Tips for where to shoot and what to wear for a video interview

What does it take to conduct a successful interview for a documentary film or corporate video?  Well, many things. For this post, let’s talk about the most impactful things to think about in terms of location and dress.  

When filming in a location that is not a studio, it is best to find a location that is free of unwanted atmospheric noises, like street noises, unrelated conversations, copiers, coffee makers etc. If at all possible, turn off the HVAC in the room during the interview. As far as lighting goes, fluorescent lights generally provide very poor lighting, and sometimes hum, so are best turned off. North-facing windows provide good soft natural light so if you want to use available light make a great choice. But for the most control of the lighting, turn off all lights and close the blinds and curtains, and bring a good set of lights. Finally, remember to unplug any phones and set mobile phones to silent and activate airplane mode.  

As for what to sit on, use a chair or stool that doesn’t squeak, creak, roll, or recline. If the interview is short enough, standing is a good option too.

The last big thing to think about is what the subject should wear. A shirt of solid color is best, or large patterns (typical flannel patterns are fine). Small stripes or other small repetitive color patterns like a herringbone can create visually distracting effects so they are best avoided.  Cloth textures like waffle weaves or denim are most likely ok, it really is the color patterns to worry about. A shirt with a collar is helpful to attach a small microphone. If there is a plan to use a green screen then on-screen subjects must not wear any shade of green (or blue if the screen is blue).  One last consideration is avoid any obvious third party logos being visible on the clothing (Nike Swoosh on breast pocket of shirt for example).

Most likely, the filming will be from the waist up, so pants, skirts, etc. are not a big consideration, but if they will be in the shot, the same ideas apply.

There are lots of other details to pay attention to, but these are the must haves. Good luck on your next shoot!

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