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Framing interview subject

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Ruby Gold
Framing interview subject
on Feb 6, 2006 at 8:43:47 pm

A lot of the work I do involves numbers of one-person interviews edited into productions and I like to have the subject framed so they're looking (and speaking) at a nice angle--gazing to the left or right of the camera. So far, I've been lucky enough to have a person with me asking them the questions as I shoot them so that they actually have someone to look at and talk to in the direction I want them to be looking.

In upcoming shoots, I will be the camera person/director/interviewer. Anyone have ideas about how I can get them to look camera left or right to answer the question without them feeling (and looking) awkward like they're speaking to no one (which they are)? Thanks so much for any suggestions.



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Frank Otto
Re: Framing interview subject
on Feb 6, 2006 at 10:04:35 pm

Back in my one-man-band days, I'd set the shot as normal then pull my head out of the finder, pop off the magnifier and stand or sit next to the camera - I couild still see the shot off to the side.

Later on, I invested in a Casio 2" b&w tv and plugged it into the video out and would glance at it to watch my shot.

Today, I'd recommend getting a 3"-5" LCD monitor and plug it into the camera in the same manner.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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SydneyS
Re: Framing interview subject
on Feb 7, 2006 at 4:20:22 am

Like Frank above me said, use a monitor, and take your eye out of the viewfinder... In the early days, every now and then, I would ask people to look off to the side of the camera, even though there was no one there, just because that's what "The Boss" wants to see... That never worked, as the interviewee always got flustered, and forgot to look there, since it was me asking the questions... It's far better to put a face there, so the subject doesn't have to think too much, and everything just flows better...



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Ruby Gold
Re: Framing interview subject
on Feb 7, 2006 at 4:50:03 am

Thanks all. I completely agree--difficult enough to engage a subject without asking them to converse with empty space. Just sort of forgot that a) I could actually turn the LCD screen all the way out and sit on the side to interview the subject and STILL till monitor the shot. Better yet, I remembered there is a remote control (that I've never used) to tighten or widen the shot. Yee haw. Thanks for the inspiration.



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Peter Ralph
Re: making an interrotron?
on Feb 7, 2006 at 5:52:36 pm

I too use a monitor and sit beside the camera with a remote. Works fine for most applications, but I really like the edgy look that Errol Morris gets with his interrotron(?) which is a teleprompter modified so his face appears in it. I've no idea how easy it adapt one.

Anyone have an idea how to adapt a teleprompter in that way?


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Frank Otto
Re: making an interrotron?
on Feb 7, 2006 at 11:30:23 pm

Probably the same way weather broadcasts do for the weather guy - super the text over a a line feed so weatherguy can look into lens and still read off weather info.

A mini camera, like a web cam could be used - shoot the interviewer and super the image...

Or, you could use the ol' sock puppet (formerly known as "watch th' birdie") method. On some interviews I'd occasionally draw a happy face on my hand and hold it up - if I was especially goofy, I'd make it a Sr. Wenslas puppet and get interactive (it helps - or hinders that I'm an experienced puppeteer).

Shot an interview that way once with then Governor Ashcroft - he remarked that the hand was more in-depth than many of the reporters he'd seen...

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Peter Ralph
Re: making an interrotron?
on Feb 15, 2006 at 4:40:31 pm

so you think it should be pretty simple to do this with a regulat teleprompter Frank?

don't think the sock puppet would give the same intimacy as Errol Morris gets in Fog of War, or Fast Cheap & out of control


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