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How to Interview for a Documentary Film

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When you interview a person for a documentary, the best way to do it is this. You could videotape them in your living room, you could videotape them at work, whatever. But just make sure you do it in a quiet place where you don't have any background noise, because again you want the audio to be as good as possible. For lights, you usually have to have a big light in front of them, one to kind of back light them. It's really important that also the lights reflect in their eyes, that you have pin pricks of light in their eyes, because it just makes them seem more alive and more engaging. They never ever should be looking at the camera. If someone is asking them questions, the interviewer should be seated alongside the camera, so that when they're talking they are looking off the side like this, as opposed to the camera. And when they're doing the interview and when they first start talking, they'll be nervous and they'll be going like back and forth, back and forth. And you have to remind them: look at the interviewer. So it's always good to have another person there, and you put him in a chair right next to the camera, so the person talking can just focus on them. And after a while, they'll forget about the camera. And because they are usually... if never been interviewed at all, and this is like a whole new experience for them, they are nervous. These people are nervous. So the first couple of questions you ask them- ask them again you know towards the end, because they'll give you much better answers, and they'll be more relaxed. It will flow more. It will be a lot better. So definitely repeat those last couple questions. In terms of the questions, I'll send them a list of what I might ask them beforehand. I'll e-mail them you know so they could get prepared. When they're answering the questions, since I don't have any voice-over narration, and I have the people in the documentary tell the story, I ask them a question like, "When did you first start doing this?" or "When did you first start having a reaction to the disease?" or whatever. I'll have them paraphrase the question into their answer, so they'll kind of like you know rephrase it. So you know they'll be making a statement as opposed to you know sounding like they are answering the question. So that's really important, because you want them to convey all the information as clearly (you know) as possible. You don't necessarily have to have a sit down interview, like what I'm doing now. You could have (I mean) a... You could do like a handheld interview if they're out and about (you know) at work, or doing some type of sport, or something. It just adds more variety rather than just have like a talking head. So the more varied... (You could do both.) (You know.) The more varied, the better.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 33 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Kevin Lindenmuth
Director: Kevin Lindenmuth
Views: 96
Posted by: greenbo on May 13, 2011

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