Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Shooting Video Interviews: When The Interviewer Is Not On-Camera


At Wikipedia Academy 2006 – Elmar Mittler gives interview to ZDF Photo by User:Longbow4u – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

We’re almost to the end of our 13 guidelines to shooting video interviews. We’ll wrap up with the last few, starting with what you can do when you find yourself in this common scenario: you are the camera operator AND the interviewer. In that case, it’s obvious that you can’t be on camera at the same time as your interviewee.

Here is what you can do if you want to show yourself conducting the interview…

While conducting the interview, frame the interviewee fairly close, focusing on her head and shoulders. Here is where having a portable backdrop is ideal because you can use it for shooting you conducting the interview. Have them direct their focus and answers just off-camera, like we shared in the last post on framing your shot, and have her pretend she is talking to you.

Even though you are not on camera, record your audio so that you know exactly how you asked the questions. You’ll want to know this later because you are going to set up a shot that looks like you are in the same room during the interview. It can be a different day and different place, but should it should look reasonably similar. Using that same portable backdrop you used for shooting the interview will make this possible.

You will ask your questions on camera and edit them in with your interviewee’s responses. While shooting your interviewee, get some footage of her with thoughtful expressions of her listening to your questions. When you shoot yourself, be sure to film yourself reacting to her answers.

Make sure you keep the lighting on the same. This should edit together to make a believable interview situation.

Action Steps:

  •  Shoot the interview as if you were sitting there asking the questions, keeping in mind the best way to frame your shot.
  • Set the shot you will be doing of yourself asking the questions using the same backdrop and lighting so that it will look believable when you edit both footages together.


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