Basic Filming Tips

Here you’ll find both general and specific video production guidelines to consider when working on your project.

Much of what the final project looks and feels like will depend on:

  • Your intended audience
  • The style and tone you choose (interviewees guiding you through stories or a narrator presenting the content from beginning to end)
  • The overall audience take-away – the music, interviews done, and style of videography all help deliver your intended message.

Production guidelines that apply to all interviews

  • Remember, when interviewing Seattle Children’s staff members, to leave enough space in your frame for the name that will appear in the lower third portion of the frame.
  • Position interview subjects slightly to the left and/or right of the viewfinder so you can use a variety of interviews in the same story and avoid jump-cuts.
  • Remind interviewees to address all of their answers to you, the interviewer. They should look into your eyes instead of at the camera.
  • Make sure that the microphone or wiring does not appear in any shot to distract attention from the interviewee.
  • Feel free to touch up an interviewee’s hair, tie, and jacket. Invite them to take a quick look in the mirror to check their appearance.
  • Remind interviewees that they “mess up” they can easily start their answers over.
  • Create a list of important questions beforehand. This will help avoid a rambling interview, make it easier to log the video material later and save you lots of time.
  • Encourage interviewees to share something important that you did not ask them. You’ll be surprised how that often leads to new discoveries and a richer interview.

Framing specific to a sit-down interview

  • Make sure the focal point is the person being interviewed, so don’t have anything distracting right behind them. You may position their department/clinic signage to blend discreetly into the frame.
  • Use a non-swivel chair to help control the chance of an interviewee swiveling in their seat because they are nervous.

Framing specific to a (stand-up) interview

  • Make sure your back-drop is in soft focus so that anyone who might walk by in the background won’t be identifiable.
  • Make sure the interviewee is standing with their legs about hip-width apart, their knees slightly bent.
  • Make sure to use medium to medium-wide shots – intersperse head-to-torso shot with head-to-waist shots, so you have some variety to choose from.

B-roll and natural sound

  • Make sure that the video you capture relates to the content discussed in your interview.
  • Make sure to capture video of your interviewee “at work” at their computer, in the lab, working with a patient (the latter requires consent from patient family etc. and a little bit more legwork on your end to protect the patient’s and family’s privacy).
  • Ask your interviewee if they have video that would help tell their story. For example, a surgeon may talk about a unique new tool they’re using in the Operating Room. If they have a video that showcases the tool they are talking about, you may want to incorporate it into your program. Remember, all third party video content you use needs to be identified as such to respect video copyrights.

Many times the sounds help tell the story. So make sure to find those opportunities when you are gathering your b-roll. Sounds of medical machinery, phones ringing and the sound of wheels of a hospital bed moving down the hallway are just a few examples.