Corporate Interview and Testimonial Shoot Set-Up
If you’re an independent filmmaker or plan on entering the video production freelance world as a videographer, camera operator or video producer, chances are high you’ll be filming some interviews or testimonials at some point, especially in the corporate video production world. There are tons of different ways to set up cameras, lights, audio, reflectors and different angles for interview situations. Each cameraman, videographer, filmmaker, director or video producer has his or her own personal preference when shooting “talking heads” testimonials and interviews, so there isn’t really a right or wrong way, only different approaches.
Setting up a corporate video interview
Our video production company here in Vienna films a lot of corporate videos, so our camera team naturally shoots plenty of interviews, testimonials and corporate b-roll footage. Whenever I can, I like to shoot my interviews with multiple cameras (one camera operator for each camera), giving me the option of a more dynamic edit in post-production by providing more camera angles to choose from.
Two camera testimonial set-up
In the cases where I only have one camera on set, I like to “fake” a multi-camera shoot (if time allows): I’ll shoot the entire interview from one camera angle, then re-position my camera, change lenses, and shoot the entire testimonial or interview again.
Using one camera to "fake" a multi-camera video shoot
Another great way I like to make my interviews and testimonial videos a bit more dynamic is by using a camera slider with one of the cameras. It may seem like a subtle effect but it helps tremendously when it comes to adding a bit of energy to an otherwise basic static shot on a tripod. Our camera team uses the Edelkrone slider plus pro on our corporate video shoots, and using it in combination with the target module allows the subject to remain centered on the frame, thereby creating somewhat of a parallax effect to the shot.
Edelkrone slider during a corporate video shoot
For such corporate video shoots I like to keep my lighting set-up as simple as possible. On a regular shooting day when you’re running around having to set-up multiple interviews, testimonials, B-roll shots (staged and non-staged) it’s crucial for the video team to be able to efficiently and effectively move around and quickly set up the next shot. This is especially true in cases where you have a small camera crew on set, or work as a sole videographer for a particular video production (unfortunately it can happen often).
Our production crew here in Austria tends to use two LED production lights on our interview or testimonial subjects (read the full review on the LEDs we use HERE). One light will normally be diffused and used as our key light, while the second LED we keep behind the subject to use as a back light, separating the interviewer a bit from the background. Depending on the production, we might use a fill light to remove a bit of the shadow casted on the subject’s face, but more often than not we’ll keep a bit of contrast there.
Back light and diffused key light for a corporate shoot
You'd be surprised with what videographers can accomplish with only one light. Bouncing light off any reflective surface goes a long way when it comes to giving your subject some nice, even lighting across their face. In this shot below, our video production crew needed to keep our talent relatively close to the wall in order for us to fit both cameras in the narrow hallway. We pointed our light directly at the wall, thereby bouncing a warm and soft light into our subject's face while simultaneously using that same LED as a rim/hair light.
Production light on the top-right of the picture, bouncing off the wall
One LED light used as both a hair and key-light
Videographers and filmmakers alike will tell you how crucial it is to record high-quality audio in any video production, and that it's even more important than the actual video quality itself. They’re right! Your video crew and camera operators can film interviews and testimonials with all the latest Hollywood filmmaking gear available, but if your sound sucks, you might as well flush it all down the toilet because no one will watch it. Trust me, don’t test this!
There are a few different ways to set up your audio, but for 90% of our corporate interviews our video crew’s preferred method is a wireless lavalier microphone system, namely the Rodelink Wireless connected via XLR to the Canon C100 Mark II. When budget allows, our camera team will run dual-audio by also having an audio technician record the sound separately with a boom-pole and shotgun microphone set-up.
Setting up the wireless lavalier mic
This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corporate video interviews and testimonials, my intention with this blog post was to summarize in a nutshell how our video production company here in Austria deals with these fast-paced, short turnaround time corporate shoots. I'd be delighted to know what you guys think and how other videographers, cameramen and production companies handle similar shooting situations.
Posted by Vitor Goncalves
Vitor is a filmmaker, cameraman and editor based in Vienna, Austria. He is the owner of Reel Arts Media.