How To Cut A Kick-Ass Interview

Video Editors – we are creative problem solvers that sit at the end of the production line with the ultimate responsibility of making sure whatever we are editing looks its best. 

And as a video editor, one of the many skills you will need to perfect is the art of interview cutting. Some interviews can feel drab, with little room for creativity but even the most boring ones have potential with the right editing techniques. 

Here’s how to make the most of your footage!

*NOTE* These are movie-making tips and do not hold the same standards as news editing. If you’re editing a news piece please refer to Journalism’s Code of Ethics.

1. GOOD AUDIO

The audio is unforgiving, at least to the viewer, so save yourself the headache and set yourself up for success. Obviously, if you are not shooting the interview this will be out of your control but I’d highly suggest listening to what was captured before accepting any jobs. We can work magic but we are not miracle workers 🙂

2. AVOID OBVIOUS STATEMENTS

Try to avoid obvious statements or lines such as when they repeat the question in their answer. Instead of using “My favorite thing about this is” use something like “coming together as a community is what makes working here so awesome”. Get creative!

3: THE FRANKENSTEIN METHOD

Using words or syllables from two separate sentences to link a thought together. A movie making secret.

4: “TRIM THE FAT”

Removing any “ums” and any awkward pauses helps move the interview along and feel seamless.

5: UTILIZE BROLL OR MULTIPLE ANGLES

Holding onto a camera angle for too long can get stale and you’ll find your audience losing interest quickly. If you only have one angle to work with try zooming in or get creative with ways to cut between jump cuts.

6: KNOW WHY

Know why you are cutting something out or keeping it in. Does that soundbite add to the story? Take it out if the answer is no.

7: BEST MOMENTS

Are there two people in the interview? Sometimes the reaction shot is more dynamic than what is actually being said on screen.

8: CUT ON AN ACTION

Our job as editors is to make the video appear seamless. One way to achieve this is to cut on an action or gesture. (The viewer watches the beginning of a motion that begins in one shot and follows it as it crosses the edit and finishes in the next shot.)

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