How to Prepare for an Interview on Camera

So you’re going to be on camera!

Most people feel nervous at the prospect of being interviewed on camera, but if you’re working with an experienced interviewer, there’s no need. It’s our job to make you look good – all you have to do is answer a few questions on topics you probably already know a lot about!

At Unified Cinematic, we film interviews with business owners and their customers, as well as scientists, engineers, public officials, teachers, non-profit directors, and just about any industry you can name. Here are some tips on how to make the process go smoothly for not just you, but everyone on set.

1. Don’t over-prepare!

The temptation for most interviewees is to prepare answers to questions ahead of time. This may seem like a good strategy, but often it comes across poorly on camera. While it’s a good idea to know about the topics before the interview, it sounds terrible to recite back something you memorized ahead of time. If you must, take a few notes that you can glance at between takes to make sure that you’ve covered your talking points, but don’t try to memorize your answers to specific questions. Unless you’re an experienced public speaker, your answers will likely come across as inauthentic.

2. Give thorough answers to questions.

A simple yes or no answer usually won’t suffice unless the interviewer is also on camera, and that’s a rare technique outside of journalism. Include the question in your answer and give broad answers to your topics. Your interviewer may also help you by giving you an idea of how long they’d like you to speak on a particular topic. A 30-second answer and a 3-minute answer are very different, so ask if you’re unsure of what to say.

3. Wear solid colors and non-distracting clothing.

A general rule of thumb is to avoid busy patterns. While this was mostly an issue with older televisions and lower resolution cameras, it’s still a good idea to avoid patterns that may distract or hypnotize viewers. A button-up shirt or blouse, a solid jacket or blazer, or a knit sweater often make good fabric choices and are easy to attach lapel microphones to. Microphones can pick up noise on ruffly or silky fabrics, dangling jewelry, and long hair. If appropriate, tie your hair back and avoid loose or noisy fabrics.

Ask us if you’d like to hire a makeup artist for the shoot and we can arrange that ahead of time.

4. Wear your usual makeup.

If you wear makeup, great! Wear it. If you don’t normally wear makeup, don’t worry about it. We may apply some light powder to reduce shine under the bright lights. We also have makeup artists we can bring along if you want to be sure you look great.

5. Avoid eyeglasses if possible.

Eyeglasses will often reflect the light from our softboxes right back into the camera. If you don’t need to wear glasses, consider going without them or wear contacts on that day.

And lastly… Relax. Grab a drink of water before you sit down. Answer the questions as best you can and we’ll take care of the rest!

Using Format