Whether you are going to shoot a corporate video or a documentary the odds are you will need to build a professional setup where your interviewees will feel comfortable enough to answer your questions, thus delivering great truthful content and serving your story in the best possible way. Achieving this goal, however, isn’t always as easy and straightforward as it may seem.
In the next video, Chase Kubasiak from Zacuto gives seven simple steps on how to shoot a video interview on location and in the studio. Topics discussed include evaluating the physical space, any ambient and/or lighting considerations, setting up lights and the types of lights you might want to use, choosing the right type of mics based on the shooting environment, camera positioning and everything in between.
First and foremost, make sure that the space where you tend to conduct your interview does fit the look and feel of your story. Try to use surroundings in your favour if possible and be aware of constantly changing factors around you such as sunlight through the windows, clocks behind your interviewee, distracting ambient noise etc. Keep in mind, that you will need enough room for your crew, lighting, camera, additional gear and accessories along with enough power outlets to run your equipment properly.
When it comes to composing your shot make sure that you frame the interviewee to the opposite side that he or she is looking at. For instance, in the above example, we can see that the subject is framed left with look pointed to the right. Try to have your interviewer sit right next to the camera and set the camera height at the eye level of your interviewee.
Further, compose the shot in a way that the background is not distracting and you have enough room to separate your subject from it. Thus, you will be able to create more depth in your shot.
Adding an extra camera to your setup can be extremely helpful later while editing your interview. A good rule of thumb here would be to offset your B-camera about 30 degrees from your main angle to make the cuts between the two feel seamless. If you are shooting in 4K and delivering in HD you will have even more options considering the ability to crop your frame later in post. Ensure that both your camera settings are matched up as close as possible.
In terms of lighting, you can light your subject in multiple ways depending on the mood and feel of your story. In case you need a more standard approach utilizing the three-point lighting is the way to go. Using diffusers, bounce boards, flags, colour gels and other accessories that can help you control and modify the light better are always welcomed on set.
Choosing the right mic for conducting an interview is another extremely important aspect of the process. For best results use lavalier and/or boom mic that are a great solution for picking your talent’s voice providing the best audio quality while reducing the ambient sound to a minimum at the same time. If it’s possible, split the audio channels between the lav and the boom mic. This way you will be able to get a stereo signal and even if one of your mics fails you still will have a cover of your recording session.
Always do a sound and picture test on your computer before you start rolling. Recording just 30 seconds of video and audio will be enough to find out whether everything is right in place, your equipment is up and running or you should do some extra tweaks before you start the interview.
At last but not least, make sure that your subject is comfortable and relaxed enough, have them arrived early for the interview and make an informal chat before you start recording. Keep in mind that the subject being interviewed is the most important piece of the puzzle, so do your best to make them feel comfortable enough so that you will be able to get the greatest and most truthful content, thus elevating your production.