Choosing an Interview Location
You've got the team, you've got the equipment, now where are you going to shoot your interview? There are many factors to consider, but here are the ones we think will take your video to the next level.
WILL everything fit?
In order to film the interview, you're going to need to fit lighting and audio equipment, cameras, and all crew members. That's just behind the camera! We wrapped a project a few months ago where the location only had ramp access from an auxiliary parking lot, behind the building. Knowing that in advance saved us a ton of time when it came to loading in our gear. Making sure everything can fit means making sure that it can roll through the doors and go up the elevators too!
If you're planning on bringing in any larger vehicles, make sure to coordinate parking with the location owner as well. Once you have a plan for parking, it's important to relay that information to your drivers so that everyone puts their vehicle where it's supposed to go!
Does the background need branding?
Depending on the type of interview, you may want to include some company branding or a logo. Two simple but effective ways of doing this are using a projector or a step and repeat backdrop. Using a projector, you can create a moving background for the interview or any other setting you could want behind your subjects AND it looks better than green screens!
How does the space affect sound?
From the shape of a room, to the material of its walls, there are many factors that can affect your sound quality that need to be considered when choosing an interview location. The way a room sounds is called its acoustic. A big space with nothing to absorb sound might not be the best place to film an interview because the audio will be unclear and words can run together. However, the opposite conditions can create a "dead" space where the sound seems to stop traveling immediately after leaving your mouth. In a pinch, you can use c-stands and sound blankets to modify the acoustic of your interview area to make sure you're getting the sound you want.
Is there any unwanted background noise?
When it comes to background noise, identifying issues before conducting your interview can have more to it than meets the ear. The big ones that we all think of are air conditioning, refrigerators, and cell phones; however, we often overlook the background noises that occur irregularly. What are some of those irregular noises? It can be anything from garbage day, to new construction, to nearby train tracks. The last thing you want to do is lose an emotional or impactful moment from your usable footage because a train goes by in the distance and all you can hear is its horn.
Where is the light coming from?
Everything in video starts with light. Whether it's adding light, taking light away, or leaving it as it is, the lighting of your interview space sets the tone for what kind of message your interviewee is trying to get across. The first source of light that many of us try to use is "natural light" a.k.a. sunlight. Sunlight can be tricky though. On cloudy days, sunlight is often unpredictable, and can lead to uncomfortable spans of time where the best you can do is twiddle your thumbs while you wait for a cloud to pass. Even if your plan is to use artificial lighting as a primary source, be wary of bright windows in your location and the direction of the sun throughout the day so you can avoid any hotspots or inconsistent lighting situations.
If you are planning to use a lighting kit, make sure to check with your location's owner about adequate power for your lighting setup.
Can the area be secured?
If you're shooting in a shared or public space, making sure there are no unexpected interruptions is essential. It can be as simple as putting a sign on a door or as serious as having your production assistants locking up the area; either way, it's an integral part of keeping your interview on track.
Though choosing a location can be daunting, choosing the right spot gives you a solid foundation to shape your video around. At the end of the day, the most important factor in choosing a location is making sure that it serves your story. Find a place that strengthens the story you are trying to tell first, and then use our guide to make it suitable for filming. Be open to new things and see where your search takes you!