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Guidelines for interviews: location and presentation checklist

Room requirements

We appreciate there is no perfect environment but it is worth making you aware of some of the problems that can slow the interview process down. We also appreciate that room space in any sort of organisation is often at a premium. We try to work within the constraints of any situation but we have highlighted some key points below


This is a very important component of the interview process. The basis for selecting the room should be that it is as quiet as possible. To those not used to doing sound recording an environment may seem okay but there are a number of elements that can cause problems. These are listed below:

1. Air conditioning: This can sometimes be quite loud and gives background hum.  Ideally we should be able to switch this off or we avoid conducting interview below the main vents.

2. Wooden or stone floor outside the room where loud footsteps from passers by are picked up.

3. External building noise: Outside the building road works and noisy traffic! Alarms and sirens can slow filming down. If there is a quiet side to building, this is preferable.

4. Elevator/lifts/doors: This is usually not a problem but we should avoid the room being next to elevator or banging doors.

5. Nearby building/construction work. Not something you can control but if you know it is going on perhaps select a quieter location.

Lighting for video recording

In order to record the correct colour the camera has to be white balanced. This is straightforward to do when there is just one source of colour temperature. When there is more than source it can be a little more tricky. So it is always helpful if interior lights can be switched off or there is just one type.

Interior lights have a different colour temperature to daylight.
And interior lights themselves vary between types: so fluorescent, halogen and incandescent all have different colour temperatures. A video camera ideally has to be white balanced to one temperature and then the colours in the recorded picture will look natural. Unbalanced pictures can have a blue, pink or yellow cast!

While  it is okay to have daylight coming through windows it will be helpful again if any interior lights can be switched off (as explained above), as they will be of a different colour temperature to daylight.

2. Room size: Ideally a minimum size of 5 metres by 8 metres and the ability to move furniture around. We appreciate his may not  always be possible and we have filmed in some very tight spaces!!

The first  reason for a minimum depth is to provide separation between subject and background. The space allows for projecting some subtle lighting on a background wall but and at same time avoids having a shadow cast by the subject because they are too close.

A second reason is to allow for good separation between subject and camera. This will allow the background to be thrown slightly of focus, often a subtle and desirable effect.

3. Usually medium to large size meeting rooms will be fine as will offices of senior executives/personnel. It is important though with meeting rooms there is not too much sound bleed through from adjoining meeting rooms. Hotel meeting rooms are also usually fine (but  again do need to check soundproofing with adjacent rooms!

4. Sometimes a themed backdrop will be appropriate – for example, an image from a campaign or internal comms initiative. The main thing to avoid is a busy or messy background that distracts from focusing on what the interviewee has to say.

Dress code

Please avoid wearing the following:

  • Too much black or white (it can be difficult to retain detail in black and white on video)
  • Bright red
  • and fine patterns such as herringbone.

Pale colours for shirts or tops such as blue, pink, green, lilac, grey work fine. For jackets avoid black if possible.

 And finally … relax!

We will put you at ease and make sure your messages come across the way you want them to pretend you are simply talking to one person about the topic. (Avoid reading from a printed script.)

Don't worry! Your video interview or presentation isn't going out live - so you can have several 'goes' at getting it right!

Autocue/teleprompt: If you prefer to use autocue and are writing your own script, try to write as if you were chatting to someone.

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Rob Harris Productions is a trading style of Rob Harris Productions Ltd. Company No: 5761771 VAT No: 410 9696 47. Registered in England and Wales. Registered office: The Studio, 310 King Street, London W6 0RR