AVP - Single Camera Interview PDF

October 27, 2017 | Author: Ken Morrison | Category: Tripod (Photography), Exposure (Photography), Lighting, Microphone, Zoom Lens
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VIDEO SETUP GUIDE FOR SINGLE CAMERA INTERVIEW SHOOT V1.0,  July  2011 Prepared  by  Creative  Development,  Technology  Enabled  Learning  &  Teaching  (TELT), Learning  and  Teaching  Unit,  The  University  of  New  South  Wales,  Sydney,  Australia ©  Copyright  2011,  The  University  of  New  South  Wales

Introduction!_____________________________________________________4 Step 1: Decide on interviewee placement!______________________________5 Step 2: Set up tripod/camera! _______________________________________6 Step 3: Balance tripod! ____________________________________________9 Step 4: Power on Camera!_________________________________________10 Step 5: Check status of media! _____________________________________11 Step 6: Set up lighting (optional)!____________________________________12 Step 7: White balance camera! _____________________________________13 Step 8: Set camera exposure!______________________________________16 Step 9: Set up sound equipment!____________________________________19 Step 10: Set audio levels! _________________________________________20 Step 11: Focus camera on interviewee!_______________________________22 Step 12: Frame the shot! __________________________________________23 Step 13: Ready to record! _________________________________________25

Introduction This  guide  is  intended  for  the  production  crew  (camera  operator,  sound  assistant  etc)  to  assist  with  the   execution  of  successful  single  camera  interview  style  video  shoots.  As  it  is  mainly  a  technical  guide,  this   document  is  not  intended  to  cover  topics  such  as  interviewing  techniques,  question  writing,  pre-­‐ interviewing  and  interviewee  selection.     It  is  mainly  intended  as  a  Qield  guide  to  be  either  viewed  on  a  mobile  device  or  printed  out  for  reference.   However,  it  is  suggested  that  the  production  crew  and  interviewing  crew  familiarise  themselves  with  the   content  before  the  shoot  to  ensure  proper  preparation.  Over  time,  the  knowledge  and  methods  contained   herein  will  become  second  nature  facilitating  better  outcomes  for  interview  shoots  in  the  future.   Although  this  guide  is  speciQic  to  interviews,  much  of  the  content  can  be  applied  to  camera  use  in  general.  

Step 1: Decide on interviewee placement Considerations A  good  interview  setup  will  have  a  background  appropriate  to  the  subject  matter  and  the  interviewee.   Furniture,  plants  and  other  “props”  can  be  moved  to  create  a  good  looking  background  but  it  should   always  look  natural  and  not  contrived.  Also,  if  the  background  is  too  “busy”  it  can  be  a  distraction  from   the  person  speaking  and  this  should  be  avoided.  Available  light  (natural  daylight  or  in-­‐room  Qixtures  such   as  lamps  or  overhead  lighting)  can  be  very  useful  as  a  replacement  or  supplement  to  lighting  Qixtures  but   can  cause  issues  with  white  balance  if  not  handled  correctly  (see  Step  7)

Method 1. 2.


Walk  around  the  space  kneeling  down  to  eye  level  of  your  interviewee  from  time  to  time  to  Qind  a   suitable  background.   Pay  attention  to  the  location  and  direction  of  any  windows  or  other  light  sources.  If  available  light  is   used,  ensure  there  is  enough  light  to  get  a  good  exposure  hitting  the  face  of  the  interviewee  at  a   fairly  neutral  45  degree  angle  (i.e.  not  too  high  or  too  low  and  not  in  their  eyes  or  side-­‐on)  See  Step   6  for  examples. When  happy  with  the  background,  place  the  seat  of  your  interviewee  some  distance  from  the   background.  

Step 2: Set up tripod/camera Considerations As  all  lighting  is  done  relative  to  interviewee/camera  relationship,  placement  of  the  tripod  should  be   decided  and  not  moved  once  the  following  steps  are  performed.  For  a  neutral  interview  style,  the  lens  of   the  camera  should  be  at  the  same  level  as  the  eyes  of  the  interviewee.  A  lower  camera  angle  can  create  an   “empowered”  interviewee  (i.e.  looking  up  at  them)  and  a  higher  camera  angle  can  create  a  “diminished”   interviewee  (i.e.  looking  down  at  them).  Even  a  few  centimeters  difference  up  or  down  can  have  a   noticeable  effect  on  the  resulting  image  so  accuracy  is  important.


1. 2.

