How to Make Interviews Interesting with Single Camera Set-Up

In our Tips & Tricks segment, Jennifer demonstrates a couple quick interviewing tips.

Video Transcript

When shooting interviews using a single camera setup, you might find that you have some very long shots that need to be cut out, but using a single camera setup, you're gonna have jump cuts or you're gonna have a very long, boring shot. Some video producers who are just starting out want to shoot an interview with both interviewer and interviewee in the shot at the same time, which is a very boring setup. You also have a profile setup so they often will do a ping-pong shot like this which is very distracting. In today's Tips and Tricks, we're gonna show you a couple of different ways to shoot a single camera setup with a little bit more interest.

Ideally, you would have one camera on your interviewee and another on your interviewer, however, if you have only one camera try this, shoot the entire interview with the camera slightly over the shoulder of your interviewer, don't turn off the camera, don't move, and don't get the interviewer in the shot. Have your interviewee subject looking over the interviewer reporter, not the camera.

Before the shoot, arrange a queue with the interviewer to subtly let you know when the interview is over so you can get cutaways without disturbing the emotion of the interview. While the interviewer engages the subject in light chatter, perhaps gathering background information, the camera op pulls back to shoot a two-shot over the shoulder of the interviewer, then following the 180-degree rule and staying on the same side of the action, follow the camera to right behind your interview subject and get an over-the-shoulder shot of the interviewer. Follow up with a close-up of the interviewer to insert as a cutaway later.

Now, follow up with other close-up cutaways, like the ringing of hands or half face shots of your subject if you're shooting an emotional interview. You can then get a few other wider two-shots for B role cutaways.

Our next two-shot interview, using one camera is similar to what reporters do when they do the live shots, what we call MOS, man on the street, interview. I am going to be interviewing her but when both of us turn this direction what you're getting is a profile of both of us and we don't want to have that, and also I need to have you come a little bit closer, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have her turn towards the camera like this and I'm gonna take a step in front of her, and then when I'm doing my intro standup and I've turned to my interview subject, she is actually looking at the camera and I am not. So as soon as I finish with my interview, I turn back to the camera and I tag out.

For Videomaker Presents, I'm Jennifer O'Rourke.

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