Friday, December 4, 2009

When shooting interviews, mix things up

I saw an obvious one man band package the other day (you can always tell when the interview subject looks directly into the camera) on a local station and all the interviews were done in the exact same spot. When edited together, it looked awkward.

This is TV 101, something I learned on my first day on the job from a photog. We had to get some man in the street comments and were camped out at the post office. After I did my first interview, the photog moved his tripod a bit and pointed his camera in another direction. Then he told me to get on the other side of his camera. "You want to mix up your shots, and have people looking in different directions." When I edited the piece, I noticed how nicely if flowed with different looks and different backgrounds.

I realize some of you who have been handed a camera and thrown into the deep end of the pool haven't been taught this stuff. So, a couple of rules:

-If shooting a one man band interview, frame up your shot, hit the record button and step to the side of the camera. Tell the person to talk to you, not the camera. Never, never, never have someone look directly into the camera.

-If shooting multiple interviews at one location, mix things up. Stand on different sides of the camera and change your angles and backgrounds.

Did you notice this forces you to use a tripod? Ha, tricked you.


joey flash said...

these little VJ cameras should have monitors on both sides, so you can keep an eye on the subject in relation to the frame. i'm surprised the manufacturers haven't caught on to this yet given the growing trend to do VJ.

Anonymous said...

I've been thrown into the deep end of VJ'ing... I learned to make the edit go smoothly by hitting stop record after every question. The log and transfer will go quicker with a bunch of SOT's instead of one huge interview. The first mistake, (of many I constantly make), I made while VJ'ing... was to walk away after I thought I hit the record button... (doh!) The process of the "stop and go" slows down the interview allowing you to correct the details like iris, focus, audio, background scenery and it allows you to zero in on important questions instead of the kitchen sink questions.
Love thy Grape!