In Monday's lesson I was picked at random to provide you with some tips for shooting video (no pressure there then). So here are my tips and rules to help you get that perfect interview or shot.


  • Don't record footage near roads (too much noise) or in front of a window, it distorts the picture and makes the person you're interviewing hard to see.
  • The adage with background is: less is more. Focus on the person you're interviewing, not that set of trees behind them.
  • Try to make your interviewee focus on you, not the lens. So make sure they can see your face. This makes the conversation seem more natural and relaxed. They will find it easier to open up and hopefully provide you with a juicy scoop.
  • Sometimes it is a good idea to encourage the person you're interviewing to repeat the question you've asked them in their answer. For example: Interviewer: What is your favourite colour? Interviewee: My favourite colour? Probably red. (please refer to comments below).
  • Encourage people to tell stories, make it interesting.
  • Try not to wobble the camera, keep the shot steady (a piece of advice I could definitely take on board!) This also ties in with the point about focusing the shot on the interviewee. If you zoom in the wobble matters less.
  • And finally, it may seem like common sense, but make sure the sound isn't distorted. If it is, sort it out and start the interview again. If not, try to get some useable footage.

General shooting

  • If you're recording people moving around, get closer to them and try to get plenty of shots from the front. You might think you look like a bit of a stalker but if you get a great shot, who cares? Just don't get a banning order slapped on you.
  • Avoid zooming in and out (again something I have a tendency to do). If you want a close-up, simply move closer.
  • When you've found a shot you like, stick to it for around 10-15 seconds and then move on. Don't stick to one shot for too long.
  • Try to get different views of the same shot, e.g. someone preparing food. Get a shot of their hands, then their face and also from behind. You can then cut this up and create an interesting sequence of footage.
  • Finally: Try to tell a story with the footage you are shooting.

Now it's your turn. Have you got any extra tips for that perfect shot? Leave a comment below and share your expertise.


Adding to what you said about repeating the question in their answer, maybe merge the 2, instead of repeating every single question. In my opinion that could get quite irritating to watch. So as an alternative maybe something like this would be better:

Interviewer: What is you're favourite colour?

Interviewee: If I had to pick a favourite colour, it would be red. 


Top Tip: Don't have the mic mm's from your mouth. Evidently, it sounds rather silly! :) 


Am so going to present the crap out of this!

After the experience of last week i would have to agree with Rob on that one.

Perhaps next time in the tranquil surroundings of the Medway campus we will learn to leave using a mic mm's from our mouths to project the sound, to international correspondents reporting from war zones, and save the ears of our fellow aspiring journalists.

Thanks for the tips Alan, it is always helpful to read over a list of do's and dont's to better prepare you for next time (particularly as my technological knowledge has a lot to be desired for). 

In this module of our course i am progressively learning the epitomy of the true meaning of the phrase 'you learn from your mistakes'.

Good advice.

I suppose one thing I'd say is don't let the subject go off on too much of a tangent with their story telling. I mean, you can obviously edit whatever you don't like of the story you're filming afterwards on Premier, but at the same time it would save you time editing later on if the subject sticks to the questions asked in my opinion. Though go with it if you find something controversial/interesting, e.g. - the subject could be a pie eating champion or if they have an array of rare Siamese cats etc...

Just from experience, they do also start talking interestingly, but they can occasionally clam-up. So just try and write a good pre-set list of questions before you interview, in order to help if the conversation goes dry.

Not sure if that helps...

Just thought I would add a few more tips to Alan's blog...

If putting visuals to music, don't shoot the images and then think about the music afterwards. Instead, decide what you are trying to say with your piece and decide on a piece of music, or various pieces while you are shooting. This will help you save time but also, more importantly, will help you to include shots that you can put to the beat of the music or certain sounds within the track.

Another quick point, decide what you are shooting with that particular shot and commit to it!!!



McGuinness' Magic Video Tips and Tricks