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Old February 23rd, 2014, 10:51 AM   #1
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3 person interview

Hi,

I was wondering if someone could tell me how to shoot a three person interview in terms of camera angles and lighting. I've never done 3 people at once.
Any tips?

Thanks
Kathy
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 11:08 AM   #2
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Re: 3 person interview

Depends. is one a moderator and 2 in a panel or are the 3 just going off the hip or is there a 4th off camera asking questions? All that makes a difference. Also how many cameras will you be using and how much lighting gear will you have access to?
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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Re: 3 person interview

I could possibly use 4 cameras BUT I will be shooting this by myself so I would prefer to use as little as possible. I have access to 2 lights. 2 people interviewing the 3rd person. I normally do not like interview type videos where you can hear the questions asked etc. I can convince them not to do it this way though.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: 3 person interview

2 Lights!

You are probably going to need a few more, unless you plan on using diffused natural light as your key.
Here is a corporate short that I shot a while ago (feel free to fast-forward to 1:43, the scene with 3 people). I used 3 lights as though I were interviewing just one person, and tried to set them up as though they were just one person, but you still may be able to see the shortcomings.


Sometimes, for the setup you describe, you can get away with your key-light on the subjects facing one way doubling as a rim-light for your subjects facing the other way, but this is super risky because of how hot the rim can become. In a perfect world, you would have at least three lights for each "group" of people, grouped by relative proximity and which way they face.

Definitely, if you are limited to 2 lights, try to convince the producers to let you have just one person on camera. Good luck!
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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Re: 3 person interview

I could possibly use 4 cameras BUT I will be shooting this by myself so I would prefer to use as little as possible. I have access to 2 lights. 2 people interviewing the 3rd person. I normally do not like interview type videos where you can hear the questions asked etc. I can convince them not to do it this way though.

It sounds to me like itís going to be a news panel style set up but I agree with Finn. One person on camera at a time would be best but if the client says "do it this way"...well hereís one way to do it.

FIRST get 3 chairs preferably all the same. Small arm chairs work well. Put 2 on one side at the same angle and one on the other side at an equal angle.
Donít know how powerful your lights are but since you only have 2 put on to the left and one to the right to light up the talent. Same angle. Use 3 cameras. One is centered for a 3 wide master shot.
One is next to the left light and one next to the right light isoíd on the interviewee and the other isoíd on the interviewers. You could use another camera to have an iso on each interviewer but thatís up to you. If it were me I might want more lighting before the 4th camera. Make sure the lighting is even on all 3. It will of course be flat lighting but itís all you can do with what you have.
Each person has to at least look like their interested in what the other person is talking about so if the iso on the interviewers goes to the interviewee after the question is asked you can cut back to the master to keep people from falling asleep during the answer.
Again, Iíd like more lighting but it can be done. Itís all relative.
Iím sure others will also come in with their ways, pick what you think will work for you and go for it.
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Old February 24th, 2014, 10:17 AM   #6
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Re: 3 person interview

The problem with shooting back and forth capturing both sides of an interview in real-time is blocking. It's difficult to keep the lighting / audio equipment stands out of the various cameras' sight lines.

One way to do this is to boom a china ball out over the middle between the various talent, up so that you get around a 45 degree angle down to the talent. Boom from the camera side and there's almost no way to get the boom stand or the light in the frame. It lights both sides equally. It throws light everywhere (unless you try to control it, which might, or might not, be worth doing), so you can use reflectors to fill in some shadows as desired. And it might help solve the problem of lighting your backgrounds on both sides at the same time.

This method would give you a fair amount of flexibility in camera angles -- let you shoot with cameras off the shoulders of the talent, just out of frame from the camera opposite. Locked down camera set wide for the two interviewers, and the operated camera on the interviewee so you can go wide or close as desired.

Certainly not the only way. But a way with limited lighting.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 07:50 PM   #7
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Re: 3 person interview

Thank you everyone who replied. I had a conversation with the person I will be doing this for and we changed it a bit. We now have two people having a casual conversation. What I kind of like is this but I will not have a luxury of having a sofa etc. this is in academic setting
vimeo.com/42362426

Can I get away with 2 lights and 3 cameras?
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Old February 25th, 2014, 08:03 PM   #8
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Re: 3 person interview

3 cameras, yes.

If 2 lights are really all you can get, I would follow Don's advice and light it flat. It won't look like the example that you posted, though.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 10:48 PM   #9
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Re: 3 person interview

Kathy,
Yes you can and it's sounds like a better alternative. Interviewer and interviewee. Again I would place the chairs facing each other at a 30 to 45 degree angle towards the cameras. One camera and light for each person and it's gonna be flat but better that than lots of gear and not done right. You can certainly get away with the setup, I bet no one other than us would really notice. Besides, I've done set ups like this and while they won't win any awards they accomplish the job and the client is happy.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 11:28 PM   #10
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Re: 3 person interview

2 lights is ENOUGH if you cross-key and they are large enough and diffuse enough.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 07:12 AM   #11
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Re: 3 person interview

Shaun,
thanks for mentioning that. I meant to say that in 2 different posts and forgot both times.

It is hell getting old. I keep forgetting....I don't remember what I was just going to type....

O|O
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Old February 26th, 2014, 01:42 PM   #12
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Re: 3 person interview

Looking at the Vimeo Video I can tell you each person had more than two lights on them not to mention any background lighting. Maybe some of it was natural or room light. Recently did a 3 camera shoot with two people and used only three lights but it was a stretch. It is always nice if you can separate the back or edge lights from the keys and have control of the fill for each person as well. That ends up as six lights without any for the background. Sometimes you can have less fill but it depends on how dramatic you like the lighting or what the ambience of the room is.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 11:23 AM   #13
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Re: 3 person interview

Have you conducted this interview yet and were you satisfied with how it turned out?

Any lessons learned to share?

Also what was your audio plan and was that successful?
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 11:54 AM   #14
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Re: 3 person interview

My last 2-person interview was in a tight hotel room and with little time for setup. I resorted to using two fluorescent case lights as the key for each subject, and two battery powered LED lights as hair lights. If you can spend the extra $200 for portable LED lights, you'll be pleasantly surprised how often they come in handy.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 04:05 PM   #15
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Re: 3 person interview

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
Thank you everyone who replied. I had a conversation with the person I will be doing this for and we changed it a bit. We now have two people having a casual conversation. What I kind of like is this but I will not have a luxury of having a sofa etc. this is in academic setting
vimeo.com/42362426

Can I get away with 2 lights and 3 cameras?
we make work whatever we have and if there are two lights then we produce with two light. a third from the top to create a separation would be great but if we don't have it then be it. You'll get a flat illumination so don't do "experiments" with the camera, shoot the camera "flat" too , you could use the other cameras wide and fixed and close-up with yours, that will work too. Actually that's exactly what I would do if I am alone with two lights.
Good luck
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