This week, the California-based Slice Editorial hired SVG to record client testimonial video interviews at the Charles Schwab Impact Convention.
Taking place at the Massachusetts Convention and Exhibition Center, we were able to set up in a large room with our equipment and, most excitingly, our green screen!
Arriving on Tuesday night to create and tweak the setup, our DP and audio recordist assessed the environment and decided how to create the shot. We first set up the portable green screen, a large anti-wrinkle piece of rectangular fabric clamped firmly to a couple of stands. Wrinkles are the enemy when using a green screen, so making sure the surface was completely flat was extremely important. We were also able to export a test recording on site and experiment with how it would look once the background image was placed.
Next, lights were built around it to ensure that the subjects would not appear flushed or flat from the fluorescent overheads. Chuck used two bi-color LED lights and several floods to create the right composition that would focus and flatter the subjects. It’s important that interviews are well-lit, otherwise, harsh shadows may convey a noir type interrogation mood that doesn’t quite fit the intention. It was also important to light the set correctly because many of our subjects had blonde hair, so a green reflection from the screen behind them was a potential problem.
Our recordist was concerned about sound pollution because the room was located right off the main hallway, and we could easily hear people talking and laughing from outside. To combat this, we set up some sound blankets in a triangular shape around the subject and the lights to insulate the acoustics as much as possible. He also used audio filters to cover a loud hum in the room. This is a typical concern when shooting an event video, but there are always ways to ameliorate the issue before hitting record.
To ensure that the subject’s attention was focused at the camera, our interviewer utilized an eyeliner. This is a device that is mounted to the tripod directly in front of the camera and allows the lens to pass through and capture the image without distortion but also (from the perspective of the subject) project the face of the interviewer over the lens using mirrors inside of the structure. Although it seems like an odd concept, this makes the subject feel as though they are having a conversation with the interviewer rather than performing in front of a camera. While reducing anxiety for those unaccustomed to being on camera, it also ensures that the speaker talks to the camera, creating a more direct and informative shot for the DP and, ultimately, the audience. For any business-oriented video, it is always necessary for the subjects to be able to exude confidence and passion in what they’re speaking about in order to really connect with the audience.
Sasha, our interviewer, flew into Boston on Tuesday night to help set up and practice using the eyeliner with our team. Our DP also set up his Sony FS3 prior to the early morning call so we would be ready to roll as soon as the talent arrived. Small adjustments were also attended to, such as using scraps of black cloth for masking the shot, something we always make sure to keep handy on set for those last minute perfections.
The steady stream of interviews on Wednesday kept us all busy, but we had fun interacting with each of our subjects and perfecting sound bites for the final cut. Incorporating many different talking heads to offer their unique points of view on a single topic is a very effective video marketing strategy because it allows for the audience to see a diverse presentation of opinions. The footage we collected covered a large array of topics and is sure to make for a truly effective compilation.