How to Record a Video Interview in Eight Steps

In the last few months, I posted several video interviews with authors (e.g., interviews with Todd Burpo, Guy Kawasaki, and Scott Schwertly). Personally, I think this is more interesting for my readers than simply reading a written review. Both have their place, but a video interview provides a unique perspective on the book from the author’s vantage point.

Skype Video Interview Example

Editing a Video Interview from Within iMovie

Initially, I had a difficult time getting used to the lower production quality. These kinds of video interviews are no rival for professionally produced ones. But I think it actually works in this case and adds to the credibility of the author and the message.

In the last few days several bloggers have written to me about my workflow. They’ve asked, “How do you create those videos, especially with the side-by-side presentation inside of Skype?”

Rather than answer these queries individually, I thought I’d write a post on it. While you might not have access to book authors, but you might have access to others that would be of interest to your readers.

For me, video interviews are super easy to do. I can record the video, do the editing, and write the post in an hour or less (not including the time I spend reading the book and writing the questions). It is a very efficient use of my time.

Here are the steps I typically go through:

  1. Schedule the video interview. I ask the author to block 30 minutes for the call. (If everything is working on both ends, we should be done in 15 minutes.) I confirm that they have Skype installed and ask for their Skype username. I then put the call on my calendar and include their Skype username in the notes.
  2. Prepare for the interview. Since I am interviewing authors, this means reading their book. I highlight and mark it as I go. Then, when I’m done, I type out a list of 5–7 questions. I then display these questions in a text editor directly under my webcam.
  3. Send the questions to the author. Some authors prefer to respond live, without preparation. (This is actually my preference when I am interviewed.) Others want to prepare. Regardless, I send the questions with a page reference for the answer next to each question. I want the author to know what I am referencing. I also confirm the call time.
  4. Call the author using Skype. I then use Call Recorder for Skype to actually record the video and audio. My preference settings, accessed from within the Skype Preference panel, are set as follows:

    Call Recorder for Skype Preference Screen

    Notice that I have the Recording Options: Record Video set to “Split Screen.”

  5. Record the video interview. Make sure you are both ready, and then click the record button on Call Recorder. Try to look into the webcam as much as possible, though you’ll be tempted to look at the image of the person you are interviewing. When you are finished, turn the recorder off. The call will be saved in the folder you designated under your preference settings.
  6. Edit the video with your favorite editor. You can use something as simple as QuickTime Pro. I use iMovie. I generally don’t edit anything within the body of the video itself. I simply trim off the beginning (when we are getting setup) and the end. I also insert a video intro and outro at the beginning and the end. I had these professionally created by Duarte Design. I use a simple cross-fade transition between each element.
  7. Upload to your favorite video sharing site. I upload directly to YouTube from within iMovie. You can also upload to Vimeo or even Facebook. I set the video to “Make this movie personal.” I want to double-check it on the YouTube site before going live to the world. (Once I am happy with the meta-data and thumbnail, I flip the settings on YouTube to “Public.”)
  8. Embed a link to the video into your blog. This will vary, depending on your blogging platform and the software you use to access it. I do mine with a code from within MarsEdit, my blogging software. I have the embed code mapped to a single keystroke. I also write a brief post around the video, introducing it, and including the questions I asked the author. I find that this helps draw people into the video itself.

In addition to this, I send a “preview link” of the post to the author before I go live with it. (I do this with WordPress using a plugin called Public Post Preview. This enables me to give a link to them for public preview of a post before it is published.

All in all, this is pretty straight-forward process. It creates some variety in my content delivery and gives my readers a perspective they might not otherwise get.

Question: What additional questions or comments do you have about this process? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/Eroticartlover Grith Stagaard Gough

    I think I have just fallen in love with you Michael. I just recently had the brilliant idea of interviewing artists and wanted to know how to do it and here you are offering the information in such great and simple terms I could kiss you!

    Thank you so much for this post. Really really really helpful.

  • Bweinberg09

    how much did it cost to engage Duarte Design?

  • Kayley Grace

    I have a question that you can perhaps answer. My skype is out of sync and no matter what I do the call with the other person is always out of sync. Do you have any ideas of how to fix this. I am on a windows pc. Would I be better to use a mac?

    Any help is appreciated.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I don’t know. I would make sure you are using the latest version of Skype, then contact their support if it is still out of sync.

  • http://www.sherylsmolkin.com/ Sheryl Smolkin

    Hi Michel,

    Can you give me a link to one of your skype video interviews? I’d like to view one to evaluate the sound and picture quality as I have clients interested in video interviews for their website.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      There are three that are linked in the first sentence of this post. Did you see those?

  • http://mirrorsandwindowsnow.blogspot.com/ Alicha

    Thank you for this! I’ve actually bought a couple of books BECAUSE of your interviews with authors. One example: “Heaven is for Real” by Mr. Burpo. So I’m proof they work!  Thanks again!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/maery Maery Contrary

    Any software recommendations for non-Mac users?

