In an earlier post, we discussed what vox pop interviews are and how they can help you put a human face on your organisation, as well as how they can help create a connection and raise awareness of a topic.
However, now that you’ve wrapped your head around what a vox pop is and you think that doing one or two of these videos might be an advantage for your business, now what? How do you actually go about making a vox pop video to add to your website or social media feed?
There’s more to creating a good vox pop video than just bowling up to people with a camera and asking them questions. Here at DCS, we’ll help you through the process, but here’s a few things that have to be borne in mind when you make them.
- Get your release forms ready. Did you know that you’re not really supposed to post videos of total strangers online without their permission? Anyone who appears in your online videos has to sign a release form in which they give their consent for you to use the footage they appear in. In fact, you have to do this for every online video that you make, not just vox pops. Ok, if you’re filming out of doors and someone photo-bombs you, you don’t have to get their permission… although you might want to do a re-take. With a vox pop, you will need to interview a lot of people to get enough material to make your point, so you will need tons of release forms printed out ready to go. Get them to sign the release form at the end of the interview. This is because someone who was happy enough to answer your questions at the start of the process might feel silly, awkward or uncomfortable come the end of the interview – and you’ve got to be careful that you don’t take advantage of people or use footage they appear in without their permission.
- Be considerate. It takes time to do a vox pop and a lot of people are pushed for time. Pick your potential interviewees with care. If someone looks hassled, hurried or busy, then they are probably not good candidates. However, someone who’s waiting for a bus (but not if the bus is bearing down on you!), idly staring in the shop windows or is sitting on a park bench sipping a coffee might be a good candidate. The businessperson walking fast and talking intently on their mobile, the mother with toddlers in tow and the jogger wearing headphones probably aren’t the best choices. The girlfriends having a chat, the person walking the dog in the park and the skateboarder might be worth asking.
- Don’t waste people’s time. This means that the camera operator has to have everything set right for the light and the focus, and the sound person has to have the level roughly right so you don’t waste people’s time fiddling around with lenses or doing sound checks.
- Be friendly. Everybody you interact with is going to be left with an impression of you, your brand and your company. This doesn’t just include the people who will be watching your online video. It also includes the people you’re talking to. What sort of impression do you want to leave people with?
- Be prepared for people to say no. A lot of people might not be willing for their images or opinions to be shared online. You never know if someone’s a school teacher who doesn’t want their ignorance of a certain topic to be put out there where their pupils can see it – or if someone has told the boss that they’re at home sick but they’re actually having a day out on the town! Or they just might not be interested. If anyone declines to answer, then just smile nicely and move on. If you’re a non-governmental organisation such as an environmental organisation or if you support some similar charitable cause, it might be a good idea to have a pamphlet or flyer to hand the people who decline – and encourage them to visit your website to see the video that you finally end up making.
- Be prepared to prompt people. Sometimes, if people are asked a question out of the blue, they might struggle to find an answer (haven’t we all been there at some point?) This means that you might have to give an example to clarify your question. One little tip for encouraging people to give more than a one-word answer is to use the “smile and nod” technique. Here, you smile and nod (obviously!) and say something like “Yeah?”, which may lead your interviewee to keep on talking and give more details.
- Use a wind stopper over your microphone. This is a technical issue that is something that we’ll take care of if you want DCS to help you make good vox pop videos for your website. You never know when the breeze is going to start blowing, making it difficult to get good sound quality. This is one reason why DIY vox pops often fail and don’t get the shares online that they could get (meaning vox pop videos made by amateurs trying to do it themselves with basic equipment like just a mobile phone or a webcam, not vox pops on the topic of home improvement or DIY – there’s nothing wrong at all with those!).
- Pick a selection of people to interview. This means that you don’t just select the old ladies walking in the park or the teenage boys at the fast food outlet or the parents at the netball match. In many cases, you want to get as wide a selection as possible, especially when it comes to issues that affect everybody. However, in some special cases, you may want to interview just older people or just younger people, if this is what you want to focus on. For example, if you’re doing a vox pop for a political party, then you may want to get the views of young people on a particular topic.
- Pause now and then. It’s an acknowledged psychological fact that people are uncomfortable with silence, especially when talking with a stranger, so if you pause (especially if backed up with the nod and smile, plus encouraging raised eyebrows), you open up the chance for your interviewee to come up with a bit more detail or material.
- Have fun! If you enjoy yourself and keep things light-hearted (even if you’re making the video to introduce a tough topic), then this will encourage your interviews to open up, relate well to you and agree to releasing the footage. What’s more, it also helps make you approachable and warm in your video for your viewers – which is just what you want from an online video!