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Research Guides@Tufts

EE-98 Senior Design

Final Video Assignment

Prep before the interview

What role does this person play in your piece? What is the story you are trying to tell and what is this person contributing?  Are they talking about a specific topic or event? Do you need them to talk about an event in chronological order?  Do you want them to share their reaction to a particular event?


Before recording a conversation or interview with your subject, always make sure to get their consent.  It's good practice to have your subject consent to being recorded on tape.  If you plan to exhibit or broadcast publicly it is also good practice to get a written consent stating the various methods of distribution for the project.

*For more information about consent see the Collaboration section of the Libguide.

Workflow for Zoom interviews

* For additional recording tips see the Recording and Editing Workflow section of this Libguide.

We recommmend recording remote interview using two methods:

  • Asking your subject to record themselves on their phone
  • Record a video or audio interview with Zoom
This method assumes that your subject has access to the internet and two separate devices, a smartphone and either a tablet or home computer.  If your subject only has access to one device, we recommend simply conducting and recording a video or audio interview through Zoom.  If your subject does not have access to the internet we recommend downloading a recording app that can record your phone call live (Android l Apple).  These applications usually require some type of subscription or payment to access the files or enable longer recording times.  
To record your interview via Zoom:  
  1. Instruct your subject to download Zoom on their home computer or tablet.  They can setup a free account with their personal email address. 
  2. Login using your Tufts credentials
  3. Send your subject the link to your Zoom meeting room.  Zoom has a comprehensive set of guides for inviting and joining meeting rooms.  If your subject does not have familiarity with Zoom, guiding them through the process of joining a meeting is a good idea.  
    1. Make sure in Preferences > Recording you select Record a separate audio file for each participant
  4. Record your interview.  When selecting where to save, save the file to your computer.  Simultaneously, ask that your subject commence recording themselves using an audio recording app on their phone (see below).  This will ensure that you have a backup file should the internet connection weaken.
    • If one party has an unstable internet connection, do not share video.  Record audio only.  
    • If you've never recorded a Zoom meeting before test this part of the process with a friend or colleague! 
  1. Every 20 minutes take a break.  Have your subject stop recording on their phone and save and label the file. 
  2. Once you are finished with the interview, stop your Zoom recording.  You can use the resulting mp4 to edit the video and audio files in an editing application or extract the audio if working on an audio project.
  1. Ask your subject to share their audio recordings from their phone with you via email or a cloud based storage app like Dropbox or Googledrive.
Recording on a Smartphone:
You will need to review properly setting up, recording and share audio files with your subject prior to your interview.  
  1. Identify the app your subject has free and easy access to.
  2. Research what settings (see below) they can adjust using that app.
  3. Walk your subject through settings, recording techniques (see below), recording, labeling and sharing process.
    • Test test test!  Have your subject send you a test file so you can make sure their setup is optimal.
  1. Have your subject begin recording at the beginning of your interview.
  2. Take breaks every twenty minutes and have your subject save and label the file.
  3. At the end of the interview, ask your subject to share the audio recordings with you via email or a cloud based storage app like Dropbox or Googledrive.




  • Your location can also help tell your story
  • Try to add layers of depth to the frame through backlight, or using objects/furniture in the space
  • Think about how you place the subject in the frame - having a wide shot can make your subject feel distant while a tighter shot can increase intimacy
  • Think about where your subject is looking while answering questions. Where your interviewer sits matters!



  • Make sure to white balance!
  • Don’t backlight your subject
  • Avoid windows in your frame 
  • Pay attention to what natural light is entering the space and might change over time
  • If it’s possible, move lights around to separate your subject from the background



  • Pay attention to the sound in the space. Don’t record in a room with lots of echo or a noisy AC. 
  • Use a lav mic to get clear audio

Setting the Tone

  •  Let your subject know that you will be directing the conversation
  • Do you want your subject looking in the camera? If not, direct them not to do so. 
  • Who is doing the interview?  Their personality matters.
  • Setup ahead of time and have everything ready so when your subject arrives they don’t feel you rushing around or anxious about equipment not being setup
  • You can interrupt if you need to redirect the conversation but in general let your subject speak to their experience

Asking the Right Questions

  • Ask questions that demand a complete answer
  • Don’t lead with hard questions
  • Don’t rush tough pauses
  • Be brave enough to ask the questions you need to ask but make sure you are sensitive to where your subject is emotionally
  • Try not to react to your subject through sound (mm hmm or yeah).  You can nod or change your facial expression to show attentiveness but you are recording everything and editing out your reactions can be tough
  • Ask if there is anything you’ve missed or they want to share at the end of an interview


Once you are finished recording, name your audio file on your device. Sharing your audio file to a computer will differ based on your phone, operating system,and application. Most applications will allow you to share your files with yourself via email or to an application like Box or Google Drive. Connecting your device to a computer via USB is another way to retrieve these files from your phone. Transfer all your recorded files to a platform that will let you download the individual media files, which you can then open in an editing application.