Interviews are used throughout different types of filmmaking. they are useful to get an insight into the minds of individuals. interviews are used extensively in documentaries and news programmes. in these, interviews are used by the filmmaker to validate the information. people are more likely to believe the person who was involved with an event than someone who heard about it.
An interview is typically conducted in an interior location. the interviewer and subject typically sit opposite each other with a separate camera trained on their faces. the cameras are placed so as to not break the 180 degree line. this is so, in the edit, the two subjects take up a left and right side of the screen and it doesn’t show both looking the same direction. It also enables that the interviewer and interviewee don’t look down the lense of the camera. Instead, they look at each other which helps the audience concentrate on what the subject is saying and to not be put off by anyone looking directly at them. On top of this, by having the two subjects at a slight angle from the cameras it creates a typical Portrait shot which is much more attractive than a flat, 90 degree shot.
The subjects will tend to have 3 light sources upon them. a backlight illuminating their background, a face light shining on their face from one angle and a reflector which bounces the face light onto the other side of the subjects face. this is done to ensure that there isn’t a high amount of contrast in the shot.
subjects may have either a radio microphone which is hidden on their clothing near their mouth (often attached to their collar) or they may have a boom microphone which will be held above them by a boom operator.
The environment can have a drastic effect upon any interview. In a much more relaxed setting, such as a comfortable sofa in a warm room, you’re going to get a better response from your subject, than if you interviewed them in a bare white room with a straight back chair. Making your subject comfortable is what gets you the best results. However, there is a limit to this. Placing someone in an unrealistic, distracting or unrelated place will just detract from the interview are reduce both the subject’s and viewers concentration. A good example of this would be interviewing a judge at a nightclub.
in my behind-the-scenes footage of Boom Festival, which is a yearly music festival for young people held in Bath, i used interviews to get a personal view into the musical acts and that performers who were involved. Among those involved were artists, organisers, presenters, security staff, medical staff, venue staff and audience members. this gave me a wide spectrum of opinions and views of the event.
due to large parts of the event being outdoors, i was able to conduct all of my interviews in this setting. on the day there was a strong amount of natural light which enabled me to conduct my interviews without the aid of a face light or backlight, the latter of which is only really useful when there is a background to illuminate.sound is a slight problem as the event was a music festival and i had no designated sound operator to overcome this issue. i had a shotgun mic attached to the top of my camera and ensured that all interviews were conducted facing away from any sound amplifiers.
the camera i was using was a 5DMKii DSLR. it was small enough to be operated alone which gave me a lot of speed and flexibility with my filming. i also had a shoulder mount instead of a tripod. this meant that I could set up a shot much faster and that all interviews were conducted at eye level, which is important when following the rule of thirds.
in interviews seperating shots, known as ‘nodding heads’, are often inserted to break up a shot of someone talking. this increases the pacing of the film as well as allowing for hidden edits, which can be enacted during this time.
Due to the nature of my film i had no nodding head shots. instead, i used clips of the performances to break up shots of speech. sometimes these performances had their sound but at other times I used the interviews speech over the top of the performance. this combination of sound and no sound cutaways resulted in the film being better paced than it would have been if I had not used this technique.
the editing style i went for was inspired by the documentary ‘Teenage Rampage Tour’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhLsTmKOwS0 ). in it the film has instances where the visuals change every second but the sound stays constant. I used this technique twice in my film keeping the same audio but alternating the visuals every second. In the intro when I used this technique I slowed down the cuts which brought the viewer cleanly into the first interview and set the pacing for the rest of the film.
another technique influences by Teenage Rampage was the use of temporarily quieting the audio track during interviews. this keeps the mood of the film present and allows it to easily transition between shots. i used this technique during my films first interview. While Dani was talking I subtly brought the audio back up. this resulted in the interview closing off smoothly.
To prepare for my film’s edit I made sure to film lots of cutaways. these are short clips that either establish the setting or show something that can easily be inserted into the film. For example, a group of people or a close up of an instrument. in the edit i used these to either set the scene or act as a nodding head shot during an interview.
Another technique that I noticed on ‘Teenage Rampage Tour’ was the use pre talking. This technique involves having the next person interviewed, talking before they appear on the screen. This technique improves a film’s pacing and helps to break up the pattern of “interview, clip, interview, clip” that can occur by when the interview clips are kept separate from the songs. Not only that, but the technique is also used to prevent the abrupt break that may occur when the previous scene’s audio is abruptly cut off. by overlaying the beginning of the next interview over the top of the previous clip, this is prevented and the film is often improved as a result.