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Teaching Single Camera Interview.

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Stuart Samuels
Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 9:56:26 am

Hi.
Im teaching a basic video production class and was planning on doing a session on shooting a single camera interview (Shoot the interviwee's responses, let them go, shoot the interviwer's questions, shoot noddies, B-roll cut aways etc etc).

The thing is, does this technique really exist in practice anymore? I'm sure people are going to give me tons of examples but everything I looked at in mind of showing my class ended up being multi cam set ups.

I'm just after peoples opinions really as I don't want to teach something that may be out of date/of little use.

Thanks.


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Ewan Lim
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:09:03 am

of course it is still in practice! As long as there are budget constraints, there will always be one camera interview set ups!

Teaching single cam set ups is important as you are basically teaching continuity which will come in handy when you have to cut down a 45minute interview into a 1 minute interview (multi-cam or no multi-cam).

Single cam set ups can always be made to look like multi-cam set ups anyway. I could give you examples but basically, you just need to turn to any news channel that has interviews done Out-Of-Studio and it is most likely a one-camera set up.

Master Shot, Cutaways, MCU, CU and possible OS shots are all you need anyway.

Ewan
Avid, FCS3, Premiere Pro, After Effects


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Stuart Samuels
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:45:55 am

Yeah I completely agree with you and like you say, learning the technique teaches a lot more that will be useful down the line. I was just surprised to find so many multi cam set ups where I assumed they'd be single.

Thanks for your response.

Stuart.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 12:11:19 pm

Yes, it happens quite a lot, even though watching the cut you generally aren't aware that that's what was done. The key thing is for someone to make notes during the main interview so that you can feed the lines to the interviewer when doing the reverses. For quite a few of the ones I've had the subject has actually hung around for the reverses, which is good because that makes keeping the eyeline right a lot easier plus you can get the occasional bit of interaction that helps make the cut feel "real" (and some contributors actually enjoy being involved in the "crafty film making" process).


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Mark Suszko
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:46:02 pm

You shoot the reversals of the questions last, in case the subject has to leave right away. If the interview subject can stick around, it is nice to get a few of the reverses with and without a shot over their shoulder. Don't forget some cut-aways, extreme long shots, at least one reverse, during the mic checks, plenty of ROOM TONE, and cut-aways of things like the hands and any items in the room that might relate, like a certificate or diploma, pictures on the mantlepiece, etc. Bonus points for shots of the subject handling prop items.

Usually you have to re-light to get the reversals of the interviewer as well, since you don't always have the time, room, or budget to set up lighting for two people simultaneously. So it is also a budgetary/efficiency issue in shooting the questioner at the end.

We do this kind of stuff every week around here, it is very much a viable technique and something worth teaching your students to do right.

Something I would stress is asking the questions in the right way, so they can't be answered with just a yes or no, ask the questions twice, different ways, and at different points in the interview, with a different shot, and to teach the subject to incorporate the question back into their answer, which makes editing a heck of a lot easier later.

That, and to turn the sevo zoom off, or set it to blinding-fast, so you can snap-zoom to different focal lengths while people are pausing to take a breath, or to think about an answer, or waiting to hear the whole question. A good shooter can change and re-frame the shot in 1.5 seconds, and this technique, applied sensibly, will make your final product look like it was shot with three cameras, and not just one. if your shooters roll off 30 minutes of one locked-down shot, you should probably flunk them.


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Bill Davis
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 3:33:15 pm

Let me add that in the era of inexpensive HD DSLR shoots, if you're posting for SD and shooting on HD, the need for cutaways decreases rapidly since you can digitally push in on the HD frame to create an SD CU out of a MS to avoid the jump cuts that a single camera interview was traditionally plagued with.

As sensor resolution continues to increase, this becomes more and more a norm and less an exception.

I always advocate learning how to do things the traditional way first. But then that should inform your ability to break out of the traditions when required.

For what it's worth.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 16, 2011 at 9:26:52 pm

Bill makes a valid point if you're delivering in SD. However, over the last year or so, almost everything I've been doing has switched to delivery on HD, so I doubt that'll be an option for very much longer (the equivalent for a significantly bigger image size than HD would be 4k, and that's a serious step up in technology/operating costs at the moment).


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Bill Davis
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 17, 2011 at 1:02:12 am

I would ask you how much of that HD is VIEWED as HD.

I see people shooting all the time in HD and in the end, they re-compress for web delivery.

Unless you're pushing to HDTV or have a contract to fill a big screen, the lure of HD shooting is that you're capturing MORE resolution than you'll need at the end of the chain.

If so, this is a perfectly viable workflow if you elect to adopt it.

If not - well, it's not.

Just don't get stuck in thinking that just because you SHOT in HD, you MUST therefore post in HD.

Perhaps the real lesson for the students is to ALWAYS ask about your primary delivery format. Because that might give you MORE options than your current thinking allows.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Teaching Single Camera Interview.
on Sep 17, 2011 at 9:37:43 am

All valid points, Bill. I just come to the issues from a different point of view.

My employment as a freelance editor is predominantly for broadcast, plus web deliverables which are associated with those broadcast programmes, and in general I'm employed for those things that I do which are web only because of my track record in broadcast.

I always get hold of the technical specs for delivery, and one must read through them very carefully, whatever the destination.

Simply because I've delivered to them recently, I have the current technical specs for Discovery, the BBC and Channel 4 close at hand, but to be honest they don't give you a lot of room to maneuvre. My rule of thumb for reframing pictures is that I'll get away with about 10 or 15% expansion, depending on the pictures (and you have to make a subjective decision on a shot by shot basis), which is generally enough to fix a problem but not enough to make an MCU into a CU. More than that and you're risking a technical fail when it gets to the broadcaster.

Things for web delivery are, of course, a different kettle of fish. So yes, you should bring up all of these useful techniques an a teaching situation, but I personally wouldn't make the assumption that todays students will necessarily spend their working lives making stuff for the web, even though that is likely to be a very signficant source of work.


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