They are the story elements that can take a mediocre story over the top or make a compelling piece forgettable. Great interviews are crucial, but in a deadline driven world you need to get facts and emotion faster than ever. Here are my top 5 ways how:
Spy the TC: This is one of the easiest steps that arguably saves the most time. Next time you set up for an interview sit/stand where you can spot the time code. When you hear a worthy bite, check the TC and write it down. Why spend valuable time logging each sound bite when you can go straight to the good stuff?
Shooting where you can spot TC may result in similar camera framing of interviews. To avoid the interview subject staying on the same side of the screen, use the mirror effect with non-linear editing (make sure words aren’t in background, or else: teg uoy tahw si ereh.) If you’re working tape-to-tape, I respect you. Try getting creative with your framing.
Knock out numbers: Unless numbers are directly pertinent to the person being interviewed or story, save some time by striving for emotional responses on camera. Happy, sad, or just comfortable people will sound better and save you time from going through extra minutes of video. Get facts and figures off camera.
The sound of silence: Yes, this is a Simon and Garfunkel song AND a good way to draw useful responses in interviews. Next time you ask a good question and the person doesn’t give you the response you need…wait. It may seem awkward at first, but when they finish speaking and see you still listening, silence usually prompts another often more conversational response. Most importantly, it beats having to ask another question.
Less is more: Extra, aimless questions take time you can use later. Typical story interviews can usually be broken down into 3-5 questions. Before you even arrive think about the person’s impact in the story and what you need to draw from them. If they give you a great bite in their first response don’t hesitate to stop. You’re there to get information, so do so in a quick, but professional manner.