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Tips for Choosing a Video Interview Location

video case study production company bay areaOne of the most popular formats for video is €œThe Interview and it's not hard to see why. Video interviews can be relatively cheap and easy to produce, requiring minimal planning and frequently providing real value for the target audience. When selecting a location for your interviews, you should probably first decide if indoors or outdoors makes the most sense, then narrow down specifically where would work best among the options available. To help you evaluate the possibilities for YOUR interviews, let'€™s look at the typical pros and cons of each.

Indoor Locations

Generally speaking, indoor interviews tend to offer more opportunities for control. The trade off is that they can often be boring/ugly and awkward due to space limitations. Let'€™s look at some of the usual suspects.

Studio:
Renting a video production studio is the best way to ensure you have the most control and options for your interview. The trade off is that there is a cost associated with both the location rental as well as the production gear and time needed to make it look the way you want. As a rule of thumb, for studio shoots I'd expect at least $1-3K on top of the base estimate required to shoot elsewhere.

Office building:
For B2B company videos, this is a natural choice. It helps your audience
meet€™ your company and begin to remove €˜barriers to the unknown. It can build trust and boost authenticity. Unlike a studio, it typically doesn'€™t involve additional location costs.

Lobby:
It might make sense to shoot interviews in your lobby. Lobbies tend to be designed to make good first impressions so harnessing that can make sense. You may even have a company logo on the wall. The down side is there may be noise from elevators, doors, foot traffic and conversation noise pollution that makes doing a professional interview almost impossible.

Conference room:
Many office managers will schedule interviews in a conference room, they are easy to book, large in size and they might be ideal. What you might not realize at first is that having open floor space is important for tripods, lights and other production gear. It can also be impossible to move giant conference room tables that have power outlets, projection equipment and phones built in.

Executive Office:
Most professional offices are a little small to fo an interview set up. It is certainly possible but its probably a good idea to generally avoid this option. If the office is especially large or photogenic, it might make more sense.

Specialty Room:
Depending on the subject matter, it might make sense to shoot in a room that's related to the interview topic. For example, if you are interviewing someone about a product, showing the factory where it's made could be ideal. If you are interviewing a software developer, then showing them working in their studio can give a great behind the scenes appeal. It can be tricky getting access to some locations that are dangerous or require union supervision, legal clearance or involve company secrecy.

Home:
There's always home sweet home as well. If the subject matter is consumer focused or home-related, this can work well and help make it more real. Finding the right place can be tricky. For premium locations you might look into renting via a service like AirBnB or paying a location fee of a few hundred dollars to incentivize a reluctant homeowner.

Bar/cafe/restaurant:
Conducting a low-key interview at a cafe can be a great neutral location for certain topics. What goes better with conversation that coffee?! It can also make the interview less formal which may be important for the subject. Plus, a stiff drink can loosen up just about any nervous interviewee. Probably best to avoid interviews while eating unless that’s relevant, can be weird and gross to watch.

Outdoor Locations

Shooting outdoors generally provides less control but, when it does work out, it can be far more engaging than a boring office. Some of the more obvious issues with shooting out of doors are the inability to control weather, light and sound. It's worth noting that some outdoor areas require permits to shoot if using tripods, lighting and such but I rarely get asked for permits if I am on public property, not obstructing pedestrians or streets and/or shooting with small groups. Let's look at a few popular options.

In front of an office:
Shooting in front of your office building might work well to introduce your audience to your company. Most buildings aren’t that interesting but maybe for your business it makes more sense. There can be people leaving/entering as certain times of day that can be disruptive. In my opinion, you'd need a really good reason for this one to feel right.

A park:
Parks are great if you don't have a good reason to shoot somewhere else. They can be photogenic and appealing visually. The trade off is they can be busy, noisy or might not seem like a good fit for some subject matter.

City Sidewalk:
If the street isn't too noisy then €˜man-on-the-street€™ style interviews can provide a lively, informal, and authentic interview feel. These will probably feel less polished but that can be a good thing if the boring talking head is something you are trying to steer well clear of.

Specialty Location:
Finding a topic-specific location can really help bring an interview to life and make it more real or more clear. For example: If your interview subject matter is about how green and sustainable your business is, doing your interviews at a solar panel array or wind farm might be ideal. You can also use the power of metaphor to find a more meaningful, less boring location – as long as it's on brand.

These are just a few of the more frequented locations we typically see. There are surely others and I urge you to spend a little time thinking about how the location can help tell the story for you. Standing out with video is increasingly important and finding an engaging location can only help. Not all of these considerations may be relevant, but as you explore your options be sure to keep these key considertions in mind:

  1. Look and feel
  2. Light conditions
  3. Sound pollution
  4. Size of space
  5. Access
  6. Stakeholders
  7. Parking & Load-in
  8. Power
  9. Wifi
  10. Security
  11. Proximity
  12. Flexibility
  13. Control
  14. Cost

I hope these tips help you evaluate the right interview location for your next project. Good luck!

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