Extend  the  length  of  the  tripod  legs  to  the  approximate  length  needed.  Remove  the  baseplate  from   the  tripod.  NOTE:  you  may  have  to  push  a  release  button  or  lever  to  allow  the  plate  to  come  off.   Securely  attach  the  baseplate  to  the  camera.  

3. 4.

Attach  the  camera  to  the  tripod  by  sliding  forward  from  the  back. Ensure  that  it  is  locked  on  the  side  before  letting  go.


Good  neutral  angle

Camera  too  low

Camera  too  high

Step 3: Balance tripod Considerations The  level  of  the  camera  to  the  horizontal  plane  is  vital  to  achieve  a  natural  looking  shot.  Even  1  degree  of   roll  (horizontal  tilt)  can  have  a  noticeably  detrimental  effect  on  the  shot.  This  is  also  very  important  if   camera  rotation  is  done  in  a  shot  such  as  a  pan  or  a  tilt. Most  decent  video  tripods  have  a  spirit  level  on  top  as  well  as  a  mechanism  for  balancing  the  head.  If   there  is  no  balance  adjustment  on  the  tripod  you  have  (as  is  the  case  with  most  still  photography   tripods),  this  needs  to  be  done  “by  eye”.  This  can  be  achieved  by  carefully  adjusting  one  leg  at  a  time  until   a  known  horizontal  edge,  such  as  a  table  or  shelf,  can  be  seen  to  be  properly  horizontal  in  the  viewQinder.   This  Step  needs  to  be  checked  and  performed  if  required  every  time  the  camera  is  moved.


1. 2.

Hold  the  camera  with  one  hand  and  loosen  the  lock  with  the  other.  This  is  usually  located  at  the   bottom  of  the  vertical  shaft  of  the  tripod. Adjust  the  tripod  head  until  the  bubble  of  the  spirit  level  is  centered.  Carefully  tighten  the  lock   paying  close  attention  to  the  spirit  level.

Step 4: Power on Camera Considerations There  are  two  options  for  power  when  using  a  videocamera:  battery  and  power  adaptor. If  using  batteries,  check  the  charge  of  your  batteries  before  the  shoot  and  ensure  you  have  enough  spare   batteries  to  last  the  duration  of  the  shoot.  To  ensure  the  longest  battery  life,  power  off  the  camera  when   not  in  use  (i.e.  a  break  or  lengthy  mid-­‐shoot  discussion) If  using  a  power  adaptor,  make  sure  you  have  a  long  enough  extension  cord  to  reach  the  power  outlet   without  causing  a  tripping  hazard.  You  may  want  to  take  some  gaffer  tape  to  secure  the  extension  cord  to   the  Qloor  in  any  areas  where  people  walk.

Method 1. 2.

Attach  the  battery  or  power  supply  to  the  camera  and  power  on. If  needed,  switch  the  camera  from  playback  mode  to  camera  mode  until  you  see  the  scene  in  the   viewQinder.  If  you  still  cannot  see  your  scene,  check  that  the  lens  cap  is  removed.

Step 5: Check status of media Considerations There  are  two  main  media  recording  options  in  modern  cameras:  tape  and  card/hard-­‐drive. If  tape  is  used,  it  is  important  that  there  are  no  “gaps”  in  the  recording  as  this  can  cause  timecode  breaks   which  will  make  capturing  the  footage  in  postproduction  very  difQicult.  Another  important  consideration   when  using  tape  is  not  to  mix  formats.  The  same  type  of  tape  can  be  used  to  record  in  the  standard   deQinition  DV  format  as  well  as  various  types  of  high  deQinition  HDV  formats.  If  these  formats  are  mixed   on  one  tape,  capturing  the  footage  in  postproduction  becomes  very  difQicult  and  confusing. If  a  card/hard-­‐drive  is  used,  timecode  breaks  and  mixing  formats  are  not  relevant.  It  is  important   however,  to  ensure  that  any  previous  shots  are  removed  to  enable  maximum  recording  time  and  avoid   duplication  in  postproduction.  If  mixing  card  brands  and/or  types,  ensure  that  they  are  fully  compatible   with  your  camera  before  the  shoot  by  doing  a  few  test  shots.

Method TAPE 1. 2. 3. 4.

