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    Industry Tips: How to Shoot an Interview

    Posted by Theodore Cole Anderson on Thu, Jul 6, 2017




    From documentaries and commercials to news articles, Interviews are a vital tool in the media industry and will play the biggest roles in everything they’re involved in. Your B-roll (Supplemental footage inserted as a cutaway to help tell the story) will be at the mercy of the interviewee’s answers, and the mood will be set by the emotion they have projected.


    Shooting and conducting an interview has it’s challenges. One of those challenges is setting up the interview. If you want to watch how to set up an interview, check out our video after reading this blog!


    “Will I need a conductor?(Person asking the questions) What questions should be asked? Do I have to find a location?” These are some of the most common questions you will come across when shooting your first interview and we hope by the end of this blog you will have a better understanding of the interview process.


    Here are some industry tips on how to shoot an interview.


    “Will I need a conductor?” 


    A conductor is a great asset to an interview. It’s their job to lead the interview in the right direction, for the right answers. They also allow you to focus on Directing/Camera Operating, etc...


    There are a few ways to shoot an interview, one is to interview the talent and only have the lights and camera facing them. The other is to have the conductor of the interview also be lit, with a camera facing them as well so they can be included in the final edit.


    Here are a few reasons why you should have a conductor included in the shot.


    1. You are shooting a news article and in order to give the audience their own opinion, you want them to know the question asked.
    2. You are shooting a documentary and the narrator has a main part in the production.
    3. You want every answer in the final edit, so you remove the hindrance of the interviewee not reiterating your questions by adding a conductor.


    Here are a few reasons why you should not have a conductor included in the shot.


    1. You don't have enough lighting equipment for two people in the interview.
    2. You want the interview to feel as if the interviewee is talking to the audience.
    3. The conductor does not want to be on camera and isn't necessary to the story.


    Based on your production’s needs, it will be up to you to make the choice to hire a conductor or not.


    “What questions should be asked?” 


    The questions you ask in an interview will determine the answers that talent gives you. Do your research on who you’re interviewing and make sure the questions stay within the line of what your story is about.


    You want the questions you ask to provoke the type of answers you are looking for. For example, if you are making a documentary and you want to find out the emotion on the subject they are being questioned about, ask them how they feel about that particular subject and ask questions based on those feelings. Once those feelings are provoked, it will set the mood in which your video will revolve around.


    “Do I have to find a location?” 


    Location is everything. Imagine shooting a documentary on a librarian, and the background behind them being a bathroom. You want the location of the interview to reflect the story you are telling to your audience. For example, when your audience sees a person dressed as a pilot with a background that looks like an airport, you will be making it obvious to your audience that they are listening and watching an airline pilot.


    Keeping these Industry Tips in mind while shooting an interview will help you tell a great story!


    If you want to know how to set up an interview shoot, check out our latest video!




    For more great tips on how to shoot an interview, check out No Film School’s blog, “What I learned After I Conducting 40+ Interviews for My First Feature Documentary”  and don’t forget to fill out our information form!

    Topics: Interview, how to, tips, industry tips

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