Here at Dream Engine we have spent years refining and perfecting our method for shooting high quality interviews. In this blog post we will break down our camera operator technique into easy to remember steps on how to shoot an interview that represents your subject and the story you are trying to tell.
Use Visual Storytelling
Your location selection is an important stage in your interview storytelling. It can subtly inform the viewer about your subject. With this concept in mind, you will want to consider the topic of the interview and the occupation and interests of the subject when selecting a location.
Often it is worth asking if somewhere else is available if the room offers nothing visually. If you can’t make it visually interesting then what’s the point of it being a video interview? It’s also important to consider the environment in terms of sound when choosing your location. Is there a conversation seeping in from next door? Noise from the train tracks? Make sure you select a quiet area where interruptions from sound or intruders won’t occur. This will save you time on the day, and in the editing process when you aren’t cutting around bad sound or interruptions.
During one of our interviews recently, the location we chose was the subject’s own home, so that visually you glean her personal style, her daily life and personality by the room in which she was interviewed. This will depend on the interviewee, but you are looking for something fitting for the subject matter.
Lighting is Key
While it’s true that a good quality camera can help create a great image, lighting is just as important when it comes to creating beautiful looking images. Having shot hundreds of interviews over the years, we’ve refined our setup to a simple, mobile and effective look.
Our most commonly used lights are KINO DivaLights. They run at low temperatures, and with the included flozier (basically a thin white material placed over the light) the light is soft and fully adjustable. We also use the industry stalwart the Dedolight, a compact focusable light that is extremely versatile. We often use Dedos as a backlight, aiming down on the interviewee’s head and shoulders, which separates them from the background and makes them stand out more.
As a professional crew, we must be respectful to our clients by always being on time, appropriately dressed, and considerate of our environment.
Building a rapport with the interviewee can be hugely beneficial to the interview. If the subject is relaxed and at ease, their responses will be better and they will be less self-conscious on camera. Have a quick chat with your subject beforehand, reassure them of the process and keep it casual. More casual interviewees=better interviews.
The choice of lens always goes a long way to dictating the look and feel of an interview. A common trend at the moment is to use a very shallow depth of field, having the subject in sharp focus but a blurred, indistinct background. This effect works well in a lot of cases, but it’s worth deciding if it’s right for you. If the subject is animated or talks with their hands, it might be worth giving yourself some more room to work with by using a wider angle lens and stopping down the lens.
Creating your Interview Look
There is no guaranteed method of shooting an interview that will work every time. There are many different things to consider, like tone, location and the purpose of the interview. Before shooting, you should consult the director, producers, clients and editors to come up with what they want to achieve from the interview. It’s all about serving the story of the interview, whether that be through lighting, location
There is no formula to lighting, framing and shooting an interview. There are a host of things to take into consideration like location, purpose and tone of the interview. All of these things have a huge impact on the final video. Before shooting we always consult the director, producers and editors before a shoot to have a discussion around what they want to achieve. Do you need an experienced, camera operator to shoot professional video interviews? Contact us today.