How to shoot an interview
- Your interview will look more professional and dynamic if the interviewee sits on one third of the screen while looking across the camera at you
- Keep the camera at eye level with the interviewee. Be sure you are on eye level with the lens as well because otherwise it looks odd if the interviewee is looking up or down out of the screen
- Closeups are generally the best for interviews. Try not to leave too much room above their head, but don't put the top of the frame right on the top of their head
- When at all possible, create space betwen the interviewee and the background. The person you're interviewing will appear to be flat if you place him or her against a wall. The more open space there is, the better
- Tell the interviewee they should restate each of their answers as if a question was not asked. It is helpful for them to speak in a concise, simple way that the general public would understand
Choose the right shot
- Interviews look more dynamic and professional if you shoot them as a closeup or as a medium shot
- As a general rule, stick to the medium shot for interviews unless there is activity in the background
- If it is important to show activity in the background to tell the story or to provide necessary context, choose the wide shot
Shooting in sequence
A sequence is a group of three shots, a wide shot, a medium shot and a close up, in that order. Any time you're shooting something other than an interview, you should be shooting in a sequence.
Shooting in a sequence is used to establish setting, environment, among many other uses, but mainly it's used for what's called "B-roll."
B-roll is the term used for any images that appear with voiceover whenever the interviewer, host or narrator does not appear onscreen. It could also be used over images of an interviewee to break up "talking heads."
- When possible, keep the eyes of your subject in the top third of the screen
- Use a tripod, if possible. If you can’t use a tripod, try to keep the camera as steady as possible. Movements in the picture do not digitize well
- If you don't have a tripod and need to keep the camera steady for a few moments, hold your breath
- To make anyone look thinner, shoot them from above eye level. The lower the camera goes, the larger your subject will appear
- Use a wireless microphone when possible. If you can’t mic your subject, get as close to them as possible for better audio
- If you can turn off the auto-focus feature, make sure the focus is set for your main subject
- Have the strongest light source at the back of the person holding the video camera. If you shoot into the light, your subject appear as a silhouette
- Avoid windows. Natural light is stronger than artificial indoor lighting and the image will appear overexposed
- Outside light is also in a different color spectrum than artificial lighting, so if you have a mixture of the two lighting sources in your video, your subject(s) will look odd.
- Beware of air conditioners or fans. The sounds are picked up very easily by the microphone
- Avoid shooting at noon. The sunlight washes out colors and creates shadows on people’s faces that are unattractive
- When given a choice, photograph your event at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m.
- The best time to get vibrant colors and minimize shadows is on overcast days
- Loud sounds like vehicles will sound even louder on your video