RE: videotaping interviews with SMEs - A checklist

Subject: RE: videotaping interviews with SMEs - A checklist
From: "TEA Lanham, Kevin" <Klanham -at- aus -dot- telusa -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 10:42:32 -0600


Generally no, because we drag all of our recording gear down to the
cleanroom manufacturing floor. We have to get into a cleanroom suit and take
all the equipment through an air shower. Thus the emphasis on having enough
battery power, extension cord, or extra tapes. They do get frustrated easily
if you have to delay everyone while you disrobe, go get something, and put
the suit, booties, goggles, mask, etc. back on again. One rule of the
cleanroom is use the restroom before you get in the suit. It prevents later
delays. :)

The SMEs are already talking about what they know best. There have been a
few times that we had to assure them that our tapes are only for internal
use for the writer, and that it would not be shared beyond that. Sometimes
we have to sign forms to that effect even inside our own company. The
Intellectual Property lawyers are active.

When we can get to trainers in training labs (no cleanroom garb) we have
found that they sometimes are a bit anxious at first, but they get into
their groove and forget about the camera or audio recorder pretty quickly.
The best results are when someone else operates the camera while the writer
engages the SME. Then they hardly even notice the camera is on.

We never get jackets or ties. Mainly jeans. ;)

On trips overseas, we schedule visits ahead of time. Typically a few weeks
early if we can get that much notice. But the schedule never states how
we'll record the interview. For trips across the U.S., we'll tell them by
phone to avoid shocking them.

Normally they're happy to have someone so focused on what they are saying,
so the problems are more mundane like blocking the camera view or mumbling
at low volume.


-----Original Message-----
From: John Posada [mailto:JPosada -at- book -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 10:09 AM
To: 'TEA Lanham, Kevin'; TECHWR-L
Subject: RE: videotaping interviews with SMEs - A checklist

Do you find that if a SME knows that their interview is going to be
videotaped, that they come to the interview prepared differently than if it
is going to be a one-on-one discussion? Do they practice their presentation
ahead of time? Do you give them more lead time from when you contact them to
when it is scheduled? Do they come in that morning with a jacket and tie?

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
jposada -at- book -dot- com
"Be accurate...the 4am wakeup call you prevent could be your manager's"

-----Original Message-----
From: TEA Lanham, Kevin [mailto:Klanham -at- aus -dot- telusa -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 10:59 AM
Subject: RE: videotaping interviews with SMEs - A checklist

We use videotaping of SMEs too. We have not had problems with the
interviewers. In fact some of them appreciate that we are trying to save

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