Video and audio recordings are quickly becoming the norm with law enforcement interviewing. It’s easy to overlook the obvious (or not so obvious) when equipping an interview recording room. Where is your main source of light? How much ambient noise are you dealing with? Do you have cluttered walls? It’s important to consider these interview room best practices before you ever hit the record button.
Good lighting. Make sure your interview room is well lit. This is exceptionally important to provide a nicely recorded image. You may consider having a second light installed overhead to provide light to the entire room. If you have a floor lamp or window, be sure it is not situated directly behind the interviewee. We even recommend using a window covering to soften the light that comes through. If too much sunlight is shining through, the aperture of the camera will close causing an obscured view of the interviewee.
Reduce background noise. The best interview room has carpet and a drop tile ceiling to reduce noise from bouncing around the room. The noise will absorb into the carpet and the fiberboard material rather than echoing on drywall and tile. This will improve the sound quality of your interview recording. Is your room in the shape of a rectangle? Perfect. Square shaped rooms tend to cause noise to bounce from wall to wall. If you can’t change much about your room, we suggest adding some acoustic paneling to the walls absorbing extra noise and echoing.
Install two cameras. It is great to have two cameras installed per interview room. This way, your recording will include a scene-view and a face-view. Install your overhead camera (scene-view) between 6.5’ and 8’ from the floor. The camera view should include as much of the room as possible capturing the interviewer, interviewee, and door. Special note: do not mount the camera where the view will be blocked when the door is open! Install your face-view camera about 4’ from the floor and directly across from where your interviewee will sit. You will get a close up of facial expressions to include in your interview recording.
Be mindful of microphone placement. This really is the most important thing to consider when setting up your interview room. Good audio is key to any interview. Your microphone should be mounted on the ceiling in the middle of the room or directly over where the interviewee will be sitting. Avoid placing the microphone near HVAC vents. This can cause your audio recording to be completely distorted and ruin your entire interview. Again, any acoustic paneling is also recommended here.
Declutter the walls. It’s not recommended to have a lot of furniture in the room or items on the wall. This can increase your video file size making it harder to export and store. Remove any unnecessary photos, wallpaper, mirrors or busy furniture from the room. Also, when installing a sound proofing material, do not use an eggshell product that is sparkly or has a lot of extra movement. Eliminating these seemingly simple objects from your recording will reduce the file size and allow more storage space to be available.
Always be sure to test your interview room setup. Create a few trial recordings with people in the room talking. You can check to make sure your camera and microphone placement is as desired and adjust if needed. Getting it right can be tricky, but taking the time to consider the basics will really go a long way in getting the perfect recording.
We would love to learn more about your interview recording needs. In the meantime, learn more about CaseCracker interview recording solutions.