If  the  tape  has  been  used  previously,  check  which  format  it  is  recorded  in  by  playing  the  tape  back   in  the  camera.  The  screen  will  tell  you  which  format  is  recorded  i.e.  DV  PAL  or  1080i50  (HDV) Find  the  end  of  the  last  recording  and  stop  the  playback  BEFORE  the  shot  fully  ends.  By  recording   over  the  end  of  the  previous  shot,  you  are  ensuring  there  will  be  no  timecode  breaks. It  is  always  a  good  idea  to  record  the  last  shot  of  the  shoot  for  a  little  longer  than  normal  to  allow   for  this  overlap. If  the  tape  has  not  been  used  previously,  fast  forward  the  tape  all  the  way  to  the  end  and  then   rewind  to  the  start.  This  helps  to  reduce  tape  dropouts  by  removing  static  or  tension  issues   sometimes  present  in  new  tapes.


Check  to  see  if  there  are  any  shots  that  have  been  previously  recorded  and  have  already  been   transferred  to  the  edit  suite. If  needed,  erase  the  media  through  the  camera  menu.  If  there  are  two  cards  in  the  camera,  repeat   this  Step  for  both  cards.

Step 6: Set up lighting (optional) Considerations ArtiQicial  lighting  is  often  needed  in  locations  that  have  low  light  levels,  no  suitable  available  light  or  light   from  the  wrong  direction.  ArtiQicial  lighting  can  greatly  enhance  the  quality  of  the  recorded  image. Using  artiQicial  lighting  requires  knowledge  of  power  distribution,  basic  lighting  principles  and  aesthetic   requirements.  Please  contact  your  support  team  for  training  in  lighting  if  desired.

Step 7: White balance camera Considerations White  balance  refers  to  the  mix  of  the  spectrum  that  is  emitted  from  the  source  of  light.  This  can  range   from  orange  for  artiQicial  tungsten  based  light,  green  for  common  Qluorescent  sources  and  blue  for   daylight.  The  human  eye  is  very  forgiving  to  different  colours  of  light,  the  camera  is  not  and  needs  to  be   adjusted  for  the  light  sources  present  in  your  scene.  If  you  are  shooting  outside,  white  balance  will   change  gradually  over  the  course  of  the  day  and  this  Step  should  be  done  every  hour  or  so.  Also,  if  the  sun   goes  behind  clouds,  the  white  balance  and  exposure  will  shift  dramatically  and  should  be  adjusted  when   this  occurs. White  balance  is  measured  in  degrees  kelvin.  Tungsten  based  artiQicial  light  should  give  a  reading  close  to   3200K  and  daylight  should  give  a  reading  close  to  5600K.  Computer  monitors  are  also  usually  very  hot   (6000K-­‐7500K)  and  a  cloudy  day  can  get  as  high  as  10000K.  With  a  lower  temperature,  there  is  more   “orange”  in  the  light  and  with  a  higher  temperature,  there  is  more  “blue”  in  the  light.

Method 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Hold  up  a  piece  of  white  paper  (without  blue  lines)  in  front  of  the  camera  ensuring  the  light  source   is  hitting  the  paper. Zoom  the  camera  in  so  that  the  white  paper  Qills  the  frame  (focus  is  not  important) Activate  the  auto  white  balance  feature  of  the  camera,  usually  a  button  on  the  front. Wait  until  the  camera  tells  you  that  it  has  succeeded. If  it  fails,  it  is  usually  because  of  over  exposure  or  under  exposure.  If  this  is  the  case,  adjust  the   exposure  (see  Step  8)  and  repeat  3  and  4.


Good  white  balance  with  natural  skin  tones  (note  the  blue  in  the  computer  monitor)

Incorrect  white  balance  resulting  in  orange  skin  tones  -­‐  temperature  set  too  high.  (note  the  correct   colour  of  the  computer  monitor)

Incorrect  white  balance  resulting  in  blue  skin  tones  -­‐  temperature  set  too  low.

Step 8: Set camera exposure Considerations Camera  exposure  is  best  done  using  the  electronic  readouts  of  the  camera  and  if  possible,  should  not  be   done  “by  eye”.  All  modern  video  cameras  have  a  feature  called  “zebra”  for  this  purpose  and  some  have  a   histogram  function  as  well.  The  zebra  pattern  will  overlay  diagonal  lines  on  the  shot  to  tell  the  operator   about  the  level  of  exposure  for  different  regions  of  the  frame.  Human  skin  should  not  exceed  80%   luminance.  The  histogram  function  provides  a  graph  to  show  distribution  of  pixels  from  black  to  white.

Simple Method 1. 2.

