When you set up to shoot an interview, the angles and frames you choose can make or break the video. In this post, we will go over ten different angles that you can use when shooting interviews. You can think of it as a personal cheat sheet for interviews. Some of the ideas are for your A-camera, and some are for B-cam. We used a RED Dragon on a Manfrotto 645 FAST and 504x head as our A-cam, and a BMPCC 4K on a Manfrotto 635 FAST and an old MVH500AH head.
1. Through an object
Shooting through an object is where you place an object between the camera and the subject. It could be one of the elements that you find on set or something that you prepared beforehand to complement the context of the interview. Think a set of tubes for an interview that happens in a lab, or a power tool if you are shooting in a workshop. You do this by making sure that the object peeks from one or more of the sides of the frame. It may be out of focus, and this is ok. You’d usually want to do this to give the audience a sense of closeness or intimacy. As if they are on the set.
2. Straight into the lens
The talent walks in, what’s the first thing they ask? “Should I talk into the camera? or should I talk to someone”. If your talent is experienced, they can talk directly into the camera; if not, there are expensive devices like the Telemax Periscope. If you do this, make sure the talent knows that they need to talk directly into the lens and take away any monitors that may solicit their attention. Again, depending on how experienced your talent is, you may choose to sit either behind the camera or in a place that is clearly away from the camera.
3. Long sided interview
This is probably one of the most common frames for an interview. It means that you split the frame into three and place your talent on one of the thirds. Your talent then talks to the interviewer, who is sitting on the other two thirds. This setting makes it easy for the talent to talk to the interviewer while keeping things casual.
4. From behind
Shooting from behind is when you place the camera behind your talent. you don’t have to go entirely behind your subject, even going just a bit behind them will do the trick. You can use this angle when you want to intentionally take the viewer out of their ordinary viewpoint. This shot is a great tool to increase tension.
5. The wide room
The wide room is a shot that includes a lot of the surroundings. Usually, it is a significantly less tense angle, and if your subject is loose and fun, it can be a great break away from the tension that a closeup lens creates. You see more of the body, and you also get to see the talent in their natural (or set up) environment. It is a great way to set a lighter tone for an interview.
BTS stands for Behind the Scenes, and this angle shows you that there is more for this shot than an interviewer, a camera, and a talent. A lot is going on, and it’s all there for a reason. Because we care about the talent has to say, and we are willing to make an effort to hear it. There are many ways you can do this, shooting from behind the interviewer, shooting into the monitor, or even taking one camera to the side and simply shooting the entire set. It’s a great shot to establish that something big is going on. If you want to understand the motivation for this shot better, recall how you always got curious when you saw a crew shooting in your neighborhood.
For the underside, you place the camera slightly under the talent. You don’t have to go really low, just a little bit under the eye level looking up. This will make your subject look bigger and have more authority.
In this show, we place the camera higher than the talent. This puts the talent in a weak place. It’s a great shot for when you are trying to stress emotions and vulnerability. A key factor to make this shot work is to have a clear view of the mouth.
9. Fluid Flowing Closeups
This is the only non-static shot of the bunch. Here we follow talents hands with a fluid drag head (the 504x from Manfrotto – it has great control over “fluidity”). This is a great way to take the viewer away from the interview for a second, but it’s also a great way to give some personality to the talent.
This is a great shot when you want to have part of the screen for motion graphics or captions. To pull it off, simply place the camera to the side of your subject.