Shooting the perfect interview!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by MIDI_EVIL, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    OK, I'm fairly new to interviews. Through work, I've just been asked to interview some pretty big people in the world of music, here in Wales, UK.

    I have a Sony A1E HDV which shoots 1440 x 1080i.

    So far I have a tie/shirt clip microphone, and the microphone that comes with the Sony.

    What else would I need? Sound/lighting?

    I'd love tips from anyone who has any experience of shooting interviews!

    Microphone arrangement, equipment (eg, flash audio recorder for sound?, stereo microphone, overhead, boom?) We have about £700/$1400 budget.

    I'd prefer not to use too much lighting, I like to keep things natural.

    Fire away!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    You can only keep things natural if there is enough light where you will film the interview.
    That will in most cases mean a big window that let´s in undirectional light.

    If you don´t know your location, bring lights:
    One soft light for Key light, one for fill light (not always needed) and a small light for back light to separate the person from the background.

    Have the Keylight coming from the same side of the camera as the one doing the interview is sitting.

    Get another mic as well that you have on a boom or stand (I´m not sure if your camera have XLR inputs or not.)

    It could be smart to bring a soundmixer along as well.

    On second thoughts, it sounds like you could hire a soundman with his own sound gear and it could take a load of your shoulder.

    Best of luk
  3. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    First things first: recce the location. Find out what the available light is like, what the decoration is like and what the room is like in terms of size and acoustics.

    The A1E isn't great in low-light, but if it can resolve enough natural light to expose the subject properly, your job is to shape it. Some of this will be positioning the subject, some will be forcibly controlling it with any/all of lights, reflectors, silks and flags. I'd go for a simple three-point set-up. If it's strong enough, use the main light coming into the room as the key, and perhaps a reflector as a fill. Top that off with a light source coming from behind the subject to separate them from the background. If the room is not really bright you'll have to use some artificial light. Dedo lights are good, and they even have a new daylight-balanced range, which would be great if you just want to augment natural light (they're new, however, and might not be easy to source for rental). Dedo the special fresnels they are famous for, but also softbox lights, which would be good for a key or fill if needed. Alternatively, anything by Kino Flo will give a soft light for key or fill, in daylight or tungsten (depending on the tubes).

    You'll also want to control the colours of objects and fabrics at the venue. Nothing too bright (including white), and get rid of contrast-y diagonal, cross-hatch, etc. patterns.

    Sound is a biggy, and hiring a Sound Recordist with their own equipment is sound advice. If you're unable to, rent the best mics and pre-amps (the A1E's are pretty noisy!) you can. Lavs give a sound that is not to everybody's taste and may or may not suit the subject's voice. If the venue is a big room with little by way of reflection, consider renting a Sennheiser 416. It's a quality mic and available at pretty much any rental house. If the room is smaller you'd be better with a super-cardioid. Most rental places have an SQN mixer of some sort, which by reputation (I haven't used one) have good pre-amps. Sound Devices also do some good ones, but they're not as common as SQN. The model you get will depend on how many people you are recording in any one go. Whether you bother to rent a flash/other recorder or just use the HDV audio should be down to how far your money stretches and much time you have in post (to match audio to video). If you're just recording dialogue I'd put it pretty low on my list.

    The camera-work will depend on the interview pace and style (which will depend on its intended format and destination). Have the interviewer a little to the side of the camera so the subject neither looks awkward, staring down the barrel of the lens, nor bog-eyed. Prior to the interview commencing and in any breaks get some close-ups of hands, band-related paraphernalia, etc. for cutaways. If it's a short-and-snappy pop thing you'll need more of these, and you might want to do stuff like rack focus on them (which for the A1E means being as far into telephoto territory as possible). There'll probably also be call for some general camera movement; but for the love of God please do this from a tripod, rather than going handheld and making everyone seasick.

    Also, if memory serves me correctly, the A1E has a feature to prevent it clipping so easily. It'd be worth using if you have the time to grade in post.

Share This Page