Set  the  camera  to  autoexposure  mode  and  zoom  in  on  the  face. Lock  the  exposure  by  setting  the  camera  to  manual  exposure.  (some  cameras  will  have  a  “push   auto”  button  which  does  both  of  these  Steps  in  one  go)

Preferred Method 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

In  the  camera  menu,  set  the  zebra  pattern  level  to  70-­‐75% Turn  on  the  zebra  pattern  feature. Zoom  in  to  the  face  of  your  interviewee  if  required. Adjust  the  exposure  of  the  camera  up  until  the  zebra  pattern  covers  the  face. Adjust  the  exposure  of  the  camera  down  until  only  the  brightest  part  of  the  face  (highlight)  shows   just  a  hint  of  zebra  pattern.


Under  exposed  -­‐  no  zebra  at  70%

Well  exposed  -­‐  70%  zebra  only  showing  on  highlights

Slightly  over  exposed  -­‐  70%  zebra  extending  beyond  highlights

Over  exposed  -­‐  70%  zebra  covering  most  of  face

Step 9: Set up sound equipment Considerations Sound  is  one  of  the  most  important  parts  of  a  good  interview  shoot  and  this  is  often  overlooked.  The  best   option  for  audio  recording  is  the  lapel  microphone  (wired  or  wireless)  that  clips  onto  the  interviewee’s   shirt.  Another  option  is  the  use  of  a  shotgun  microphone  which  is  very  directional  and  should  be  pointed   at  the  interviewee’s  mouth  for  best  results.  The  on-­‐camera  microphone  is  the  least  reliable  and  should  be   used  only  if  no  other  options  are  available.

Method 1. 2.

Attach  the  microphone  to  the  camera.  If  using  a  wired  microphone,  a  direct  connection  is  made.  If   using  a  wireless  system,  the  receiver  is  attached  to  the  camera  and  the  transmitter  is  attached  to   the  interviewee. If  needed,  power  on  the  microphone  (both  receiver  and  transmitter).  Some  microphones  require  an   AA  battery  and  this  should  be  checked  prior  to  the  shoot.  Other  microphones  require  power  from   the  camera  sent  down  the  same  XLR  cable  as  the  audio.  This  is  called  “phantom  power”  and  is   denoted  by  +48v  on  the  camera.  If  in  doubt,  check  the  requirements  with  your  support  team  before   the  shoot.

Step 10: Set audio levels Considerations Any  background  sound  such  as  air  conditioners  or  loud  computer  fans  should  be  switched  off  where   possible  as  this  has  a  detrimental  effect  on  the  recording. All  cameras  provide  a  “level  meter”  to  show  the  loudness  of  the  input  signal.  The  aim  is  to  have  the  signal   as  loud  as  possible  without  clipping  (i.e.  close  to  but  not  hitting  the  upper  most  bar  of  the  meter).  The   quality  of  the  sound  should  always  be  veriQied  by  listening  through  a  set  of  closed  ear  headphones   connected  to  the  camera.

Method 1. 2.

Ask  your  interviewee  to  speak  a  few  lines  at  their  normal  talking  volume.  It  may  be  useful  to  give   them  a  piece  of  text  to  read  aloud. Adjust  the  audio  input  level  dials  on  the  camera  until  the  signal  sounds  loud  and  clean  in  the   headphones  and  is  showing  a  good  level  in  the  meter.  The  loudest  sound  should  never  peak  as   indicated  by  a  red  marker  in  the  level  meter.


Very  low  level  -­‐  not  usable  due  to  high  noise  ratio

Very  low  level  -­‐  may  be  usable  with  postproduction  enhancements

Good  level  -­‐  most  usable

Peaking  level  -­‐  not  usable  due  to  distortion  from  peaking

Step 11: Focus camera on interviewee Considerations Sharp  focus  is  essential  for  a  good  looking  picture  and  this  is  especially  important  when  using  high   deQinition  as  the  image  usually  has  more  resolution  than  the  viewQinder.  By  utilising  the  effect  of  reduced   depth-­‐of-­‐Qield  when  zoomed  in,  one  simple  method  will  always  ensure  accurate  focus.

Method 1. 2. 3.

