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How to Shoot an Interview Using the Right Coverage

By lunamik / January 26, 2017
Strategy

On-camera interviews are important in any video or filmmaking. From news, documentaries, and advertisements, interviews are essential in spreading information. In reality, there are more details you have to consider when filming a dialogue. If you have overlooked this details, you will realise later on that editing it will be much more challenging.

To avoid having a nightmare in editing an interview, here are some tips you can follow.

Prepare the equipment needed. Below is a list of the essential equipment you will need for an interview

•    More than one camera

You will need not just one camera to shoot different looks of the interview. If possible, it would be best to get the same camera model for uniformity purposes. Before the actual interview, you should research on the different looks you can attain using your cameras. You can find a lot of material and instructions on the internet that can serve as your guide.

•    Sturdy tripods

You have a choice if you want to use a tripod. Some people prefer to use a handheld camera to produce a more gritty and natural feel to the interview. If you want a more professional approach, a tripod may do the trick. You have to check before the interview that your tripod is sturdy enough for the camera you will use.

•    Microphones

This is equipment is probably the most important because the essence of an interview is the content of what your subject will say. Thus, a clear quality audio is necessary. Lavalier microphones are the best kind of mic for interviews because of its ability to record the clearest sound. If you do not have a lav mic, you can use a shotgun mic in a quiet place.

•    Lights

If you are shooting in an area where you have ample light, then it may not be necessary to install lights. But it will be useful to have lights on hand in case you need some. Needless to say, lighting can significantly improve the overall look of your subject.

The Right Coverage

After having the equipment you need, the next you have to research on is the coverage. In filmmaking, coverage is referred to as the number of shots and angles needed to cover or capture a particular scene. With coverage, you can be sure that you have enough looks that give variety in your overall video after editing. Using coverage, you will be able to edit part of the interview easily and clean up the speech of your subject. It is also useful to get rid of the unwanted mistakes.

•    Camera Position

The first thing you have to figure out is the position of the cameras about your subject. If you prefer that the interviewer is not going to be part of the video, you should choose a shot that will give depth and background to the subject. Putting your subject against a wall is highly discouraged. It will be best to place the interviewee in the centre of the room to focus the camera on your subject. The background design depends on how you want your interview to be perceived. Sometimes a plain background colour is good enough. Regardless, there should be separation from your background and subject.

After deciding the spot of the subject, the next step is to setup the cameras. In general, you should have at least a close shot and a wide shot of your subject. Camera A is the camera assigned nearest to the interviewer to the point that the subject left, or right eye falls within the camera. Camera B should be set up on the same side of Camera A but should have more view of the subject. You can opt to do things differently. Just remember that Camcorder A and Camera B should have a noticeable difference in the shots. This is needed for easy editing.

•    Shot Composition (Mise-en-scene)

After deciding the location of the cameras, the next thing you have to practice is how to frame your shots. The rule when it comes to framing shots is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds states that the frame should be divided into three sections horizontally and vertically. The subject of your video should be placed along the lines of the intersections.

When shooting the actual interview, the frames can be adjusted once in a while to make it interesting.

Interview

Once all the components are in position, the next step is the actual interview. You should encourage your subject to feel comfortable as much as possible. This will be helpful in making the interview look as natural as possible. If the interviewer is not part of the video, you should remind the interviewee to answer in complete sentences. You can also ask them to reword the sentence before answering for editing purposes. While the interview is ongoing, remember to check the frames for any distractions. If you have any directions for the subject, say it politely.

B-Roll

After the interview is finished, you should get some B-Roll. These are alternative footage that can help fill up the interview. It is useful for cover up and editing of the whole interview. Get some close-ups or your subject’s hands.

As always, check out the Lunamik News Page for more tricks and tips your next video production.