More and more companies are looking for juicy SEO payback by persuading execs or clients to go in front of the camera and posting the results up on the web. 

But although video interviews can be a quick win, getting them right can be more difficult than you would think. We asked for a few pointers from James Smart, who makes corporate videos for ChannelAdvisor, Honda Racing and KPMG, among others.

Make sure the location is well lit, either by natural or artificial light. But watch out for reflections. Draw the blinds if necessary.

Graphics / composition
Offices are generally dull places. So if you are filming a talking head, focus in more closely or consider adding some text and graphics during the editing process to liven things up. Include messages, buzzwords or stats.

Remember that the interviewee doesn’t have to be in the picture all the time, even if they are your boss. Check for dodgy stains on their clothing.

If you’re the one in the hotseat, take some time out beforehand to rehearse what you are going to say. Don’t do a John McCain. Memorise certain points and if it helps, break up the filming between each answer (not during them though).

Not everyone is a natural so don’t worry if you have to have several takes. Speak slowly and concisely.

Interviewee selection
Pick someone who’s knowledgeable, a good speaker and err towards people without a strong accent.

Get the interviewee to look into the camera, or if that’s uncomfortable, situate someone just next to the camera and get the speaker to focus on them.

Background music
Music can be a good way to make the interview flow, but make sure the tracks you use are royalty free. There are a couple of sites worth checking out. Perhaps the best known in the industry is, but there are others like For a 'free' sample music pack from visit

If you want a unique piece of music that no one else has, then it's a great idea to work with a composer. James works with Mark Adair.

Anything up to 8 minutes is good. Any longer is probably overdoing it, especially if you're talking about metatags.

YouTube’s file size limit is a hindrance, but still try and upload your videos in the best quality you can.

Use common sense when choosing a location. Before you start filming, check the background thoroughly for reflections and other potential distractions.

Listen out during the interview for noises like doors creaking or closing, or echoes. If you hear something, don’t just continue – redo it. And make sure you check the video before you upload it.

Any more tips or potential pitfalls? Let us know.


Published 8 April, 2008 by Richard Maven

529 more posts from this author

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Comments (3)


royalty free music

Hey, some great tips above. I just wanted to point out a slight error in your music part though, you say that you should use non copyrighted music, I think you mean to say royalty free music? non of the music you listed is actually 'copyright free' if you read their license agreements, there is very little music where the composer actually gives up the copyright. If you need 100% royalty free music you should check out Thanks

over 10 years ago


Richard Maven, Writer at Econsultancy

Yes, you're right. Have made the change - thanks for pointing that out.

over 10 years ago


Stuart Sweetow

Good article. I would add to decide in advance if you want the interviewee looking at the camera or at the interviewer. Looking at the camera means that the person is talking directly to your audience, probably trying to convince them of someting. When the on-camera person is looking to the side at an interviewer (or virtual one), it is a more common documentary-style approach; the viewer then is listening to a conversation.

Stu Sweetow
Audio Visual Consultants

almost 10 years ago

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