March 31, 2020 KahnMedia

Remote Interviews 101: Do’s and Don’ts

With coronavirus forcing social distancing, TV news reporters are now conducting all “on-camera” interviews using video calling services such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout or FaceTime. While you might already be an expert on the subject matter, we recommend following these guidelines to make sure the technical and visual sides of the interview goes smoothly. 

Familiarize yourself with the software

Whether it be Zoom, Skype or Google Hangout, try out the software or web application well before your interview. Do a dry run with family or friends to learn how it works.

These programs typically require you to set up an account in order to participate. If you don’t already have an account, create one and keep that account information handy, such as your username. The reporter will need it to schedule the interview. 

Check audio quality and picture quality ahead of interview

What you say matters, and audio quality is key. It’s always a good idea to test the signal/connection prior to the interview. We recommend using earbuds with a microphone throughout the interview so you can hear the reporter clearly. 

Also, turn off your computer/phone’s speakers on during the interview to avoid a delayed echo.

Remember to speak clearly, and to take occasional pauses. Take a second or two to ensure the reporter has finished speaking before answering or contributing.

Just like audio quality, picture quality is equally as important. The quality will depend on your Wi-Fi speeds or internet connection. Test this out ahead of time. 

Use a clean background and good lighting

Find a quiet space to do the interview. Keep in mind that what’s behind you will be in the shot so it’s best to find a neutral background with minimal objects and good lighting. Test this out ahead of time to make sure the background is not distracting and the lighting shows your face with minimal shadows.

Also, be mindful of audio or visual distractions such as children, pets, lawnmowers, Amazon delivery drivers and so forth. 

Look the part

Although you are doing the interview in the comfort of your home, dress the part. This is still a professional interview and your attire should reflect that. 

You may be wondering where to look throughout the interview. Avoid looking at the face of the interviewer on the screen. Concentrate on looking directly at the computer’s camera (typically at the top of your monitor) throughout the interview. 

Live vs. recorded interviews

Ask the reporter if the interview will live or recorded for a future broadcast. That way you know whether it will be possible for mistakes or stumbles to be edited out of the interview. Regardless of live or recorded, do your best to give clear, concise responses with a few “ums” and other verbal distractions as possible.