November 19, 2010 \ Geoff Birmingham
How many people should be interviewed on camera?

Here’s a lively subject of conversation that we often have with clients: how many people get to be on camera?

Okay.  I get it.  It’s important to give everyone his or her “air time.”  I’m sympathetic to that – you want everyone to feel important and no one slighted.  So there is definitely some diplomacy that sometimes has to be undertaken if certain people get invited to participate and others don’t.

But also keep in mind the end objective here.  And that’s to produce an absolutely dynamite piece of video that is going to engage your audience.  Talking heads have their place, for sure, in a video, but not too many of them.  One of the greatest values with video is seeing stuff.  If you spend all your time talking to people, there’s less time to show your audience what you’re all about.

Now this won’t apply to every situation, of course.  In some cases, the sole point is to capture, say, a series of customer testimonials on video.  Nothing more.  And that’s fine.  But let’s say you are a college or university creating an admissions video or capital campaign video, it’s an absolute must that you capture some of the life within your community.

It’s not a hard and fast rule, but we tend to tell clients that at least half the time filming should be spent with the camera capturing what’s happening in their organization and the other half talking to people about it.  It’s the images of what’s happening that is going to give the video life and illustrate the ideas that the interviewees talk about.