How to Film Interviews as a One Man Band
Solo interview filming for a documentary, corporate video project, or some other production requires a little bit of planning and preparation but you can successfully capture the footage needed for your project. In fact, video interviews that are filmed by a one-man-band are common in today’s production industry. We’re showing you how to film interviews as a one-man band to reduce the potential of mistakes along the way.
Filming an interview on your own requires you to focus heavily on the cinematic techniques you learned in the early days while heavily relying on your strengths and praying that your weaknesses do not leave you falling short of success. Depending on your skills, several issues may (or may not) interrupt your filmmaking success.
Below are some tips to help you with filming an interview solo.
Secure the Shot with One, Two or Three Cameras
Depending on your abilities and the equipment that you have available for your production, you may be securing a single shot, two shots, or three if you’re on an unlimited budget. Regardless of whether your interview is being filmed with a single camera or a multi-camera setup, now’s the time to secure your shot.
Set your camera or cameras up on tripods and stands at the appropriate angle to capture your subject. Your focus should be primarily on your main (or only) camera which will frame your interview shot. If your interviewee is to look into the camera, definitely pay special attention to the main set up to ensure that the frame is just right.
Set Focus Points
As you set your focus points, consider a C-stand or tripod to use as a stand-in to assist you in framing your shot before the interviewee arrives. Your focus points and marks should be set in a stationary point to ensure you capture your interviewee clearly regardless of whether he or she shifts or moves forward or backward as they are speaking. Check the focal points and ensure they are acceptable before you actually being filming.
To help the subject know where his or her feet should be, place gaff tape on the ground at the appropriate marks to keep track. If gaff tape is not available, you may consider a book, paper, or some other item to mark the area where the feet should rest.
Set the Lighting
Remember, once you begin your interview, you won’t really have the ability to work on various elements of the set so now is the time to prepare and set things up to the best of your ability. Lighting is difficult to set before your subject is on the mark, but the more you can do to get basic lighting set beforehand, the better.
Set up a three-point lighting setup prior to your subject arriving for the interview. This way you can make small adjustments once he or she is there but won’t take up too much added time.
Again, you will have limited hands-on set to test and adjust audio as you start filming an interview so the more you can do in advance to prepare for capturing audio, the better. Ideally, someone comes to help you with audio and you don’t get stuck running everything solo–but, we don’t live in a perfect world, do we?
To prevent any major mishaps in audio recording, set at least two means of quality audio recording in advance to ensure that even if one goes wrong, there is a backup in place. Use a C-stand with a boom mic extension to provide boom audio without added hands-on set.
A lapel mic is another excellent option to ensure the interview audio is captured clearly and sufficiently. If two separate audio recorders are not available, consider sending both lines of audio to a single recorder. While this could be risky, it should provide the necessary coverage to capture the interview as it takes place.
If you’re really wondering how to film a good interview, the answer is–try to have more than one hand on set. However, if you find yourself filming solo, hopefully, the above tips on how to film interviews as a one-man band will help you out. But, before you attempt a solo interview shoot, be honest with yourself about everything that could go wrong, and do your best to plan ahead.