Zoom  in  as  close  as  possible  to  the  interviewees  face. Adjust  the  focus  by  turning  the  focus  ring  on  the  lens  until  the  interviewee  is  sharp. Zoom  out  to  frame  your  shot  (Step  12)

Step 12: Frame the shot Considerations There  are  many  considerations  to  take  into  account  when  setting  framing.  If  the  interviewee  is  talking  to   an  interviewer  off  camera,  the  rule  of  thirds  is  usually  employed,  which  has  been  around  since   renaissance  times.  The  rule  of  thirds  involves  cutting  the  frame  into  nine  segments  and  centering  the   interviewee  on  the  1/3,  2/3  intersections  of  these  segments.  This  means  that  the  interviewees  head  is  on   the  1/3  line  of  the  frame  with  1/3  of  space  behind  them  and  2/3  of  space  in  front  of  them.  This  is  known   as  “looking  room”. Another  common  method  is  the  concept  of  “head  room”.  This  changes  depending  on  shot  size  but  as  a   rule  of  thumb,  the  eyes  of  the  interviewee  should  be  1/3  down  the  frame  with  2/3  distance  between  the   eyes  and  the  bottom  of  the  frame.  A  good  looking  shot  should  look  natural  without  the  frame  making   them  look  too  short  (too  much  headroom)  or  too  squashed  by  the  frame  (too  little  headroom).  This  term   does  not  mean  that  there  always  needs  to  be  “room”  above  the  “head”,  it  is  just  another  interpretation  of   the  balance  given  when  using  the  rule  of  thirds. There  is  a  wealth  of  information  available  on  the  web  and  elsewhere  giving  good  examples  of  the  rule  of   thirds  and  general  interview  framing  guides.  It  is  also  a  great  idea  to  actively  watch  interview  programs   such  as  60  Minutes  or  the  7:30  Report  for  examples  of  good  visual  balance  and  framing.

Method 1. 2. 3.

Adjust  the  zoom  of  the  camera  as  well  as  the  pan  and  tilt  of  the  tripod  until  the  desired  shot  is   achieved. Lock  off  the  tripod. When  more  comfortable  and  adventurous,  you  may  experiment  with  different  shot  sizes  between   questions  and  possibly  “following”  the  interviewee  if  they  move  around  a  lot.  This  usually  involves   leaving  the  pan/tilt  of  the  tripod  unlocked  and  holding  the  tripod  handle  at  all  times.  Pay  special   attention  to  not  introduce  shake  or  unnecessary  camera  movements  as  these  are  very  distracting   for  your  audience.

Diagrams NOTE:  A  close  up  (CU)  and  medium  close  up  (MCU)  have  been  shown  for  reference  as  they  are  the  most   common  interview  shot  sizes.  This  rule  also  applies  to  other  shot  sizes.

Good  framing  following  the  rule  of  thirds  and  looking  room

Poor  framing  -­‐  interviewee  looks  squashed  due  to  too  little  headroom

Poor  framing  -­‐  interviewee  looks  short  due  to  too  much  headroom

Poor  framing  -­‐  looking  room  not  accounted  for  (i.e.  more  space  behind  the  interviewee  than  in  front)

Step 13: Ready to record Considerations The  main  thing  to  ensure  before  shooting  is  that  interruptions  are  kept  to  a  minimum.  Make  sure  that  all   people  present  have  turned  off  their  mobile  phones,  shut  the  door  if  possible  and  if  people  are  making   noise  outside,  ask  them  to  be  quiet  before  starting. It  may  also  be  a  good  idea  to  perform  all  previous  Steps  without  the  interviewee  present  so  they  can  walk   in,  sit  down  and  begin.  Some  interviewees  can  get  quite  self  conscious  and  nervous.  Being  present  during   set  up  can  exacerbate  this.   If  a  lot  of  people  are  sitting  off  camera  other  than  the  interviewer,  you  may  Qind  that  the  interviewee’s   eyes  wander  a  lot  as  they  attempt  to  make  eye  contact  as  they  are  talking.  Minimise  this  risk  by  only   having  the  necessary  people  present  and  also  asking  the  interviewee  not  to  look  at  the  camera  or  camera   operator.

Method 1. 2. 3.

When  you  are  ready,  ask  for  silence  and  start  the  camera  recording. Let  the  camera  run  for  about  5-­‐10  seconds  before  calling  action.  Also,  when  the  shoot  is  done,  let   the  camera  continue  recording  for  about  5-­‐10  seconds  before  stopping  it.  This  will  assist  in   postproduction  and  alleviate  any  tape  issues  as  detailed  in  Step  5. If  at  any  time  you  Qind  a  problem  such  as  framing,  lighting  or  noise  issues,  speak  up  and  let  people   know.  These  things  are  often  quite  easy  to  Qix  on  location  and  next  to  impossible  to  remedy  in   postproduction.

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