This article about how-to make a remote interview is written as a guideline of how to prepare for a remote interview for Architecture Corner. However, most of the advises are valid for anybody who want to to a remote video interview with Skype or Hangouts.

There is a fine line between giving to much advise to a new-bee and not giving enough of advice to make a really professional result. We will also update this guide when we have more experiences or technology changes. 

We have split the article in five sections based on a time-line.

  • Planning of remote interview
  • Before the interview
  • During interview
  • After interview
  • Required equipment

Welcome as a guest to Architecture Corner in the future.    

Planning of remote interview

The purpose with the remote interviews is to give interesting persons a possibility to talk about a subject that they are passionate about and is within the intersection between business and IT. This broad scope spans from business strategy and leadership to software development and technology.

The participants are from two to four persons in two or three locations, with a designated host. 

A typical setup consists of a host, a remote guest and an subject matter expert assisting the host.

The interview could either be recorded via Skype and/or Hangouts or recorded locally. The former case is easier for the guest, but he/she need a good internet connection. If the internet connection have a low bandwidth for upload, i.e. xDSL-type, the the recommendation is to make a local recording and use Skype or Hangouts without recording the call.

Time and location for interview is normally scheduled at least two weeks ahead.

We would like to know if there anything published on this topic before? I.e. newspaper article, tweets, books, blog, videos, papers etc that we would like to have as a starting point for the discussion.

Are there any illustrations, photos or videos that could be incorporated in the edited interview? Is it possible to have this in advance and show on the screen during the interview.

The videos and/or sound recordings will be published on Youtube, Vimeo and/or iTunes under Creative Commons licence by Casimir Artmann and/or Greger Wikstrand.

Before interview

Assure that Skype is working from the premise where you will be. Both that the latest version of Skype is working with an updated operating system and that you internet connection is good enough. Sometimes, it's better to use the mobile broadband instead of hotel wi-fi. Just be aware of your limitations for free data.

Check so your smartphone have at least 8 Gbyte available memory before starting recording. A normal interview will take 4Gbyte in HD-format and it's good to have some marginals.

Check that the microphone is attached to the smartphone correctly and that sound recording works when you are recording video. You may have to adjust some levels.

Position the smartphone on tripod so that your head and torso is within the view.  Position your head so you have more space where you are looking at the laptop screen to than behind you. This is a challenge to get it right if you are alone and you probably need to make several test shots to get it good.

Avoid having a lamp or other direct light in the view as this will fool the automatic exposure in the smartphone.

Adjust curtains and lightning so that you have an even lightning in the room

The interview

There is a limit of 20 minute recordings on smartphones and cameras so we break each shot after 15 minutes and continue recording after stopping the first recording.

If you stumble in a sentence, don't worry. Please rephrase or repeat our last sentence after a few seconds break. Don't stop the recording on your side as we take care of this in edit.

Look into the webcam at the computer where you see the other participants to get a natural shot from your smartphone. 

It is could be hard to speak naturally into a camera without physical person being there. This is why we use a webcam so that you talk to the host, and is recorded from the side.

Wait for your turn, speak only one at a time. Speak in a normal voice, not whispering or shouting as this will be hard to fix afterwards. Nod when you agree and avoid to say any small words when the other person is talking.

We start each shot with a clap to sync the different video and audio sources. 

The host will start to present the guest and topic and then turn to you so you can make a short introduction of yourself. 

In the end of the interview session, the host thanks the guests, the viewers and welcome the to view the next episode.

After the interview

 

Upload your movie with sound as a mov or mp4 file Google drive, Dropbox or similar service. Do not use Windows *.WMA format as we can't edit those files.

The first step is to make an assembly edit to verify that the recordings are usable. We will ingest your files and together with the Skype recording and our locally recorded video sequences. 

The next step is to make an intermediate edit where we cut away parts that have been re-taken and where we select which camera to view when during the interview. Normally, the person talking will be in the frame. 

We may then make additional cuts and add illustrations, photos, videos etc to a final cut. This is also where we add titles, credits and music to the video. This version is shared on Vimeo with all participants. The video is protected by a password.

Finally, we adjust the sound, make color corrections and proof reading before publishing on Vimeo, Youtube and/or iTunes. 

For each video, we have one or two images to illustrate the movie and a descriptive text with  show notes and additional information.

The interview is then promoted via different social media channels.

Required equipment

Minimum equipment for a guest

  • Video capable smartphone, 720p HD as a minimum, e.g. iPhone 5s or better
  • Headset with microphone 
  • Internet connection
  • Tripod with smartphone holder
  • Separate microphone if recording locally
  • Laptop with webcam if recording locally