Shooting Interview Outdoors

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Shooting Interview Outdoors.

Inevitably, your favorite uncle, who you want to interview for your family video biography – documentary (see also How to Make a Documentary), says: “I would like you to do it in my favorite garden (veranda/beach).”  Use all your power of persuasion to convince him to do it indoors where you can control the lighting.  However, favorite uncles being what they are, you may fail and will have to embark on shooting interview outdoors in an unfriendly sound and light environment.

Unless you live in the desert or on the coast of California, you will have to contend with moving clouds and, even in California, deal with the morning fog.  You will have to address expected and unexpected noise from airplanes, leaf blowers, wind and other unwanted sounds.  Try as you might, you will only be able to avoid these natural and man-made nuisances for a very short time.  Plan to have no more than 5 min takes.  It should be long enough for a non-wordy answer.

One of my friends asked me to produce a short marketing spot for her real estate business on … , you guessed it, the beach.

Here is what I did to reduce unwanted elements:

  1. Season: summer, with the early sunrise, before construction workers start their work at the nearby houses, to reduce the noise.
  2. Day: low surf to reduce the noise.
  3. Time: just after sunrise for only 30 min; sun will be too high/strong after 30 min.
  4. Three point lighting: key = sun, 45 degrees to the camera; fill = reflective surface, 45 degrees to the camera; background = seawater reflection.
  5. Microphone: shotgun mike to isolate the speaker from the surf sound.

I was happy with the result.

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