On September 16th #TEAMTCCWB traveled to Wichita Falls, Texas for a weekend of interviews, photoshoots, learning, and lots of coffee! We all have learned so much about what it takes to set up an interview space, how to interview different subjects, but most of all what it means to take risks.
Each of us had a certain level of comfort when it came to the tasks that needed to be done, but in order to truly embrace what is at Beautiful Social’s core, we needed to adapt, take the risks that were necessary, and continue to learn and grow as students. Our group could not be more proud of the work we have done in Texas, and we cannot wait to continue our work with this amazing cause.
The Set Up
Before you begin asking the questions, deciding your editing style, and pressing record on the camera, you must first ‘set up the space’. Our group has learned that this step is crucial to making the entire project a success, and it quickly became our favorite part of the process; because finally being able to correctly set up that tripod you could never work is the BEST feeling, trust us.
“Be sure to listen. To your group members, your client, and your interviewee-be aware of their needs first. Don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable, your going to be, just be in the moment and embrace all that you will learn!”
- Fix glares created by windows, pictures frames, etc. in your shot
- Lighting should look natural and not too harsh
- You may need to get rid of a shadow, or you may want to create one
- Anticipate changes in lighting based on the size of your subject
To help with lighting technicalities review this 1 minute video for assistance:
- Place two cameras in different places in order to capture the interview from different angles
- Don’t forget to fully charge your battery and also have extras on hand!
- Having two microphones ensures that you get good audio
- A voice recorder adds backup just in case something goes wrong with the mic
- The lav mic gets pinned to the subject’s shirt for the best quality recording
- One person should clap in front of the camera before the interview begins so that the audio and video can be synched up during the editing process
- At the end of the interview the interviewer should ask for 30 seconds of silence so that it can be edited into the interview later on if necessary
- The set should be completely quiet before the interview begins so that there is no extra noise in the audio footage
- Your background should be a clean setting/pleasing to the eye/not too cluttered
- Place the subject in a way that looks natural and feels comfortable for them
- You’ll need to have proper seating for the subject(s)
- Be sure that you choose a set where people will not be walking in and out during your interview
- Try to find a spot that has some kind of 3D angles (a corner instead of a blank wall for instance) as that will be more pleasing to the eye
- Make sure there is a set time of the interview length
- Pause between questions and tell the subject to pause before answering
- Making sure that your recorder, cameras, mics, and external mics are all on and rolling before you begin your interview
- Clapping in front of the camera after everything has begun recording and before the interview begins will allow you to go back and sync everything up during the editing process
Placement of people
The interviewer should be positioned where you want the subject to be looking during the interview
Most likely you will have two cameras to give your video a variety of shots. In both angles, the subject should be placed according to the golden ratio.
You can find a description of the golden ratio here… https://youtu.be/wH32LujS9Yg
Sound person should be placed close to the interview, in sight of the interviewer to signal and have a view of any open spaces and doors to warn others to be quiet.
Other people in room should be placed facing the interview and should remain in the same spot for the duration of the interview
Except for the photographer, who can walk around while creating as little noise and distraction as possible
Before you begin your interview it is important to go over an agenda with your client. This way, they understand what you wish to accomplish in regards to the project, and are not blindsided by anything you ask/do. With this said, know what your agenda is, and what ideas you have for the project at hand.
Whether you are traveling across the country or across campus, having backup equipment is always necessary. You never know what your space contains, which means cord might not reach or air conditioning may be very loud. With this said, always have with you:
- Extension cords
- Extra microphones
- Extra camera
- Lav Mic
- Tripods for mics
- Tripods for cameras
- Cowboy Lighting Kit
- Light Bulbs
- SD Cards(blank)
- Black Cloth(background for portraits)
While these are the things that we used, your equipment may vary depending on your task. It is best to make your own equipment and production checklist with your group.
Testing 1, 2, 3
Before you begin officially recording, make sure that the mics, lights, and cameras are working. It will look unprofessional to bring in the subject, record, and find out that you have to redo the entire interview. After you set up the equipment, film a short clip of someone talking into the lav mic to assure that you have a visual and audio recording. Before you start to record, make sure everyone is in their place and clap in front of the camera to synch the sound.
