This is the advice that Econ Films gives to its interviewees for ‘pre-recorded interviews’ – which may help you prepare for your own interviews.
The purpose of your interview is to help you get across your message clearly.
We aren’t trying to catch you out.
The key thing to know about a pre-recorded interview is that you don’t have to give perfectly fluid answers – nobody will be trying to catch you out, and it’s very straightforward to make cuts between different takes to get the best renditions of each answer.
What should I wear?
Something colourful! A nice tie, a bright dress, something that stands out a bit and adds a jolt of colour (but avoid going over the top – it is possible for your clothes to outshine your message). Don’t wear a lot of grey (e.g. a whole jumper).
The most important thing is to avoid thin stripes – these play havoc with how computer monitors process them,.
What happens when I arrive?
We’ll first take a bit of time to adjust the cameras and lighting for your height, skin tone and need to stand or sit. During this, we’ll run through the questions to make sure we understand your key points and advise you on where to stand and where to look – usually, this will be straight into the camera lens.
We might apply some basic make-up to prevent shine (especially if it’s been a warm day).
The final, arguably most important step is setting up the microphone – we will clip a small one to your clothing, near your mouth, and the final thing before we hit record will be to check that this is all working and that we can hear you at the volume you’ll be speaking at.
What kind of answers should I give?
Give your answers as short, self-contained sentences. Your first response to the question should be quite snappy and give the main gist of your answer – once you’ve given this, you can move on with an elaboration. This means you’ve always got a strong, immediately clear response which can be followed up in proper detail (much like this answer!) It also means we have a definite
Keep in mind that you don’t have to reply straight away – you can always take a moment to think through your answer before replying, and you will typically have received the main questions in advance.
The golden rule of video is to be enthusiastic – a junior academic who’s smiling and moving their hands around will almost always sound more engaging than a Nobel Laureate who sounds like they’re falling asleep, and it makes people care more for the research. We’ll help you give as powerful and exciting a “performance” as possible.
What if I make a mistake?
Don’t worry – there will be time to start and stop again. If you don’t feel comfortable with the answer you gave, you’ve always got the chance to retake it.
We will almost always cut between two cameras, which makes it much easier to cut from one to the other in order to “stitch” together the best takes of your answers. This means we can start off again from the beginning of whichever sentence you want to redo.
We may ask you to repeat the occasional answer – this is largely in case of outside interruptions, or if it would make you sound much neater in the editing process.
What happens afterwards?
We completely understand the risks of research being miscommunicated, and that there’s nobody better than the original researcher to tell whether their message comes across clearly. As such, if you request it we will send you the first “content edit” of your video – the lines we’ve taken and arranged in full, but without any graphics, music, subtitles etc.
At this stage, you will be the only person outside of Econ Films to see the video. If there’s anything about the video you’re unhappy with we can always cut it, add in footage from another part of the interview, use a different take or even use text & images to explain it better.
We may have to impose a deadline for feedback, but we will always give at least 24 hours to review a ~2-minute video. Please let us know in advance if your team or employer needs to review the video as well.
We may also ask you for images to help depict your research – a picture can tell a thousand words, be it a cool-looking graph (which we could animate) or photos of field work. Send us whatever you think would make your video stand out more and we’ll try to incorporate that.
In general, the video will ultimately go online – the client will upload it to their YouTube channel, and we will send you a link when it’s uploaded. There may also be a social media version uploaded to Twitter, so let us know if you have an account so that you can be tagged in the tweets!
All in all, you’ll be in safe hands – we’ve worked with many hundreds of economists, with all levels of experience in front of a camera or even with the English language. We’ll help your research reach a wider, less technically-focused audience.
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For more general tips on interviews, read .