Need your help!! Designing small studio for educational interviews

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    • #89256

      Hey guys,

      I’m creating a small studio at my office primarily for shooting interviews with educational experts. We’ll be mounting paper w/ 2 light stands and a crossbar for backdrops, but I was also thinking it would be nice to create a more intimate space in one of the corners to stage interviews. I want to paint at least one of the walls (advice on colors and paint type would be amazing, something that isn’t too gaudy but is dynamic and doesn’t reflect light in weird ways!) and in a corner create a “scene” behind the interviewee w/, for example, a desk, plant, lamp, bookshelf, etc. Something that makes the space look authentic, lived-in, etc.

      Any advice?

      Shooting with two Canon 5D Mark iii’s.


    • #213602

      Give yourself enough space to put up proper lighting. I would use a flat paint to avoid reflections.

      Make sure you have enough space between your interviewee and the backdrop to get a bit of bokeh/blurred background. It really sets your subject apart and increases the professional appearance of the interview. The full sized chips will certainly help.

      I would also suggest looking at as many different interviews as you can to find settings you like and go for something similar. My taste in interview settings may be far different than yours.

    • #213607

      My suggestion would be to create a scene which you and the interviewee are a part of, rather than creating a background in front of which you “perform.” Before joining “60 Minutes,” Charlie Rose would interview guests with them both seated at a table, no background other than black drapes. Thus the focus was entirely on the subjects.

      I recall seeing an interview in which there were two elegant chairs, a coffee table and a handsome floor lamp, again with only a solid color drapery background. Even in an office setting, limiting the background to a wall, a lamp — which provides an excellent opportunity for motivated lighting — and a few books or perhaps a non-glare picture.

      I favor soft drapery — drapery with soft pleats as opposed to a stretched backdrop or photographer’s backdrop paper — as a background because it can be lighted in numerous ways, creating highlights and shadow with cross-lighting or with patterned gobos.

      If you decide to use painted walls you might consider panels — 2’x3′ for example and perhaps a couple of 3’x4′ — each painted in a slightly different color, e.g., shades of gray or blue. Mount these so that they stand out a few inches from the wall, giving you a broken but homogeneous background which will take light very well.

    • #213615

      I love Jack’s ideas. If you watch so called educational videos on youtube, you see so many amazingly boring setups. For my money – the important features, in importance are:
      1. Content
      2. Sound
      3. The human content
      4. The visual appearance
      5. Lighting
      6. The technical stuff like video formats

      Too many people have the content and the technical stuff and forget the rest. You can’t make dull content good, unless you write it differently, and if it MUST be dull, the background lifts the entire thing. When I was a communications teacher in college, years ago, I read something that said in a dull but essential training video, something has to happen every five seconds to keep the viewer engaged. The ‘something’ could be a camera angle change, a change in a caption, or something in the background. The presenter moving his arm position even counted. The important thing is that the eye is drawn to movement – any movement.

      You could also perhaps include a monitor in the set design – handy for reinforcing points, or carrying a logo. These can be of course superimposed, but having them on a monitor give a sense of depth. The screen could even be a green blank screen and you then key the info on later? The set can also let you offset the talent to one side, which also looks good, and can really help on edits, if you shoot with two cameras, or do a reset between two positions with one camera between takes.

      Personally, paper is great for stills, but I never find it works that well for video, because it always moves a tiny bit in the air. With a jig saw you can create loads of weird shapes and suspend them. Not complex DIY but looks amazing.

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