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Thread: Doing an interview and need some tips!

  1. #1

    Default Doing an interview and need some tips!

    Hi guys!
    I am a photographer and i am starting to fool around with video lately. Today i was offered to document an interview and make a few minute clip. It is a relatively high profile job that could open doors for some new busines so i would like to do the best i can.
    I was thinking of using a 5dmk2 with 16-35mm on a tripod to capture the wide shot and 550d with 50mm 1.4 for some close ups. It shouldnt be too hard but i am nervous because i have never done it before. I would be grateful for any advice that you can give me, a link to a well done interview or something.

  2. #2


    This most important things in an interview are audio(!!!) and lighting. What possibilities do you have?

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by sixtytwo View Post
    This most important things in an interview are audio(!!!) and lighting. What possibilities do you have?
    Bad possibilities :( I dont have a mic other the one in the camera. I was hoping to be able to do the job with it. Interview will be inside the house so there wont be a wind or trafic noise. I also dont have any video lights. I havent been investing in video equipment so far, other than Manfrotto 701HDV head that i just ordered for this job. I have a big silver/white reflector that i could take with me to maybe reflect some window lights on the subject?

  4. #4


    I don't have a mic other the one in the camera.

    Ok it's time to have a re-think, if you want those doors to open you need to mic up the interviewee. You could get away with a shot gun if it's in someones house but may be better with clip on mics. It's not just about been able to hear the person speak it's the quality of the audio that will make a nice video or spell out disaster. If you are a photographer I'm sure you can work out the framing and lighting. Remember not to get the person to look directly into the lens. Only TV presenters do that and need a lot of practise to make it look natural.

    The look and feel of the piece will depend on the type of interview it is. So think mood lighting for intimate stuff (light is just as much about the dark as it is the light) or if it's a corporate thing, open and natural looking. You can see many YouTube tutorials about the perfect interview lighting set up but if you don't have the lights it won't help you.

    The 5D will be an excellent camera for the job but make sure you deal with the audio, even a 50 clip on mic will be better than the on camera mic.

    One last thing remember to address the back ground when you are deciding where to set up. ie don't have a clock stick out of the top of the interviewees head etc.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    OP could do worse that buy a 70 SDHC recorder, like "Zoom" which will record from a tie-clip mic, or the many other mics available.

    Furthermore OP should practice this BEFORE attempting this "1-off to open doors" (my words) - - -or they may just close rather rapidly.
    [Practice on the Misses, interviewing her on a topic she knows well-enough, like making a christmas cake . . . prepare her with a "stop" signal, so you can repeat any bits that aren't quite "right" and then see how you fare in Edit. It is not uncommon for interviewees to dry-up and want to repeat something they said wrong . . . AND keep a notebook for shots/ settings/takes/etc.].

    Also, I wonder why anyone would be asked to do this important task, if they were known to have zero experience...? (
    That should be checked, with care/sensitivity.)
    I didn't understand why OP invested in a fancy "head" for his tripod? Surely, a second tripod would be more sense for the No 2 camera.... how much panning is involved?

    IMHO, a 50mm lens is too short for interviews and f/1.4 will need ND filters unless the lighting is very poor. I presume OP is thinking "shallow DoF will make this project"....but it will also show the other lens up.... far better to move subject away from walls, bookcases and ticking clocks (which give you a continuity issue)....this means you can use modest lenses and still keep the subject sharp as they move about, unintentionally.

    OP mentioned reflectors - yes useful, if they can be held steady, useful in many indoor situations....but outdoor light varies and it's really better to provide your own can illuminate the whole room for very little with Builders' Lights (halogen) a pair with stand about 25 (reflected off white ceiling is nearly shadowless)... or use those reflectors for softies.
    + OP might also like to consider a boom-light (often called "hair-light" & much loved by portrait photographers. These days you can probably match a CF bulb (you need both "White" versions, or a box of gels). This could carry a directional mic also. . . but watch those trailing wires . . . Yikes!

    ((. . . and yes I do know it doesn't exactly match Halogen . . . but some gel can sort that, or put a filament bulb in.....places like ASDA sell 60w Halogens in BC envelopes . . . ))

    And Good Luck.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 10-08-2012 at 11:31 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    The above addresses mainly the technical issues - and by now I shouldn't need to stress the need to capture good sound - you've got that message, right?

    I ran an evening on interview techniques for out club last year which also covers many of the "non equipment" apects (eg relaxing your interviewee, asking "open" quesions")
    Take a look here.

  7. #7


    Thanx guys!
    Today i am ordering a Zoom or Tascam recorder so i will use it to record the audio.
    I am NOT doing the interview, just recording it.
    I'm afraid there is too little time and money to get into all the lighting and sound and i hope i will get into how to work with the new recorder in a few days that i have.
    For a second camera if 50mm will be too short, i will use my 70-200 and borrow another stand. Also, i will try to rehearse the stuff with a friend to see what might go wrong.
    Thanx again, you helped me a lot!
    Last edited by ibanezfrelon; 10-10-2012 at 04:26 AM. Reason: corrected 500mm to 50mm

  8. #8


    66356_3877657984662_490489755_n.jpgHere is my setup that i will be using. I have bought zoom h1 and a Vanguard Trekker 3. Zoom is very easy to use although the build quality is very low, at least the plastic casing. I feel if i were to sneaze while it is in my hands that i would crush it Sound quality is decent as long as the mic is close to the speaker. Vanguard Trekker 3 is amazing for the price and i am glad that i saved some cash buying it as the panning with it is very smooth and fluid.
    I will let you know how the interview went!

  9. #9


    Just to let you know how it went
    I have done the interview, it went ok, made some mistakes but ok.
    I have had A LOT of trouble with editing because i am not very good with FINAL CUT PROx only because i am just sterting out with the whole video thing. My workflow was all wrong and that gave me troubles later in the edit. The biggest trouble was at the end, after i finaly through blood,sweat and tears menaged to finish the movie i found out that FCpro x have issues with popping audio!!!!!! Damn!!!! After exporting, the audio sounds terrible and unusable. It sounds ok while editing though so i had to record the audio from computer to zoom recorder while playing the video and later paste it with the movie in iMovie. Very iritating!
    I cannot upload the video on Youtube at this point (agreement with the client) but i will show you the trailer so feel free to fire away anything that is wrong

    Dubravka i Vladimir - YouTube

  10. #10


    Thanks for letting us know how you got on. I think it looks good. It sounds like you didn't get the microphone close enough but I'm sure you will learn from this.

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