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Old September 7th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #1
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Interviews in bad locations

My current project is on the subject of abortion. Most of the interviews have taken place in empty banquet rooms of hotels, office buildings, etc . . . blank walls, air conditioning noise, etc. Most of the locations have been just awful . . . I will eventually plug lots of B roll footage into the finished product. This is a 6 minute preview of a 2 hour video documentary.

Life After Abortion_HD on Vimeo
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Old September 11th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #2
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Hey Brian,
Interviews can be tough, especially when there are challenging locations to work with. Let me (us) know if you want some constructive feedback on these shots as their seems to be a range here of consistency to the look.

Thanks,
Benjamin
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Old September 11th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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One thing I have learn't is that if you have to do interviews in bad locations, make the bad location part of the video. Show it in context. A bad location visually is usually okay if you can make up for it with good sound. However recently I have been given some REALLY bad locations to get headshots.

One in particular, no matter my requests early on, and no matter what I asked, what I got was a Yurt. It was raining. Hard. And the local helicopter rescue team practices all day every day in the surrounding fields! Fine for a camping video. But not for a business based one!!

It did have power though so could run lights! Though it wasn't much consolation. Sometimes you just have to run with it. If you have done everything in your power to get a good place there is nothing more that you can do. The only trouble is that potential clients who see your work in these rubbish places assume that you just didn't care or were sloppy! Can't win!
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Old September 12th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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The reason for the inconsistency of the look is because I had to hire a cameraman with a differenet camera and lighting setup for 2 of the interviews. On the other interviews, I experimented with Tiffen filters. I found 5 different filters on Ebay, and they definitely add a softness that I personally like. The other reason for the difference in look is that, sometimes I had some depth to work with in empty hotel meeting rooms. Other interviews were in office building in tiny rooms where the talent was very close to the wall, or book cases or whatever. This has been a strange project, and I have interviewed almost 80 people. Hopefully I have no more interviews.

Another reason for different look is that, halfway through the production, I purchased about ten different cucoloris patterns. I will never go on another shoot without my cucoloris's. I wish I had them for my earlier interviews. Yet another reason for the difference in looks is because, halfway throught the shooting, I purchased warm cards from Vortex Media. From now on, I will never be without them.

So, filters, cucoloris, and warm cards have been a big addition to my kit, and is the primary reasons for the difference in the various looks.
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Old September 12th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #5
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These locations sound pretty standard on many documentary productions. I think on any production you should decide on a look and keep it consistent throughout. On interviews you can get too complex, therefore the style should reflect the subject matter and not distract from it. If the locations reflects the interviewees world so much the better and having different backgrounds can help the audience remember each interviewee amongst such a large number.

The important thing is what the interviewees are saying, so the key thing is to have good sound.
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