As a documentary film maker, it’s your responsibility to accurately and responsibly represent someone on screen. That means giving careful thought to how you structure and edit their interview, so they’re not taken out of context.
The challenges of editing are many and have to be tackled with great care. Some people’s interviews are easy to edit on their own, but tricky to fit into a broader story. Other interviews are downright frustrating, but essential to the film. Some interviews present ethical challenges. Some (hopefully most) slide seamlessly into your film.
As with all video productions, getting your sound right is crucial for an interview. It’s said that we’re more likely to put up with bad visuals than bad sound, so it’s important to get it right. And it’s not fair on your interviewee to have to go through everything again because you didn’t get it right first time.
You point your camera at your subject, but there’s a bit more to it than that. There are various ways to film an interview, and each produces a different look to your production. Plus, if your editing is going to be successful, you’ll need to have more than just the interviewee on screen.
Watching someone talk about interview technique is one thing, but having a microphone in hand and a camera at your side with all eyes on you as you prepare to ask questions is a whole other ball game. Pressure can be high, so in this lesson we go through and set some practical exercises to help build your skills, and most importantly your confidence.
You have the best subject to interview, you have your head in the right place and your questions and thread sorted, but how do you behave? This lesson is all about rhythm, reading the signs, and knowing how to act in such a way that you get the very best from your subject. You’ll also learn why the second time can sometimes be better.
Putting someone in front of a camera and asking them questions can be brutal. In this lesson you will learn how to lessen the impact of the process of filming an interview and put your interviewee more at ease.
Most documentaries have interviews in them: The interviews add weight to the subject matter and offer expert testimony or alternative points of view. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to research and select people to interview for your own documentary film.
The documentary film, in the literal sense, is a filmic document of something that happened. It is presented as non-fiction. Documentaries take a wide variety of styles and viewpoints, from cutting edge social documentaries, to dramatic historical documentaries, to perspective-shifting nature documentaries, and so on: the list is truly endless, and you can, of course, document anything.
While video technology is moving rapidly, the format of documentary hardly ever changes. You have your interview or dialogue for A-roll, and then everything else is B-roll. The interview format doesn’t change much because anything new or snazzy could distract audiences from the heart of a documentary, the story.
With passion, curiosity and an entrepreneurial spirit, Cameron has crafted an inspiring career working in technology and design.
Chris Coyier is the designer, developer and cofounder of CodePen, the “playground for the front-end side of the web.” He also writes about all technology-related topics at CSS-Tricks and talks about technology on his podcast, ShopTalk.
Meet Dan Cederholm, co-founder of Dribble. Dan is an award-wining web designer, musician, author, speaker, inventor, consultant, entrepreneur, husband and father.
Kai Brach, founder of Offscreen Magazine, is a German transplant currently based in Melbourne, Australia. With a background in UI web design and love for all things tech, he set out to launch a print magazine to humanize the World Wide Web.