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2 camera interview

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Kevin Herrin
2 camera interview
on Nov 11, 2005 at 7:38:21 pm

I am shooting an interview with 2 cameras. The idea is to get a couple of angles for editing. Is there a prevailing therory on editing multiple cameras for interviews? I have heard that it is ok to cut to the same subject as long as there is 30% difference in camera angles. Any one heard of this?
Thanks
Kevin


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Doug
Re: 2 camera interview
by
on Nov 11, 2005 at 7:47:03 pm

Are you talking of two cameras on one person??? If so that rule will probably work, especially if the angle between the two cameras is fairly wide. If it is two cameras/two people, I usually try to use a quick disolve or (preferably) a cutaway shot of the other person.


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Kevin Herrin
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 11, 2005 at 8:42:10 pm

I am talking about a single subject. I think it should work fine, just wanted a few other opinions.
Thanks
Kevin


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gaspar
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 12, 2005 at 4:43:41 am

We did a promo video for the MIRA foundation lately, in which I used a PD150 on tripod for a standard talking head frame, and a hand-held panasonic DVX-100a off to the side at 24p getting some "MTV" style shots. Made for a very interesting mix in the edit. The clients loved it...


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AVID_CHUMP
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 14, 2005 at 3:07:14 pm

Hi

I think i read some where that it should be a 45 degree difference in the camera angle.

This works really well if you desaturate / add grain / increase contrast in one camera, preferrably the one that takes the "non standard" framing.

If you shoot one head on or just off centre and place the second camera at 45 degrees, you could pull it wide enough to show the mic, crew, lights etc with the effects above applied etc, i find it adds a nice effect if done well.


Another nice option is to elevate the secondary camera, so as to view the interviewee from above (not if they are follically challenged though).

No need for dissolves or wipes or anything in the cut (unless you want to), a straight cut or PIP's work well with both of the above.


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Greg
Re: 2 camera interview
by
on Nov 14, 2005 at 5:32:26 pm

Another thing to consider is where the interviewee's eyes are supposed to be focused. Is he/she speaking to an off-camera interviewer or looking directly into the camera. One approach I've used is to have one camera framed with the nice shot/background possible. The second camera Is used to do some moves. such as tilt up from hands to face, extreme close-up of face. Some slight pans, rack focus, etc..


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Mark Suszko
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 15, 2005 at 3:11:42 pm

30% maning change in frame size, right? Well, that that seems a reasonable rule of thumb, and close to what I try to do when shooting interviews. I try to snap-zoom to change the shot while the questions are being asked. Sometimes, if the answer is long-winded, and I feel the subject has come to a conclusion for at least the first part of the answer, I'll snap-zoom while he's taking a breath and get the rest wider or tighter. I do feel it cuts together smoother to go from distinct shot sizes like a true medium to a true CU, etc.

I have seen interviews shot with one fixed frame size, then deliberately jump-cut together. This seems to work best with a lot of short, staccato edits, and a short overall run time, where the person in the frame moves around in the frame or changes expression/emotion a lot. It's usually reserved for deliberate quirkiness, IMO.

Other times, I see it shot fixed-angle and soft wipes are put in to ease transitions, this looks lame to me. Some of the gonzo celebrity news programs shoot everything fixed, because there's nobody on location with any savvy, then the editors "fix" it by re-scaling the shots in DVE to fake a camera change, or they do extreme DVE's like page peels and z-axis trombining or card-shuffling, or PIP effects, anything to hide the fact there is only one shot. It can be challenging;-)


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Mike Cohen
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 15, 2005 at 11:20:58 pm

I have noticed that when the entertainment shows do this DVE trick, they generally are not editing out re-takes, but are in fact editing the content of the interview. For example if Brad Pitt says "I have not always had a thing for other younger obese women." the DVE will be used to make it into "I have -DVE zoom in- always had a thing for -DVE zoom out- obese women."
Probably true actually, but definitely don't do that ever.

Another shot I see sometimes is a static shot at floor level pointed at the field monitor, which is displaying the primary camera.

On the "Interpreter" DVD, the interview with Sidney Pollack has two cams - one is a regular interview style, head to waist level so you can see the hand monements. The other cam is locked down, but from 90 degrees to the right, showing the face only facing screen left, with just black in the background. Almost looked like two interviews edited together, but cuts mid-sentence give it away.


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Kevin Herrin
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 16, 2005 at 3:58:09 pm

The style on the Interpreter Interview is something that I have thinking about as well, but is it ok to have 2 different backgrouds, one with camera 1 and a different on camera 2?
Kevin


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Mark Suszko
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 16, 2005 at 6:02:30 pm

Kevin, in the greater sense, it's ALWAYS a different background on the reverse-angle, even if in the same room... unless you're shooting in a hall of mirrors. And I like that there are noticeable differences in the two shots, that helps keep the orientation, to my way of thinking.

Obviously, if you shoot in a Charlie Rose Black Limbo set, your only cues become the faces of the people talking. I think that that's a stylistic choice made to really concentrate the viewer's attention to the person speaking, and you don't see really wide shots used in limbo settings much, they are not the point: the widest shot is usually a medium shot, and everything else is a variation of tighter and looser closeups.

Other times, the place you're conducting the interview in informs some of the content. When I interviewed an instructor pilot for a program, I shot them sitting in and near the pilot seat of a plane. I could have as easily interviewed them in a nearby white room (with better acoustics) and talked about the exact same stuff. And in my chosen shot, the pilot doesn't bother to point out "hey, there is an airplane behind me, and we're talking about airplanes". It's just a given, a subconscious, semiotic reminder, putting the person's words into an unspoken context, reinforcing the meaning. That's the obvious part.

The not always as obvious part for beginners is, when you have the choice, you probably want to erase/remove/blur items from the background that don't reinforce your message, or that distract or clutter or lead the eye away from the person speaking.

So, I would say as long as the program viewer believes the interviewer is in the same room as the interviewee, that's all you really need. How you achieve that is a matter of craft. When you watch 'The Daily Show", and they are doing mocking interviews of crank persons they are planning to make fun of, not everything they do or say is actually happening as you see it - things are changed around in sequence, some of the really obnoxious questions are asked last, with the subject's back to the camera, or with the subject not even there. Editing makes it all come together the way they want it to.


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Kevin Herrin
Re: 2 camera interview
on Nov 16, 2005 at 6:54:49 pm

Great stuff! I appreciate the input.
Kevin


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