video techniques

Sit-Down Interviews

When doing a sit-down interview with a subject where the reporter will be asking questions of the person, start with a set-up shot from behind and to one side or the other of the reporter that focuses on the person talking while the questions are asked.

Because this shot will show the person at an angle, leave extra room in the shot in the direction the person is looking (rather than centering the person in the middle of the frame).

Then do a wider angle shot from the same position that includes the reporter while the subject of the interview is responding to a question.

Finally, move your camera to get a frontal shot of the reporter listening to the person - which is called a reverse shot or cut-away. This is shot from behind the person being interviewed. And again get both a close-up and a wider angle shot.

It's important that in this reverse or cut-away shot, you position the camera on the same side of the room as it was when you did the first shot from behind the reporter.

So visualize that there's an axis that runs from the interviewee to the reporter. When you are taking your first shot from behind and to one side of the reporter, stay on the same side of that axis when you move the camera to do the front-on shot of the reporter.

You generally do not film the reporter actually asking the questions - just the answers of the interviewee and/or the reporter listening while the questions are answered.