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Old April 5th, 2004, 09:18 PM   #1
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best way to shoot an interview?

just wondering about the most optimum way to shoot an interview.

I am doing a short documentary a portion of which will require about a half dozen interviews. I can't decide what would be the best way to shoot.

Just the talent on camera. Or the talent and an interviewer both on camera. If I shoot with the interviewer on camera, who will be college students by the way I worry about them fumbling the questions or using lots of "you knows" or "like" or just plain being nervous. I would rather have the students ask the questions un-mic'ed and then have the talent answer their question by including the question in their answer.

Anyway what are the best ways to go about this? There will be about a dozen questions. Need some advice. What's the best strategy for this type interview?
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Old April 5th, 2004, 09:31 PM   #2
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Hello,

For me the best way is to use 3 point lighting..on the person being interviewed.. And I like to set the camera so it is looking at the person being interviewed on a 45 degree angle..I do not care for the person to be looking directly into the camera(straight on)..And I like to place the person who is aksing the questions to sit directly across from the interviewee..And have the one asking the questions, to make it like they are just having a converstaion with each other.. the camera is just there eavesdropping (if you will).. For me this takes pressure off and keeps it more real..If the person is real paranoid about talking with a camera pointed at them.. maybe place a piece of masking tape over the red record led.. so they are not aware of when the camera is on..

Of course good audio is very important particularrly if the interviewr voice is to be heard..

Hope that helps..

Mike
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Old April 5th, 2004, 10:07 PM   #3
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What Mike said. But if any of the interview segments carry on for an extended period, I would break up the shots. And when I edited it, I might have their dialogue layered through to the next cut - leading into the next cut.

Of course, you could also try making your own Interrotron!

http://errolmorris.com/conversations.php
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Old April 6th, 2004, 08:28 AM   #4
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There is some very helpful illustrative material available for interview and other lighting situations. I've discussed some and linked to downloads in the first entry (currently) at http://www.contentshop.tv/coming.htm
With this help I've been practising interview lighting using a worklight (500W) into a 42" umbrella, with a reflector set to light the fill side and an incandescent fixture (aluminium can and light bulb) on the back wall. Not pro equipment but it sure beats turning on the room lights!
Another tip I've picked up is to match the mood of lighting with other content, if the interview is a part of a larger project. For example, well illuminated 3-point lighting is out of place in a darkly atmospheric piece, such as a documentary on caving or night-clubbing. In one of Ken Burns's DVDs there's a beautiful interview of him lit with only one soft box above and straight on. The rest of the room is very dark, and a second camera shooting from the side uses the same light.

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Old April 6th, 2004, 02:01 PM   #5
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Re: best way to shoot an interview?

<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Richard : just wondering about the most optimum way to shoot an interview.

<snip>

Just the talent on camera. Or the talent and an interviewer both on camera. If I shoot with the interviewer on camera, who will be college students by the way I worry about them fumbling the questions or using lots of "you knows" or "like" or just plain being nervous. I would rather have the students ask the questions un-mic'ed and then have the talent answer their question by including the question in their answer.

<snip>
-->>>

Whether or not to show the interviewer depends a bit on the look you're going for. I shoot interviews all the time and never see or hear the interviewer. For me, nobody cares who the interviewer is, they've clicked to learn more about the talent. I am usually editing a 45 minute interview down to 2-4 3 minute clips and I find I have greater flexibility if I'm not relying on the interviewer to pose the question.

However if you were doing a magazine sort of thing where people were looking to see who the interviewer got to talk to this time you may choose differently.

-Kris
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Old April 6th, 2004, 02:55 PM   #6
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Interviewing is an art. Using "college kids" means you will have problems if they haven't done this before. Nothing kills your interview quicker than a question that goes on way too long, only to be answered with a "Yes," by your subject. Also, beware of the inexperienced interviewer who feels the need to constantly respond to the subject's remarks with "Um-hum," and other interruptions during the interview. This will kill you in editing. Unless you have Leslie Stahl, your audience won't be interested in who is asking the questions, so why put them on camera?

Remember: If it was easy, they'd get a relative to do it.
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