Interview Techniques

Introduction

While most directors dream of shooting the next great arthouse classic or Hollywood blockbuster, in the real world there’s bread and butter work that needs to be done while you wait for your big break. Much of that work involves shooting interviews. The good news is that interviews no longer need to look like corporate death warmed up.

In this section we look at techniques for filming interviews that people actually want to watch and—even more—listen to.

First up: we were actually surprised just how hard it was to find people with good advice on interview shooting. Even well known filmmakers on YouTube showed up with some nasty shadows and poor headroom in their compositions. We’d encourage everyone to check out Moviola’s three point lighting series and framing series as a foundation before adopting too much of the ‘Round the Web advice we have for you here.

Todd Blankenship shares his insights on interview setup. He offers some great tips like scouting the location, building a single, portable interview kit (he even shares his personal secret sauce here), and creating a catch light to add some energy to the face of an interviewee.

Source: Shutterstock

Framing for interviews

While relentlessly perky, this Cinecom video offers great tips on conducting the video, framing shots, line of sight, and basic set dressing.

Source: Cinecom.net

Hotel interviews

Think Media offers another take, specifically looking at making do with what you find in a hotel room.

Source: Think Media

Lifestyle and outdoor interviews

Many times you’ll need to shoot an interview outdoors, without the conveniences of a controlled set. Jonas and Rob from Science Filmmaking tips have some great basic advice about shooting outdoor/lifestyle interviews. If you need to shoot an interview outdoors, this is definitely one to watch ahead of time.


The Tom Antos take...

YouTube film technique mainstay Tom Antos weighs in with his tips and techniques for amping up the production value of interviews. While some may question the lighting choices, what’s nice about Tom’s techniques is that they focus on minimal setups that are achievable in the tight turnaround often required of corporate interviews.

Source: Tom Antos

Two camera interview technique

Crimson Engine offers some basic tips on using two cameras for interviews.


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