Setting Up Lenses for Interviews
Interviews make up a large chunk of corporate videos. When setting up these shots there is very little difference from that of filming a documentary or cinematic sit-down shot. You might have to ask if the client wants a single or a double camera setup and the choice is not just aesthetic. There are dramatic effects that can be implemented with a double shot as well as the functionality of having backup footage. You can get away with re-positioning the single camera setup but then you have a slew of consistency problems to worry about. There is a lot to be said about which lenses you chose for each of these setups and the types of lenses needed for close-up interviews do make a huge difference.
For single camera setups your best option is to start with a prime lens at 50mm and then switch to a zoom lens of over 70mm. 70mm is an excellent choice for this but you can go as high as a 200mm. You can set the shot up once and will not have move for the close-up shot; simply switch the lens and use the zoom feature when ready. If you can’t afford the zoom lens then try to set the shot up with enough room to be able to move forward with the 50mm prime lens. This will still give you a wonderful, professional looking output.
With a two camera setup you will be able to set up the prime lens on camera A and the zoom lens on camera B so you can get the entire interview in one take, ideally. This feature will allow one camera, the 50mm, to stay stationary while the zoom lens camera moves around the subject. You always have your stable footage and then some close ups from various angles to edit in later.
Another option for a two camera setup is to treat them both like the one camera setup where you prime both shots with 50mm lenses then switch to 70mm or wider when needed. The idea being that your cameras are pointed in opposing directions is you want to include two speakers engaging in a dialogue or pointed at the same speaker to capture a front and side view.
The goal is to capture the best footage possible but it should obstruct with the information in the interview so discuss the options with the person on the screen and let them know they should feel at ease and your intent is to capture the best image possible of them.