These are basic rules for shooting your camera on ‘auto’ mode. If you have more training, you can break some of these rules.


Choose an attractive clutter-free background for your interview. Take a moment to look around. Tidy the space up. Move your model if you need to, keeping in mind both the background and the lighting. Frame the interview using the rules of thirds: imagine a grid consisting of three slices horizontally and three slices vertically. The subject’s eyes should intersect the top line, and their forehead should intersect the one-third line on either the left or the right.



Turn on all the lights in an indoor space and do not shoot facing into a window. That will result in a silhouette. Instead, have your subject face the window and have your back to the window. If outdoors, it’s best to move your subject into the shadows if it’s a bright day. If it’s a cloudy day, the world is your oyster. Low light is not ideal for most lower-end cameras. Try to avoid shooting at night or in dark spaces if you can.


Do not zoom while shooting unless you are skilled at operating a camera.


It’s best to use a tripod while shooting interviews. For other shots if you don’t have a tripod, you can use your body to stabilize yourself. Lock your elbows to your sides and lean against a wall or a tree.


Focus on the eyes of the subject. This is something that cannot be fixed in post production, so get it right the first time.

White balance

If your camera has the functionality, ensure that it’s set to the appropriate lighting conditions. Some options are “shade”, “sunny”, “flourescent” and “incandescent”.


If you have access to a microphone, please use it. Audio is very important in video. Lapel microphones are best for interviews. Ensure you choose a quiet spot for your interview.


Shoot some b-roll (illustrative footage) of your subject doing research, reading a book, walking through campus. Anything that will illustrate your story. You can add this footage in later overtop of their voice. Shoot 10 seconds minimum of each shot.