celebrity, interview, video

Working with video and celebrities

I interviewed Olympian athlete Sally Gunnell a fortnight ago for Xero, the accounting company – it’s a corporate gig so there’s no surprise in being uncredited and out of vision. Here’s one of the resulting videos:

All good stuff. So I thought it might be worth sharing some insights on working a) on video and b) with celebrities

  1. Even if you’re not going to be in shot, try to look presentable. If it’s not formal there may be no reason for a man to wear a tie, but nobody’s going to be offended by a jacket and shirt.
  2. Prepare a bit and try to find a conversational ice breaker. My brother in law Steve happens to be over in Rio now setting cameras up for the Olympics so in this instance that was easy – as you’ll gather from the pic I’m not all that athletic (been to the gym twice this week already I promise) but it gave us a little common ground.
  3. Treat the camera and audio team well. Xero were fine hosts and constantly made sure Sally and I were offered coffee, water, whatever we wanted. Not all hosts are as accommodating so it’s down to the presenter to keep everyone happy. They’ll notice – and they may be asked sometime whether they can recommend a presenter/interviewer.
  4. Related point: listen to the camera crew. I did a video a while ago in which the (non-celebrity) interviewee was forever telling them how to set up shots and what we should be doing. He won’t be getting interviewed again. Presenters/interviewers are doubly vulnerable to being dropped – let everyone else do their job and work with it.
  5. Ensure in advance that you know what the client wants from the video, and also that the celebrity guest has been briefed.
  6. Before the interview ask the interviewee to pause briefly before every answer. The client may want their quotes isolated so you don’t want your voice speaking over theirs.
  7. Pick the right guest. Sally was flexible, pleasant, well-briefed, focused and utterly professional when it came to the tiny amount of retakes required. She actually suggested a round-up summary for a blog at the end, which added to the overall offering.

Overall a thoroughly pleasant experience and I hope people find the videos useful.

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