When it comes to filming interviews, there are two main approaches to take. You can have the interview subject look off-camera to someone asking the questions, or you can have the interview subject look directly into the camera, as if they are speaking directly to the audience. While the answer is truly based on the subject of the video and the goals of the project, without a question direct-to-camera interviews are far more personal and impactful when done right.
A Tried and True Method
In the last few months, we have produced several stories using the direct-to-camera interview method. The stories we were filming were extremely personal – a cancer doctor and researcher; a child struggling with a personal crisis; a matrimony that survived a tragedy. The goal of the producer was to directly impact the audience and elicit a genuine emotional reaction. Because the interview subjects were so authentic and the stories they were telling were so personal, we decided direct-to-camera made the most sense.
Here’s how we set it up. The interview subject sits in a chair with the camera directly in front of them. In front of the camera we set up an iPad either on a stand or with a teleprompter configuration. Behind the camera we set up our interviewer in front of a laptop with a webcam. From there, we set up a live stream from the laptop to the iPad so that the interviewee can see the interviewer at the same time they look directly at the camera.
You might think that talking to an inanimate object would be uncomfortable. However, the subjects (one a 16-year-old) showed no fear at the technology and spoke directly to the iPad/camera in a completely natural way. This setup is helping us create some very emotionally impactful – and effective – stories.
Every project is different and sometimes direct-to-camera interviews may not be the right approach. But when the subject-matter fits and the interview subjects are willing to open up, the result will always be great! Let us help you tell your stories in the most impactful way.