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Finding a place to shoot interviews?

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Grant WilberFinding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 14, 2013 at 5:07:34 pm

Anyone have tips on finding locations to shoot interviews indoors that also have good backgrounds to keep things looking professional? The only thing I can think of is either rent out a hotel suite or rent a house. Any other 'out of the box' ideas?

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Nick GriffinRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 14, 2013 at 6:47:51 pm

If you're going to rent your location we've found that it makes far more sense to rent a small meeting room at the hotel. Instruct that it have a minimal amount of furniture rather than the typical horseshoe conference table arrangement which you'll just have to move out of the way. It also seems a lot more "professional" to bring people into a meeting room than up to a hotel room.

The biggest potential downside is what other meetings will be going on in adjacent meeting rooms. If your neighbor is a motivational sales meeting and all you have between them and you is a movable divider, you're hosed.

Do a site survey before booking and get the lay of the land for what you'll be dealing with and what you'll be avoiding. It's also a good idea on shoot day to have a couple of LARGE mounted posters with "Shhh! Video Taping In Progress" or something similar on them to place outside your meeting room. In addition to the public areas you will also want to put one in the service hallway which connects to your meeting room and where the hotel's catering staff can make an unacceptable amount of noise.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 14, 2013 at 9:02:27 pm

Backgrounds are as "professional" as your imagination allows you to be. Remember that it only has to look good to the lens, and you may find many more places begin to suggest themselves. We once shot office scenes in an office furniture supply store, since they had numerous demo areas set up with different "looks" from CEO room to office cubes, etc. already furnished. You can bring an office with you, by buying a roll-up library wall from places like Denney mfg. or the like. The collapsible trade show display walls on the market travel as easily as a golf bag but can pop up into rigid walls with a variety of finishes suitable for shooting against. There's the crumpled sheet of muslin that never goes out of style if you light it right.

Failing that, you can always fall back on tricks of lighting. Colored gels can do wonders, especially if you use two different gels intersecting at interesting angles. Or finding a place where a room pillar intersects a flat wall, then using lighting angles to create multi-tone shapes.

The Cuckaloris or "breakup" pattern, or a focusable ellipsoidal spot with a gobo holder, can be used very creatively to suggest locations you aren't really in. A very compact way I do this is to pierce a sheet of black foil randomly with a pen or pencil point, then I hang this in front of one of my Lowel Omni lights and adjust the focus and barn doors. Instant "cookie" pattern, and adding gels to that will alter the look. Use a sharp hobby knife and you can cut a slit in the foil to make a light "beam" or shaft to project as well. Nowadays, with the narrow depth of field that cameras can deliver, you could shoot in front of a car wreck, and, in soft focus, it becomes a dynamic abstract background.

Here's one more "modern" trick you might try: bring your ipod/iphone and a pico-projector, which is a video projector (around $300-500 bucks) about the size of a paperback book. Use that on location to project not just colored light, but patterns and even actual photo backgrounds or motion video loops onto a wall. If you can light around the needs of the projector, and keep things in narrow DOF, you could have infinite possibilities without the need to greenscreen later, but one of the most simple yet tasteful things would be to just project their logo onto a floor or wall in the shot. Particularly where it "drapes" across something. The pico projector is small enough to be mountable to a light stand with the right set of soft-jawed articulated clamps.

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Sareesh SudhakaranRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:02:20 am

Great advice, Mark. Thanks for sharing! - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.

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Guy McLoughlinRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 14, 2013 at 9:49:08 pm

I am usually more concerned about audio noise than what the place looks like.

If you shoot with a large sensor ( Micro 4/3 sensor or larger ) camera you can always blow-out the background to eliminate details.

But trying to get rid of background noise is very difficult.

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charles meadowsRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:00:11 am

As long as you light the person correctly and use the right lens setup you're going to get a good picture. Word of warning is don't interview someone with a window behind them, you'll get serious bloom during the day or strange colours if you're using warm lights. Also keep away from anything too busy in the background, this will distract from the person being interviewed.

"There's no point in filming if you don't have fun"
Charles Meadows
Creative Director
Incubate Productions South Africa

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Eddie JustoRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Jan 22, 2013 at 7:27:54 pm

You could rent an small conference room in a hotel, if you live in the city you could get a room with a view over the city. In a lounge with a nice garden in the background? Really depends in your imagination and on the subject matter.

Benefits and advantages of corporate video production

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Vickie SceifersRe: Finding a place to shoot interviews?
by on Feb 21, 2013 at 6:44:14 pm

I've been a member of my chamber of commerce for several years, so I have access to space at their facility. I also have relationships with several members that may have space at their office, whether it's a lobby (which can be noisy but can also be beautiful), or an office room. These can usually be used for free, depending on your relationship. Offer to promote them on your site or Facebook page and they'll be happy to help. Perhaps you can work something out after hours when everyone's gone home and it's quiet.

Also, you can even shoot at a home. If you can find someone that is VERY successful, homes at the $250K+ level have many beautiful locations to shoot--living room, fireplace, office/library. Through a chamber connection you might even be able to get special access after hours when it's quiet to a Homearama (Parade of Homes/neighborhood home show) home; again, offer promotion as thanks.


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