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3 tips when shooting video with someone who is nervous

There is a mysterious connection between shoots and people getting sick or having a super important meeting just prior. And if you get hold of your interviewee, it is common for him or her to get nervous. What can you do?

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1. Don't start over

Even if the person gets stuck, gets a sore throat, can't look in the right place, whatever it is: make sure you don't start over every time they can't continue. Once you have worked through the entire script or all the questions, much of the nervousness is usually gone. You let the person fail and he or she realizes that it wasn't that big of a deal and then you do everything once more and it usually goes 10 times better.

2. We're testing the sound

Say you're gonna test the sound without recording - and record everything, or as much as possible. People don't know if you usually test shoot everything before you start filming.

When people think you're not rolling they're usually a lot less nervous. Have you gone through everything and still feel that the person could not really deliver: keep rolling and ask some variants of the questions as if you are just talking. That's when you usually get the absolute best answers.

3. Don't just think about the image

The person can read the script, divide the answers to the questions into short segments without looking at the camera or the interviewer.
If the video is gonna have cutaways, you don't really need to cut to the interview. It's easy to forget when you are fully focused on the interview.

Nervousness can be tricky and it comes in many forms. Hopefully these tips can help you a bit!

Kim Sandberg

Cinematographer and editor