10 tips for Skype radio, TV or online interviews

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Here’s our 10 tips for Skype radio, TV or online interviews. This short guide will help you with many of the common issues and help you get the most from your recording session.

As a broadcast producer we want to record your interview in the best quality we can so we’ve put together a few tips, some are applicable to both Radio and Video others just Video. The BBC have also created a helpful video about using Skype.

A couple of general points first; The interview will be about 5 – 10 minutes long and all being well the whole recording session will take less than 30 minutes. You will have already been sent an email with our studio’s Skype account details. If you’ve not already done so, please send us a Skype Contact Request so we can accept you into our address book.

1.    (Radio/Video) Before your interview log in to Skype and make sure your system is fully working. It’s amazing how many people forget their password or assume because Skype worked last time, it will this.

2.    (Radio/Video) If you have any issues then updating to the latest version of Skype usually solves many of the problems. You can download the latest version of Skype here. Check your connections webcam / microphone by making a test call to the Skype ‘Echo / Sound Test Service’ in your contacts.

3.    (Radio/Video) Because the quality and connection speed of smart phones varies, we prefer you to use a modern PC or laptop on a dedicated broadband connection. However, we have seen excellent results using Smart phones on WiFi and 4G connections. If this is your only option please let us know.

4.    (Radio/Video) It’s advisable for you to connect by an Ethernet cable to your broadband or have a strong and reliable WiFi connection.

5.    (Radio/Video) Ask other people using your network not to transfer large files or use online radio or video streaming services like Spotify or YouTube while you’re on the Skype call with us.

6.    (Radio/Video) Always use a headset and microphone. This can either be the standard set which came with your mobile device or tablet. If you’re using a laptop, you may need to obtain a combined USB headphone and microphone. For video make sure the lead is long enough so the whole of your head and shoulders are in the frame on the webcam.

7.    (Video) For composition we would like you in the centre of the frame, but to give the picture some context, it helps having something behind you like a bookcase or shelves. Don’t have a window behind you though as this will put you in silhouette. If in doubt just keep it simple.

8.    (Video) Webcams are not very sensitive in low light, so make sure the room is well lit and your face is illuminated more than the background. If you’re using a smart phone, the front facing camera (on the same side as your screen) is often not as good quality as the back facing camera. Using the back facing camera is better although it will take a little experimenting to get the right framing.

9.    (Radio/Video) You will need to be in a quiet area. Switch off your phone and ask people in adjacent rooms to be quiet.

10.   (Radio/Video) Don’t forget to smile and enjoy yourself!

Skype is excellent at making sure the connection is maintained, but to get the required audio and video quality that connection requires enough bandwidth. For Audio you will need about 200Kbps upload speed and for Video you need between 500Kbps – 1.5Mbps upload speed. You can check your upload speed here; It’s the second ‘upload’ result of the two tests which is important. In an some office environments these speeds can be challenging maintain. If you have difficulty connection check that your IT department hasn’t block streaming services.

If you are in doubt about your Skype setup then contact us to run a test with you a day or so before your interview.

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