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Old July 18th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #1
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Interview Backgrounds

I watched enough interior TV interviews (particularly on the History channel) to see that it's probably not possible to find a perfectly lit office or sitting room etc EVERY time an interview of a subject is shot, with that perfectly placed picture, lamp, bowl of flowers etc...

I am sure that the guys shooting the interviews are using a green screen, and keying in a background which is basically a still image of a pre-lit office or room.

I was wondering if anyone knows where to get these background images, if in fact they do exist - or am I just going to have to do my interviews the hard way?


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Old July 18th, 2005, 01:28 PM   #2
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What kind of interviews are you doing, and what is the end medium? If it is for the web, use a solid, non-moving background. It will help during compression. If you go to ebay, you can find backgrounds and stands cheap enough.

If you want an office bg to key in, a decent digital camera should get you a good enough image, and you can choose the setting.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #3
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I doubt you are seeing green screen stuff for interviews, that makes lighting much harder. Get yourself a cheap background support, go to Target and buy some fun shower curtains. Throw some colored gels in front of a small light behind the shower curtain.... VOILA... great looking backgrounds on the cheap.

ash =o)
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Old July 18th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #4
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I assure you they aren't keying in the backgrounds. Shows that make it onto the History channel really are that well produced. They spend a considerable amount of time just setting up each of those interviews and the interviews are conducted with a crew of broadcast professionals. And that's why they're professionals, becuase they can set up interviews like that every single time. They re-arrange the setting as needed and they know how to properly utilize a light kit. Look again because they really are that good.

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Old July 19th, 2005, 08:22 AM   #5
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i shoot a lot of "talking head" interviews. i usually devote some serious time to scouting out the right "office" location. it often means that someone has to "lend" their colleague their office for an hour or two. one major thing i always look for is a "background" (be it bookshelves or whatever,) that is several feet behind the subject, so i can get a shallow depth of field. and i'm not shy about re-arranging plants, statues, whatever. and when i can i turn off whatever hvac system they have running. usually, when they see the results, they realize that it's worth the minor inconvenience.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 05:39 PM   #6
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I agree with Nate. It takes time and effort to set up a professional interview and I doubt green screens are used much of the time for interviews such as those on the History channel.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #7
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Yeah, definately spend the time setting up the shot. That's most of the work of shooting an interview.

I'm constantly brought shots that I cannot use because nothing was done in setup - no lighting - backgrounds that look like storage rooms.
I bang my head against the desk whenever I get handed a tape along with a comment like: 'this should be good, I spent a good 15 minutes setting it up'

Green/blue screens have their place, but for those nice settings you see on history / discovery / nat geo , they are definately planned and execute with great effort.
Don't be scared to add some of your own props - it can make a nice difference.
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