Interviews are a basic construct of video production which is why ABC Open's 'Life's Big Questions' is a great project for beginners. All you need are people willing to be interviewed in order to practise the techniques you'll learn in a workshop:
> choose a location where there's a minimum of interruptions and low ambient sound
> if a high level of ambient noise is unavoidable, then make sure that the audience can see the source of the ambient sound in the background of your shot
> when composing your shot, think 'rule of thirds'
> avoid horizontal lines in the background, choose diagonal instead because they add depth. When shooting in a room, the best source of diagonal lines is usually a corner
> make sure you can see both eyes of your interviewee
> ask open ended questions such as "Tell me about..."
> don't talk over the top of them, or rush to ask the next question: silence is OK (and in the editing phase, often very helpful)
> use hand, head and facial gestures to communicate with the interviewee when they are speaking.
Like I said, you need people willing to be interviewed in order to practise. So Arlparra - the administrative centre of probably the least densely populated region in Australia - is probably a dicey place to go looking for a willing crowd. And so it proved; the CAT work crew who had been primed the night before to ready themselves for a media onslaught of L-plated, iPad wielding media makers, disappeared on cue.
Their absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise; it allowed us to go beyond Life's Big Questions and the art of interviewing, and practise the 'four shot' technique of shooting overlay footage. We then explored the editing process using the iMovie app. Check out the video above to see the result.
The four shot technique comprises 1) shooting a wide shot that describes where something is happening 2) an over the shoulder shot that describes how something is being done 3) a close up of the hands that describes what is being done 4) a close up of the face that describes who is doing it.
These four shots can usually be edited together in any order and, when a sufficient duration of each shot has been captured (nominally 10 seconds but it depends on the activity being filmed), the sequence can be repeated (and modified) without becoming too boring for the audience.
Each shot must be taken from one side of the 'line of action' (one of the most important rules of video making).
A fifth shot can add variation to the sequence: an alternative wide shot for instance, that shows the effect of the process being filmed... or a cutaway (wide or close up: doesn't really matter) that provides some relevant detail of the process, location or people involved in the activity being filmed.
You'll learn and practise all of these constructs when you attend a free 'Life's Big Questions' video workshop. Check the ABC Open events page for details. Or book a private Open workshop by forming your own small group and negotiating a time and place with your region's Open Producer.