“Get to know your group and encourage each other to step out of your comfort zones. Some people might be really talented at things that they are too timid to attempt. Switch roles so that everyone can have the same experience.”
As a group, this is where we individually learned the most, as we each took on a different role for each interview we did. Of course we all had our preferences and felt the most comfortable in certain areas, we still allowed ourselves the opportunity to try something different, learn, and embrace the difficult. Each role during the interview process is important to the development of your project, and thus its overall success.
“Conducting the interview can be scary. Try to imagine that you’re just talking to a friend. Ask questions that would make sense in a normal conversation, and use your body language to reassure the subject that you’re engaged. And don’t talk too fast!”
You are in charge of the show! First, make sure you know your subject and if you don’t, introduce yourself. Before the cameras start rolling, make the subject comfortable by asking simple questions about their day or if they have ever been interiewed before. While you are comforting your subject before all the lights and cameras in their face, make sure you are relaxed and calm. If you’re nervous, it will make your subject nervous. You and the subject are having a conversation but nerves can sometimes speed up the pacing of questions and answers. Sloooooooow down with answering and moving on to the next question so you will be able to cut the film in post production. Nodding and eye contact communicates that you are listening without being rude about not verbally responding immediately. You should prepare with a few questions but do not push an agenda. Be respectful and engage in the conversation by asking follow up questions. Above all, be sure that the subject answers to you, and not the camera, and if others in the room ask a question make sure that they still know to respond to you.
Sound & Recorder:
In this role, you are first responsible for making sure microphones are placed on the subject in such a way that it is not visible from the view of the camera. Then, make sure the backup mic is placed at a proper distance from the subject and working. Most importantly, make sure that the lav mics are turned ON. Having both microphones acts as reassurance that the sound will be there when you go to edit.
This person is also responsible for the voice recorder and making sure it is on and working. The recorder should be placed on a soft surface to avoid any possible vibrations. This recorder is where you will plug in your headphones and how you will listen while the interview is taking place. Make sure that it is quiet on set and background noise is to a minimum. If this problem does arise, wait until the subject stops speaking and then pause the interview.
Note-taker & Timer:
In this role, you are responsible for keeping notes during the interview. These notes will prove very important later on during the editing process when you want to know what exactly took place in what interview and at what time. It is best to assign two notetakers so you will have varied points of view of what stuck out during the interview. As a notetaker you must actively pay attention to the interview taking place, which means you are responsible to make sure that the key points your group wants met are discussed. You can take notes on quotes that stand out, keywords you want to remember or themes.
Camera time- 2:35 “They changed our life”
Your notes will allow you to see any overlapping topics that may occur and this will help you figure out your focus for the project. These notes that your group takes will act as a guide, so use them for future reference!
As the photographer, your job is to make sure what your team is doing during your site visit is appropriately documented, which means photos, videos, tweets, etc.! When you go about taking photos during the interview, be mindful of how much sound you are making, as it is easily picked up on the microphones, as well as it can be distracting for the interviewee. Be sure to take photos from all angles that way you have many options to choose from, and they all do not look the same. We found it best to use an iPhone so there would be no shutter sound present in the video.
After the interview is finished be sure to take a still shot of your subject with a solid background. Documenting the emotions after the interview with a photograph is useful for content and is a deliverable you can present early to your subject.
“Don't be afraid to try something you've never done before. There are so many opportunities to learn during this process, so embrace it! Be confident in yourself and amazing things can happen.”
It is important to remember that you are working with a client, these are real people in the real world. This means we must treat them with the utmost respect and professionalism, as we are not only representing ourselves, but also Beautiful Social.
As dress code goes, dress appropriately, but comfortably. You will be moving all around whether you are setting up or tearing down a set. Be sure to respect the space you are in. Though you must be mindful of how you want your scene to be, you must also take into account what your client would and would not like you to move around, and be aware of their feelings throughout the whole process.
When meeting your client and those who you are interviewing always introduce yourself and shake their hand, and be sure to thank these people for the time that they have given up in order to help you.
Throughout your time working with your client and others, be mindful of your phone use. Though you will be actively taking photos, videos, tweeting, and timing, you must also realize that you are there to do a job, and not come across as rude. If you are constantly checking your phone you will miss out on this amazing opportunity you have of helping someone else!