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Old April 24th, 2006, 09:28 PM   #1
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interviews for documentary, their house or mine?

I'm in the process of planning my first documentary to hopefully have it play in local television. For this documentary, I'm going to interview between 5-10 people. For my interviews, I will be using a tripod, lighting kit, backdrop, camera, and a boom pole with a microphone. Am I supposed to bring all this to their house, take about 30 minutes to set it up, and then do the interview? Or, Am I supposed to ask them to drive to my house, where I'll have everything set up, and do the interview?

Thanks,

Ernesto.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:10 AM   #2
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Tough call. I think it depends on what the subject is about. I personally would not do them all at the same location. I would mix it up. Some theirs, some yours, some outdoors someplace quiet. That's just me. I don't think there is a "right" way.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernesto Llano
I'm in the process of planning my first documentary to hopefully have it play in local television. For this documentary, I'm going to interview between 5-10 people. For my interviews, I will be using a tripod, lighting kit, backdrop, camera, and a boom pole with a microphone. Am I supposed to bring all this to their house, take about 30 minutes to set it up, and then do the interview? Or, Am I supposed to ask them to drive to my house, where I'll have everything set up, and do the interview?

Thanks,

Ernesto.
IMHO you generally get a more interesting interview if it's done in the subject's environment - they're more comfortable there, etc, and the audience gets to see them in context

There's a tool professional producers have to aid them in doing all this setup and takedown stuff. It's called "a crew" <grin> An ideal setup for a small documentary like this would be a producer/director/interviewer (that's you) plus a DP to handle camera operation and lighting setup and a sound person to handle, well, sound setup and mixing. Even for a simple interview there's just too much to divide your attention to expect to do it all yourself and not have something fall throught the cracks. There's just no way you can simultaneously monitor camera framing and follow focus, listen to the sound as its being recorded, and conduct the interview all at once. And three pairs of hands is a help in schlepping all the gear.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 07:46 AM   #4
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Always use their house. They will feel more comfortable there, and there are mementos and other things to use as B roll footage.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Always use their house. They will feel more comfortable there, and there are mementos and other things to use as B roll footage.
And you can leave dishes in the sink... ;)
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #6
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Ok... so I have ulterior motives.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:51 PM   #7
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Documentary

Just some advice I learned from working at my TV station, it's always wise to limit the amount of characters in a documentary. You mentioned 10-15...that seems a little high. Of course there are exceptions to everything, but it's really hard for an audience to relate to a lot of people--they might not remember a person if you introduce them once, and them come back to them after you've showed 10 other people. If for example, I'm watching a history documentary, the caracters might be: 1) the historic figure(s) of interest, 2) the narrarator, 3) three to four history professors. I don't know the objective though, so 15 characters might be acceptable.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 02:16 AM   #8
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It depends... are your character THE story? or are they TELLING the story? If they are telling the story, the more people the better. My current doc in production will have over 100 interviews....




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