  • Евгения Сагитова

    as for me, i prefer to use this tool to record skype calls http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, i heard a lot of positive opinions about it!) but thanx)

  • Евгения Сагитова

    there is a nice skype calls recorder i always use http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, i do enjoy it!) but thanx for info)

  • http://twitter.com/MissTramTran Tram tran

    This is great, I’m doing some interviews using your tips=), thank you. Can I interview you sometimes?=) btw, do come say hi on my blog at http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com . You are awesome

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lucy-Millan/100002599934027 Lucy Millan

    thanx a
    lot, but as for me, i prefer to use this tool for skype calls recording http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, it’s simple and nice!)

  • http://twitter.com/LisaColonDelay Lisa Colón DeLay

    THANK You, Michael, 

    I was really inspired to try this, especially because of the non static nature of video as opposed to a typical Q & R post that I’ve done with authors recently. 

    So, I’ve launched a series of posts called “NINJA INTERVIEWS” and I’m excited to see the time slots fill up with interesting people to feature. And of course I’d LOVE to interview you, too. I’m google-able if you’d like to reach me for one.

    Here’s A Question:
    I’m wondering if you’ve had trouble with a feedback/echo thing. In my last interview it’s all over the audio, but my interviewee didn’t hear anything on his end, and the volume was the same as I had it in other interviews on my end. It’s almost like it recorded it twice..strange as that sounds. Any ideas?Thank you!

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Hi Lisa. I know your post here is 2 years old, but I’m giving the Skype interview a try now. I’m getting the feedback/echo thing, and can’t figure out what is making that happen. Did you ever figure this problem out?

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        You probably need ear phones, so the sounds doesn’t bleed back through the microphone. I outline the process I use here. This is what I send to those I am interviewing.

        • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

          Thanks so much, Michael. This will help a lot. I didn’t expect a response from a 2-year-old post. I’m still catching up! =)

  • Derek

    Can you share with us the model microphone you are using for your skype calls when you record them.  Phenomenal sound from it.  Thanks in advance!

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  • Jamie Chang

    great insight….
    try a much better approach to video interviewhttp://www.avancert.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eugene-Morello/100002391688690 Eugene Morello

    You may also want to try MX SkypeRecorder
    http://skyperec.com/ which seems quite stable. Well, at least it never let me down unlike other apps. Hope it’ll help.

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  • http://www.RichContent.com Mark Alan Effinger

    Awesome process, Michael.
    In regards to video vs text: I take a tip from Mixergy, and have SpeechPad.com transcribe your interview. So those who desire to read (and for Google’s benefit), you have both written and video pieces.

    That ALSO allows you to apply emphasis as needed. A little bold goes a long way.
    Really exceptional piece. I wasn’t 10 minutes into it when I had my credit card out and was downloading CallRecorder for Skype. Perfect.

    Now – how to go HD with all the tech…
    best,
    ME

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Mark, this tip on SpeechPad look like it is worth it’s weight in gold. I was just looking for someone to transcribe my podcasts. Thank you SOOOOO much!

      • http://www.RichContent.com Mark Alan Effinger

        You bet, Michael. And the quality of transcription is exceptional. I rarely have to do any editing of the dialogue when it arrives. Simply add links, maybe some quoting, and expound on the high points as needed. 

        BTW: I think it’s awesome that you provide your readership with insights on maximizing their reach in the publishing world. Such a key to an author’s success – but sorely missing from most author’s toolkits. Kudos to you for taking the extra step to help facilitate their success. I guess you could call that servant leadership…;-)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Mark. I ordered my first transcript last night. I have them working on my most recent podcast. Ideally, I’d like to post these with the show notes.
          Thanks for your encouragement!

  • rajon

    i do not like
     

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  • Bob Prior

    Thank you so much for this – i haven’t used it yet but it looks  like it is just what I wanted – recording interviews- I am a publisher. One question – how big can I make the video screens or in fact can I adjust the size at all?

    Many thanks once again

    Kind regards

    Bob

    prior@creativecityonline.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      With CallRecorder, the largest size you can make it is 640 x 480.

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  • http://twitter.com/JaneGergel Jane

     there is a nice skype calls recorder i always use http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, i’d recommend it!) but thanx)

  • I Azam

    Great post…thanks.

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  • Avasydney

    Thank you! VERY helpful!

  • mwhite

    I tried to find this answer before, but what about audio? The other person has a bit of an echo that I didn’t hear during recording but at playback I did on his side. Is that something you fixed in iMovie?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know if it is possible to fix in iMovie. You really need to make sure the speaker you are listening with is as low as possible, so your mic doesn’t pick it up—otherwise, you get the echo. You can also use earbuds, which would totally eliminate it too.

