How To Shoot Easy Winning Smartphone Interviews Like A TV Pro – Kit

Feb 10, 2023

This is part one of my guide to shooting smartphone interviews!

If you are out and about and wanting to shoot some great chats or even some quick vox pops content, then my easy-to-follow insider TV tips should keep things simple.

This week, let’s look at your kit.

Hold It Steady…

If you don’t have a tripod, it’s going to be harder to shoot great smartphone interviews. You need to make sure you’re holding your camera steady!

Put it in a U rig or hold it with both hands and have your elbows pressed against your body to stop any shakes. Another option is to try and lean against a wall.

If you are buying a tripod, you don’t need to spend a lot. You want one that has full height with a level bubble on it, so you don’t shoot any chats on a slant!

Use The Available Light

When you’re out and about, it’s unrealistic to set up the perfect lighting, so use the natural light you have to hand.

Plan where you’re going to position your interviewee in advance to catch the natural light available. If you are outside, try and find some shade – it will make your life easier!

If your interviewee is wearing glasses, check you don’t get any of that green glare. You may need to re-angle the chat to improve the glare, or you can ask nicely to take their glasses off.

Make sure you try to keep their head still, as it is often when someone raises their head that you will catch the glare.

Keep Your Eye Level Straight

For the perfect smartphone interview, your phone should be positioned at the eye level of your interviewee.

Bear in mind that you may not be the same height as the person doing the chat, so you may need to crouch down a little or stand on a box. You can also have them sit down so that the eye level is correct.

If you do get your interviewee to sit down, make sure they sit up in their chair and don’t slouch! If possible, sit them on a chair that does not move or swivel around.

Frame Up

Use the grid on your phone’s camera settings and frame your interview up the professional way. Remember to have the interviewee in the left third or right third of your shot.

Take your time to get this right, and do leave some room above their head as well. It’s amazing how often people forget to do this!

Pick A Good Location

The perfect location is a background that is visually interesting but not distracting. And it needs to be quiet, of course!

These perfect locations rarely exist, so the aim is to find somewhere that complements what your interviewee is talking about whilst not taking anything away from their chat.

Do place your interviewee somewhere that allows your viewer to see where you are.

This means viewers are more likely to accept that your sound is not perfect!

If you place your interviewee up against a wall and the viewer can hear a lot of noise but not know where it is coming from, it is much more distracting!

Mic Up

A microphone is essential for smartphone interviews!

If you want a clip on lavalier style for under £15 then our top pick is this Boya BY-M1.

It has a 6ft lead, and you can easily clip this on to your interviewee and stand back to record.

If you have a U rig then the Rode shotgun mic at £39 will screw into the top of this, and you won’t have to worry about attaching a mic to your interviewee.

Both come with wind socs which I would advise you use if you are outside and there is anything more than a hint of a breeze!

Look out for Part 2 next week, where I’ll be sharing my top 5 tips for winning interview content!

Happy shooting everyone!

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