How to Frame the Perfect Video Interview

Think framing is just about the right angle? Think again. Positioning your subject, establishing the proper space above your Subject's head, and choosing the right background for your Subject and the video's message — they all contribute to great framing and the video's ultimate impact. Capturing video with optimal lighting, crystal clear audio, and a great script all contribute to the success of your video content. But without a well-framed video that pulls the viewer in with visually compelling shots, even the most perfectly executed sound and lighting won’t keep the viewer’s attention. Framing is both an art and a science. Watch Parker Walbeck's "8 Steps to Shooting Interviews" to get the perfect shot.

How should you center Subjects?

A good trick is to follow the “rule of thirds,” long considered the most aesthetically pleasing way to frame video, photos and paintings. Imagine a 3X3 grid on top of your video shot — or,  just turn on the framing grids on your camera. A viewer’s eyes are naturally drawn to where the lines intersect, so line up your Subject’s face and other focal points so they intersect with lines in the first or second third of the shot.

 

 How can you add depth to video shots?

You probably lost count of how many videos you’ve seen with people standing against a wall and speaking to the camera. This type of shot will always look flat, and potentially create shadows behind your Subject. To add dimension, pull your Subject a few feet off the wall or, if space allows, film them in the middle of the room. If your Subject won’t be speaking directly to the camera, you can also angle their body for additional depth.
 

What backgrounds are best for video?

While we’re on the topic, let’s dig into the background itself. Not just important for depth, what’s behind your Subject impacts the video’s appearance and message. When selecting a backdrop, consider your subject’s clothing and skin tone. If your subject has pale skin or wears a white shirt, you may not want to shoot them in front of a white wall. Additionally, natural settings can create more dynamic and interesting shots, and help convey core messaging points. A video featuring a surgeon, for example, works better in a patient room or doctor office than in front of a fireplace.
 

Should your Subject sit down or stand up?

Your Subject will look best if you film them standing, from the waist up. Seated subjects tend not to slouch and not project themselves, which can make your final video less engaging. One problem with a standing Subject is that they tend to move more... or get tired. So if you have a choice, I'd say for longer interviews have them sitting. For shorter pieces, have them standing.
 

How far away should your Subject place the camera?

The optimal space between your camera and Subject depends on the person’s height and camera lens. Start by positioning your shot three to five feet away, and make incremental adjustments as needed.
 

How should you angle your video camera at Subjects?

Once you have the right space between you and your Subject, adjust the camera’s height and angle. You will want to position the camera at your Subject’s eyeline and shoot straight-on.


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