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Planning guide for interview videos

If you are booking a video recording of an interview, pieces to camera, or vox pops, please keep in mind the following:

    Most interviews need to be shot in a quiet area unless the background action is a feature of what's being discussed. When choosing a room, please keep in mind that we ideally need a visually interesting location. For instance, rooms such as the Drumstick room are very bare and so don't offer interesting backgrounds. We can always dress a room with "corporate plants", banners and light slashes but a visually interesting location is quicker to set-up in! Please keep in mind that views through a window rarely work as a background. The challenge with windows is that we need to throw a lot of light onto a subject to compete with the huge light the "Gaffer in the Sky" uses. The other challenge is that He also uses filters, in the form of clouds, that can vary the exposure of the background and He also moves his light over time which can cause continuity issues! We prefer to control the lighting in a room as much as possible so, if there are window, will tend to drop the diffusion blinds or shoot towards backgrounds that don't feature the windows. Also, before committing to a room, listen out for background noises. Is the air-conditioning very loud? Are there hard floors outside which will echo the many Nestlé stilettoed footsteps? Is there a big meeting room next door that could cause a noise issue during the shoot? Is the room near the lifts so are lift door and lift arrival pinging noises audible?

    We will need access to the room or area you have booked for the shoot 90 minutes prior to the start time in order to allow us sufficient time to bump the video gear in, set-up the cameras, microphones, lights, etc.

    For a shoot, we generally need parking spaces to be booked with security for the crew. If the shoot is taking place in Building D, Crystal and AJ are used to us coming in so the normal procedure is that they allow us into the basement car park loading dock to unload our gear. They then provide us with a lift and carpark pass. We then move the vehicles out to the outside car park if there are no spaces available underground.

    In the booking form, there is an area to provide more details about your requirements. It would be helpful if you would let us know:- how many people we will be interviewing during the session; - if we will be featuring more than one person at a time; - if there is an "interviewer" or if we're just capturing self-contained answers from the interviewees.

    If the format of the shoot is pieces direct to camera - you should consider adding the teleprompter and operator option. Many people claim they will be fine without a prompter but, once in front of the camera, even the best live presenters can sometimes freeze. If the pieces to camera are very short, we do have an iPad prompter in our kit that we can bring along at no extra charge. It is a bit fiddly to use and we wouldn't recommend it for long pieces to camera but it can be a useful. Again, please request it in the booking form as we don't tend to bring it along to all shoots.

    Please send us any branding elements and guidelines you have created for this project. We will use these in the titles and name supers.

    The usual other video dress guidelines also apply: NO fine patterns and prints, herringbones or thin pinstripes as these can cause a shimmering effect (moiré pattern lines) on video which is distracting to the viewer. We have found that the very fine herringbone on Polo pale blue shorts can also cause an issue as although they look like a solid colour from a distance, the video camera picks up the fine pattern and "strobes". So, bold patterns and plain colours are preferred from our perspective.

  • And just to make life really difficult, pure white and pure black tops/jackets/shirts, as well as any bright red and orange colours tend to render poorly on video. So, if male speakers intend to just wear shirt sleeves and no jacket, then a blue, grey, light coloured or bold striped shirt is preferred.

  • Ladies, jewellery can also be a problem as dangly bracelets, earrings and necklaces can jangle and be distracting on the audio.

  • And finally, ladies, ideally not a dress in case we need to attach a wireless radio microphone - we need to clip the wireless transmitter somewhere so a skirt or jacket pocket make that a lot easier!

    There are a number of ways to shoot interviews. If it is a traditional interviewer/interviewee set-up, we tend to shoot that with a single camera. The process is that we shoot the interviewee answering the questions first and then let the interviewee go and reposition the lighting and camera to shoot the interviewer's questions and "noddies" - head nods and moves that we cut into the final video to cover any cuts and to establish the interviewer! The challenge with this approach is that the interviewer needs to stick to their scripted questions so they can repeat them verbatim when we shoot their angle. Our approach for shooting this kind of scenario is to set-up a second camera that provides a two-shot of the interviewer and interviewee. This angle can then be used for any interjections and adds more visual variety.

    If the shoot is going to involve lots of different interviews, it might also be worth considering adding in a second camera and operator. This is the approach we use for a number of our other clients who want to record a their interviewer interviewing a procession of different interviewees. The advantage here is that, once the lighting and cameras have been set-up, it is very quick to shoot the interviews.

    Our standard kit contains two radio lapel microphones and one boom microphone.If we're using two cameras, we tend to prefer to mic the interview using two boom mics. If the format includes a panel of speakers, please let us know as we will need to assess how we will capture the audio. We may need to hire in additional equipment or a sound recordist with equipment.

    After the shoot, we will aim to provide you with a first cut within ten working days. If you need the video faster than that, please let us know beforehand and we'll schedule it accordingly.

    To speed up the video review process, we use a system that allows you to easily supply feedback on our edits. This password protected solution allows us to share the video with whoever needs to provide feedback and allows the reviewers to easily leave comments on what they're viewing. These comments are then collated and listed in one place to make it easier for us to manage and make the required changes. No more emails or spreadsheets of changes for you to bother with.

    Once you've hit the "Approved" button on our review system, you can then simply hit the "download" button to accessed the finished video. We can also provide Dropbox or password protected Vimeo links if those options are easier for you. For internal distribution within Nestlé, you'll then just need to upload the final mp4 file onto the in-house Contiki video distribution platform.

    If you would like to make the final video available for public viewing, we can remove the password protection on the Vimeo file. We can also format it and upload it to YouTube for you if you would prefer. Remember, you will need signed permission forms from your speakers and Nestlé branding/legals may also need consulting beforehand!

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