How to Use a Tripod for Great Customer Interviews!

If you're making a video for your website, there are times when you can use a tripod to be what I call your "video production pal." Filming a customer interview or video testimonial is one of those cases.

Let's say you're doing an interview with a customer who is raving about your company's products. Now that would be a nice video to put on your website, right? 

Well, you could stand in front of your customer and hold your video camera while you conduct the interview. There are a few problems with this. First, it's really hard to keep the camera still, operate the camera, focus on your subject and ask questions all at the same time. 

Also, a lot of people freeze up the second you start rolling tape and they have to stare straight into the camera lens. Your customer -- who really has some great things to say about your company -- is now reduced to mumbling, stuttering and blushing. Believe me, even the most outgoing of folks can suffer from camera shyness!

Your Tripod to the Rescue!

A solution to all of these problems is to use a tripod with your camera. Set up your camera on the tripod, have your interview subject (i.e., your customer) stand in front of your camera, frame your subject in your camera's screen and begin taping. Step slightly to either side of the camera and start the interview with a few simple questions.

Your subject will naturally look at you when answering questions. This generally alleviates a lot of your subject's "stage fright" because he or she will be focusing on you and not the dreaded camera. Maintain eye contact and a friendly, conversational tone. Within a few minutes, your subject should be relaxed and you can dive into more specific questions about why he/she adores you and your company. 

Not only will your subject be more comfortable, but so will you. Your trusty tripod is doing the "heavy lifting," holding and stabilizing the shot while you can concentrate on getting the best interview possible from your customer.

Another way to set the shot is to have your subject seated. Lower the camera on the tripod to your subject's eye level. Stand directly behind the camera. Your subject's focus will be on you slightly above the camera lens. 

Before starting the interview, tape 10 seconds of video of you talking to your subject. Replay the video on your video camera screen to make sure your subject looks natural and relaxed. Also, make sure the angle, sound and lighting are all good before starting your interview.

As you can see in this customer interview scenario, your tripod is your silent, hardworking video production pal! By becoming familiar with how to use a tripod -- including the tripod quick release feature Marc discusses in this video -- you really can make videos that stand out above the rest and help promote your business!

Be sure to check out our Planning A Video section for more tips on video pre-production.

Now that you know how to use a tripod for customer interviews, check out other camera tips on Groovy Videos. Or return to Groovy Videos Home Page for more articles.

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