or no experience speaking in public let alone speaking into a camera. You can make their life easier – and yours – by ensuring there is a script written and agreed-to well in advance of the filming.

This will give the speaker enough time to prepare (in front of the mirror if needed) and you will have enough time to ensure that the right pedagogical messages are including in the script.

2. Plan to use ‘B’ footage (it can be your savior)

The footage of your speaker is ‘A’ footage. Anything else you would like to show instead of the speaker but while still hearing the speaker’s voice is ‘B’ footage.

Plan for ‘B’ footage early on. This is another reason to have a well-defined script because you can have enough time to think about what you would like as ‘B’ footage.

In case your speaker mumbles or stumbles or is just a plain dead bore, you can use ‘B’ footage to mask the worst parts of the interview or errors in delivery and still end up with a respectable video.

You should pick the cues for ‘B’ footage from the script. If the speaker is talking about a manufacturing process, show relevant ‘B’ footage from the factory floor. If the speaker is talking about a business process, show an office scene or a meeting as ‘B’ footage. If the speaker is talking about the working of an industrial machine, for ‘B’ footage you can show someone using the machine.

What’s important to remember that ‘B’ footage can not only make your video more interesting but educationally more valuable as well. And in case the filming of the ‘A’ footage does not go as you planned, the ‘B’ footage can save the day.

3. Be ready with a TelePrompTer (but avoid it if you can)

Once you have a locked-down script, how do you make sure you get the speaker to say what you want? The first thing you must try is to see if the speaker will memorize the script and speak in front of the camera from memory while making it sound like he or she is speaking extemporaneously.

The benefit of this approach is that you will get the speaker to stick to your script and yet the performance will not look too scripted.

The risk, of course, is that the speaker does not remember his/her lines and so either makes them up and deviates from the message or has to repeat them over and over again before getting them right resulting in a savage editing session during post-production.

4. Find out early if the speaker is comfortable speaking into the camera

Looking into the lens of the camera and speaking without looking away is not for everyone. It can be nerve racking for many. Find out if your speaker is comfortable with this approach. If not, do a classical interview with the speaker looking at a real person off-camera and answering questions. The answer to each question can be rehearsed and can be its own Shot. Then you put all the shots together and you can have a decent video with a classical interview style.

What you cannot do is have the speaker look into the camera for part of the video and then look off-camera for the remainder. That just looks bad and unprofessional. And is disorienting for the learner.

5. The Educational interview is only a part of the whole – make sure it fits.

Always remember that your educational interview video (in most cases) will fit into a larger eLearning module. So make sure that the script both supports and complements other parts of the eLearning where you may have other films or animations or simply some interactive content.

eLearning videos do not live in isolation. They all fit into a larger whole which is your eLearning course which in turn needs to fit into your Learning strategy. Making the pieces fit together is just as important as is the design and delivery of a single eLearning video.

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