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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tips for Finding and Conducting The Perfect Interview On Camera

Here are some tips in conducting an interview on camera for documentaries and specialty pieces.  You should all know that the greatest and most powerfull tool you have is the telephone: 

1.  Always conduct a preinterview by phone and discover if your subject is articulate enough to share stories and speaking in "sound bites", small snippets of information that will grab your audiences attention.  A long winded speaker will tend to be boring on camera and not good for an on camera interview.  Look for someone who can describe what you want on camera without being too wordy.

2.  Always conduct an on scouting locational survey over the phone of the place you'll be conducting your interview:

3.  Ask specific questions about the room intelf;  What color are the walls for camera purposes and does the room echo in any way for sound causing distractions. 

4.  Is the location for the interview near an airport or bus terminal where distracting sound or RF frequency could disturb the way the sound is recorded? 

5.  Make sure you find out where outlets are placed in the room using the phone interview as a strategic plan to map out what technical obstacles you'll have once you arrive on location. 

6.  Is there natural light coming in from a window that might be near a shot that needs to be neutrally densified with gels so as to not mix natural and synthetic lighting on camera causing blueing of the shot....(Note that most new digital cameras can adjust clearly to this problem if they are white balanced correctly in advance) 

7.  Is the location going to have crowds of people nearby that could interfere with the interview?

8.  Finally make sure all releases are signed off in advance and that the subject knows that a release will have to be signed so that there are no surprises.  Some subjects don't want to sign off on having their likeness seen on camera.

9.  Make sure your subject is not wearing high contrast colors like black and white and have them dress in advance in colors that are good for the camera.  We usually ask them to wear earth tones to a shoot.

If you follow some of these simple steps in preparation for your interview you'll find it all goes alot smoother making every moment of your time more effective and productive....Safe shooting...


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