  • Kirsten

    Is there a way to do this if you are interviewing two people (ie. have a three-way split?)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Not that I am aware of. Sorry.

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  • http://twitter.com/CyourID Coniqua Abdul-Malik

    Thanks for this. I conducted my first video interview today and the call recorder you suggested worked great. I’m so glad it had the split screen option. Now I have to try and do the iMovie portion and make myself some intro slides. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’ve already done the hard part. ;-) It’s amazing what you can do today with just your computer.

  • http://twitter.com/MatthewGBailey Matthew G. Bailey

    I’m wondering, is it possible to also extract the audio and make a postcast using the same interview?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it is—though I can’t tell you how to do it.

  • http://twitter.com/STYLEandSIN STYLEandSIN

    .

  • http://twitter.com/STYLEandSIN STYLEandSIN

    Thank you so much for this post! I will be doing a video interview via
    skype soon and you really saved my butt so thank you again.

  • Evan Katz, The Anger Guy

    Simple instructions for those like me who insist on making things complicated.  thank you!   

    Evan Katz, M.C.
    The Anger Guy

    • Jim Martin

      So glad you found this helpful, Evan.

  • http://twitter.com/FrJasonWorthley FatherJasonWorthley

    Mike,
    Is there a way to do this with FaceTime for Mac?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Not easily. The only way to do this is to use a screen capture utility and record the entire screen. You could do this with ScreenFlow or even QuickTime on the Mac. However, I can’t vouch for the results. Thanks.

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  • Tex – Thinking Moms’ Revolutio

    I had a lot of echo on the other end of an interview I did using Skype/Ecamm. Any suggestions? Their side of the conversation seemed much louder as well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This often happens because your the other person’s voice is bleeding through the speakers and back into your microphone. This is why I strongly suggest you wear earbuds. If you can, record the call as a multi-track call, so you can split out each side of the conversation and adjust the volume independently.

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  • http://www.SmallGroupChurches.com/ Andrew Mason

    Is there software that is good on-screen recording software that I could use to record a Google Hangout? My google account isn’t my youtube account.

    • http://davehilgendorf.com/ Dave Hilgendorf

      Andrew,
      Did you ever figure this one out? I’m setting up for my first interview and trying to figure out if I have to use Skype or if google Hangouts will work just as well

      • http://www.SmallGroupChurches.com/ Andrew Mason

        Dave, there is screen recording software, but I figured out how to get my YouTube account sync’d with my Google+ account and now I’m doing Google+ Hangouts. They are awesome! They’re very user-friendly and time saving once you figure out how to to set it up.

        • http://davehilgendorf.com/ Dave Hilgendorf

          That sounds great. Can you do split screen as MIchael does? Are you able to easily edit the video once your’e done? Do you then own the video and can do with it what you want? I like the fact that I wouldn’t have to buy software.

          • http://www.SmallGroupChurches.com/ Andrew Mason

            Google switches back and forth between the speakers. Whoever is talking is whoever is shown on the screen (automatically). When you’re broadcasting it, Google records it and as soon as you’re done with the conversation it is uploaded to YouTube. To say it’s an efficient process is an understatement.

            Here is one that I did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oYgWr_BcOU
            My camera was a little fuzzy because of my office’s weak internet connection and there was a little pause in the first 5-10 seconds, other than that it worked great! Once the video is uploaded to your YouTube channel you can also download it back to your hard drive if you want.

        • http://davehilgendorf.com/ Dave Hilgendorf

          Andrew,
          I’m having trouble getting my YouTube account sync’d with my Google+ account. I’ll keep trying to figure it out, but if you have a chance I’d love to chat with you offline about how you did this at a time that’s convenient for you.

          • http://www.SmallGroupChurches.com/ Andrew Mason

            Feel free to message me on Google+ and I can share what I did Dave…

  • http://www.GiveMe10.info/ Laura at Give Me 10

    Michael, this is so helpful — thanks for the step-by-step…

  • http://www.rohtopia.com/ Lisa Rohtopia

    Hi Michael,

    My skype doesnot have split screen, do you use a paid version?

    Thank you!

    Lisa

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is not Skype. It is the paid plugin I mentioned in the post itself: Call Recorder for Skype. Thanks.

  • bzirk

    I’m a little late in finding this but it is a very helpful article. Just starting my interview series.

  • Michael J. Savage

    Hi this was very helpful thank you for writing it. I have bought call recorder and I’m going to do my first interview tomorrow. Can I embed the video into a post on a group page on LinkedIn?

    Thanks

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know if LinkedIn allows that or not.

  • Christie

    Hi Michael, As someone who’s just getting started, it looks like I may have arrived at this party too late. With third-party applications such as Call Recorder now on the chopping block, I’ve started looking into how to record Skype interviews via Screencast. Your thoughts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think Call Recorder is going away. See this article.