Interview Shots – David Douglas


Common mistake with interview shots.


shot 2

Correct close-up/interview shot.


The purpose of this blog is to show the right and wrong ways of setting up shots while interviewing.  The top picture on left hand side shows what your shot should not look like when interviewing someone. Also notice how you are able to see the cord from the microphone.

On the right hand side, notice how little space you space above the head, how tight the shot is, and the alignment of is body is towards the right. A combination of these three make a great shot of your interviewee while creating a well put to together shot when lower-thirds are added. If you ever watch news channels or interviews notice how tight (close) the shot is. Most close shots are from the chest up, but it could depend on what angle you are conducting you are filming from.

From this post you should have an idea of what a proper close up or tight shot should look like. Before you leave this post spot out what catches your eye in both shots, and how it should be corrected.

Post your comment below regarding what can be done to improve both shots!

One thought on “Interview Shots – David Douglas

  1. brucegetz says:

    Nice post, David. This is an important topic, as the interview is pivotal to successful video production across multiple genres.

    The great thing about the interview is that it allows the viewer an opportunity to connect to the story, and the person telling that story. Think about it…would you rather listen to a story from someone who heard about an event, or from someone who was actually there to see it happen? Most of us would choose to learn about an event from someone who was there, so videographers use the interview as the go-to technique for gathering first-hand information. As you mentioned in your post, the framing of the interview is very important.

    Beyond basic framing techniques, attention should also be paid to what else is in the frame. Inexperienced shooters often try to frame their interviews so that the frame is filled, and there is some action or object related to the story behind the person being interviewed. This is perfectly illustrated in the first photo you posted. The person being interviewed in your example is most likely a firefighter, and the shooter has tried to make sure that there are fire trucks, firefighters, and lots of other action going on behind him. While it may seem important to pack as much information and action into the frame as possible, it is very distracting to the viewer. In order to help viewers focus and maintain attention on the person being interviewed, and the subject of the story itself, frame your shot so that the person being interviewed is easily identified as the main source of action and information. Controlling your shot so that your subject is tightly framed, and within a relatively tight depth of field (like your second example) allows the viewer to easily focus on who is speaking, and not be distracted by anything in the background.

    Check out this video from Ultimate PhotoGuide on background chaos. The context of the video is photography, but the techniques can be directly applied to video production and interview techniques.

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