Framing Video Interviews: Five Tips for a Professional Look
HAVE THE SUBJECT LOOK TO ONE SIDE. Making the interview subject look at the side and not directly at the camera reinforces the illusion that we are watching a dialog between two people. Everyone assumes that the subject is looking at the interviewer but they could be just looking at any reference object. Even when you don't show the interviewer or even use the questions this style gives the speaker more credibility because it looks like we are watching them talk to someone else. People are more suspicious when they see someone talk to them directly.
LEAVE MORE SPACE ON SIDE THEY ARE LOOKING. If your subject is looking to the left then leave a bigger space on the left side of the frame. This space is called "looking room" and it balances the composition, making the whole image look better.
HAVE SUBJECT & INTERVIEWER LOOK AT EACH OTHER. If you are going to show an interviewer and cut between two shots then you should show one person looking left and the other looking right. If both people look the same way, even if they are never on screen at the same time, the illusion will not work because the viewer's brain will perceive the people as not facing each other.
MAKE SURE BOTH EYES ARE VISIBLE. When the subject is turned even more to one side always make sure that you can still see both eyes. This "two-eye" profile looks much better than a full profile where only one eye is visible.
KEEP CAMERA AT SAME HEIGHT AS EYES. Finally, for a classic interview composition always have the camera lens at eye level. Placing it higher or lower will give an effect that might be appropriate in some circumstances but is not a normal conversational position. When you are talking to a friend normally your eyes are at the same level and anything else will give a different impression, perhaps suggesting dominance or submission.
Following these classical framing rules will make your interview look more like it was shot by a pro. In some cases you might want to break one of these rules to give a video an edgy look, but let this be a deliberate creative choice, not an accident.
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