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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:36 PM   #1
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Interview Questions

Hey all,

I will be doing a video my first formal video. It is going to be made up of mostly interviews of people in the school. Being that I've never done a interveiw shoot. So here are a few questions:

How far should the subject be from the camera?

How far should the subject be from the background?

How do I create the "fuzzy" background? (is there a certain distance that there needs to be?)

Should the person being interviewed be facing the camera or a bit off to the side?

On alot of the TLC and discovery shows it seems that the shots are close up shots of the face instead of medium shots...is this the "trend"?

I know that some of these questions are going to be opinionated answers but that will help too.

Thanks so much.

Herschel Kessler
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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:41 PM   #2
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Just shoot it a normal length away from the camera like...3 feet or 4 feet or so. The 'fuzzy' background you are referingto is called Depth Of Feild. Dependingon the camera and the size of the CCD it could be simple or impossible to do.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:45 PM   #3
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I am using a vx2000, I have played around with the focus but never tried with an interview subject....maybe ill use my brother and see how that comes out.

Thanks alot
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Old January 6th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #4
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Herschel,

To get the 'fuzzy' or out-of-focus background is tough to do on a mini-dv camera, as most have a wide DOF.(As Cory mentioned)

Two things can help,- shoot as wide open as possible, and put the camera as far BACK from the subject as possible. This might sound weird, but it will help with the apparent depth of field. You can have the person conducting the interview, sitting close to the subject, (out of frame of course) so the the subject's sight lines are where you want them to be. In some cases, it actually helps if the camera is distant, and the interviewer is close up. The reaction from the subject can be more 'natural' as they forget the camera is there. I find this true with children, and older adults who might be distracted or uncomfortable on camera.

Also, in post, a gaussian blur can be matted around the subject in a soft vignette, to help throw the background out of focus.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 06:59 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Richard Alvarez : Herschel,

Two things can help,- shoot as wide open as possible, and put the camera as far BACK from the subject as possible. -->>>

Can you explain what you mean by wide open? So the farther back the camera is from the subject the better the blur will be? It seems that when I played with the focus, it worked best when one object was really close to the camera and the other object was farther.

Sorry if I'm making this more confusing then it should be.

Herschel
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Old January 6th, 2005, 07:05 PM   #6
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"Wide open" = Wide arpeture. That is, you want the f-stop to be as 'wide' as possible for the lens you are using. That would be the 'smallest' number.

With the camera as physically far as practical from the subject, zoom in to frame for the shot.

It sounds like you might want to brush up on some basic compositional theory, such as the rule of thirds, 'headroom', 'leading' etc. Also, take an entire evening to watch a good selection of "interviews" from documentaries. THe History Channel for instance, or A&E. Pay attention to how the interviews are framed and lit. Learn from the masters.
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