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!

Images from the road – our second video post

Below is a video of some of the beautiful sights we saw in three of the four maritime provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) plus Quebec.

Adrian writes: There is a rugged beauty to the maritime provinces, and the lure of the ocean is very strong.  But given the number of monuments to fisherman (and women) lost at sea, these waters are clearly not to be taken lightly.  The resemblance to the English countryside is very obvious to me and I see where Nova Scotia gets its name (New Scotland). Following the St. Laurence River upstream, we went to Quebec City and Montreal. Both are incredibly European cities and would make great vacations spots without going all the way to Europe.  
For those of you who don’t know, Quebec is the French-speaking part of Canada.  I noticed that everywhere in Canada, almost everything is bilingual English and French. In Quebec everything is in French and occasionally you can find a menu in english.  I won’t draw any conclusions or judgements from this but it is just an observation.

Documentary Update:

The crowdfunder for Immigration: Seeking Solutions just passed the 33% mark toward our goal of raising funds for post-production. We’d love your support at any level.
We will provide another update on our travels and the documentary soon.

Atlantic Canada

Current location: Truro, Nova Scotia Canada (eh)
Temperature: 72F, 22C 
Craziest sighting since last post: A truck coming at us on a narrow one-way cobblestone street in downtown Boston.  Adrian had heard stories about how difficult driving in Bean Town is, and they were all gross understatements.  
Since last post we have driven 1291miles across two states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine), across an international border, and two Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

We have experienced so much in the past week. First off, we now know there are two cities for which Google Maps is really terrible: Boston and Halifax.  In both cities, directions were given that were absolutely not legal or possible to follow and regularly given just dumb or dangerous suggestions. But good teamwork got us out of both safely!

Make way for ducklings!

On the way to Boston, we visited with Shane, then Ravi, Sonia and family in Milton, and Ma’ayan in Somerville.

We also caught a Red Sox game! Adrian has always wanted to see Fenway Park, so it was a happy chance that they were in town.
Fun factoid, did you know that if someone manages to hit a home run over the Green Monster and the ball bounces off the lights and lands on the field it is still a home run?  We experienced this first hand at the game!
We then headed north and crossed the border, where we had a unexpectedly pleasant conversation with the Canadian Border guard.
We camped for several nights along the Bay of Fundy, and the shores of Nova Scotia. This is a place Polly had been before and as always, was overwhelmed by beauty.
Bay of Fundy at low tide — can you find Adrian? (New River Beach, New Brunswick)

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Sunset (outside the tent view)

Best campsite ever (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)

We also saw four Bald Eagles from fairly close up, more than either of us has seen in the US in our whole lives. But we did not even have a phone available for any of them — how unprofessional!
This trip is not just beautiful sunsets.  Last Friday, we launched the crowdfunding campaign for our documentary.  Big thank you to those who have supported us so far! We will continue to update progress in upcoming posts.
We are also hard at work scheduling interviews for the documentary. One intriguing conversation we’ve confirmed is with an immigration lawyer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  
One thought-provoking conversation we had was with an old film buddy of Polly’s in Halifax. Sadly he said that he was uncomfortable with the idea of traveling to the US due to reports of increased issues with Immigration, especially ICE.  
We are heading to Prince Edward Island in the morning, and then on to Quebec. Look for another update next week!

Crowdfunding kicks off!

Today’s the day!
We’re excited to say that today we are kicking off our crowdfunding campaign for our documentary Immigration: Seeking Solutions.

You can learn more and be part of the campaign by going to the Indiegogo page.
In the documentary we are asking: “What would a successful immigration system in the United States look like?” We are setting up interviews with people who have a range of points of view and experiences, to get a full spectrum of possible solutions, and to look for common ground among those solutions.  
We welcome suggestions for people to talk to.
We are paying for pre-production and production out of our own pocket, but we are raising money to make sure we can give this project the time and attention it needs to finish it up once we get back home.
Follow this blog for updates. You can also spread the word on social media with hashtag “#seekingsolutions.”

On The Road: Martha's Vineyard

Current location: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Temperature: As high as 85, but a lovely 72 today – our most comfortable temperature of the trip so far!
Since last post we drove: 597 miles across four states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.  

Loudest sound of the week: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, or possibly the Blue Angels practicing next door over Lake Erie
Along the way, we stopped and visited friends in Whately Mass.  We stayed in their super-cool tree house!

We also enjoyed time with their kids, lots of mosquitoes, chickens, cows. And did we mention a treehouse?!  Plus a beautiful hike up Sugarloaf Mountain (it’s technically a hill at 265 feet, but we will let them call it a mountain).

Now we are in Martha’s Vineyard visiting old friends, swimming in the ocean, visiting local dining establishments and enjoying a film festival. And of course catching up on work we have not be able to do on the road, like this blog post.

Since our arrival, we’ve been hearing interesting stories about the Portuguese and Brazilian immigrants and would-be immigrants on the island. These have resonated with what we’ve heard elsewhere as we’ve begun research for our documentary project.
More on that soon, but our next post will be a vlog of some of the cool things we’ve seen so far as captured on video.  Stay tuned!

On the Road: Ohio

Current location: Columbus, Ohio
Temperature: 88
Since last post, we’ve driven: 458 miles across Indiana and Ohio
Yesterday we arrived at the home of our friends Danny and Susan, college colleagues of Polly’s.  Great to have two days in the same place which gave us the opportunity to do laundry and record a video for the crowdfunding page related to our documentary Seeking Solutions: Immigration. More details soon!

Plus we got to play Danny’s board game Big Bad Overlord. Good times!


The Road Trip Has Begun!

Current location: Effingham, IL
High temperature: 101 degrees at a humid rest stop in Missouri
Weirdest sight of the day: Man running across I-70 right in front of our car. Eep!
We left Denver on Sunday, August 26, with all of our possessions either in our car or our storage unit.
In the first three days, we’ve driven 953 miles across four states (three just today!) and had a successful visit with family.
Yesterday we had the moving experience of visiting the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas. Having recently read The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schools in America, we know there’s much work yet to be done to get to truly integrated and equal schools in this country.
This is the mural that was commissioned to be painted across the street from the site: 
What are we doing on this trip? We are visiting friends, family and beautiful places. But we are also making a documentary. More on that in coming posts!

Mile High Community Band: Video project

We just finished up a fun project filming the Mile High Community Band’s jazz combo (The Combonians) as they rehearsed a few songs.  The videos will be used to help market the band to venues and to attract new band members.  I love jazz and am honored to have the opportunity to help spread the word of this uniquely American art form.  Please take a few moments to enjoy these three jazz standards.