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Interview eyeline question


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#1 Tim Spicer

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 10:05 PM

G'day folks,

I am about to shoot dozens of interviews for a documentary. I was wondering if anyone knows about a technique / device that will allow me shoot the subjects looking straight down the barrel whilst the interviewer maintains eye contact during interview. I believe something like this was done in the amazing Canadian doco, "The Corporation" - a box and a one way mirror on an angle??

Does such a product exist? Can it be used outside the controlable studio environment?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers



Tim
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#2 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:15 AM

G'day folks,

I am about to shoot dozens of interviews for a documentary. I was wondering if anyone knows about a technique / device that will allow me shoot the subjects looking straight down the barrel whilst the interviewer maintains eye contact during interview. I believe something like this was done in the amazing Canadian doco, "The Corporation" - a box and a one way mirror on an angle??

Does such a product exist? Can it be used outside the controlable studio environment?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers



Tim



I'm not sure that I understand what you want to do. By "straight down the barrel" do you mean that you want to be shooting your interview subjects
dead on, as if your lens would be where the interviewer's eyes are going to be?
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 03:50 AM

It sounds like you need a teleprompter. It's pretty much just as you described - it's an "L" bracket frame with a one-way mirror angled back at 45 degrees. An LCD monitor lies face up under the mirror so that whatever appears on the monitor will be reflected up into the mirror and out towards the subject (flipped, of course). The whole unit is mounted in front of the camera lens and the LCD is fed via cables from a laptop. Though it's usually used to feed lines to an actor, news anchor, etc. you should be able to display whatever you want on the prompter. So if you took another video camera and framed up the interviewer, then flipped the image and routed it to the prompter, then the interviewer would appear in front of the camera lens and the subject would be able to respond directly on axis to the lens.

You might have to play around a bit to get the eyelines just right - unless you use a 2nd prompter, a webcam, or something like for the interviewer, he/she won't be looking directly at the lens, which could potentially disturb the subject. Maybe not though, some people can handle that sort of thing and won't be bothered at all. Anyway, you can rent teleprompters from video rental houses or independent operators. I'd call up your local rental houses and see if they can recommend an operator. Not sure how much they tend to go for. The units tend work best in controlled lighting situations since any direct or ambient light on the back of the mirror can create lens flares. But I've seen them used on bright exteriors (at the end of a long jib, no less), so as long as you're careful you should be fine.
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#4 Walter Graff

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 05:14 AM

Simply have you people answer questions looking directly at camera. Or feed your interviewers image into a teleprompter and have them talk to that if you think that will help. You can rent one, by one or make one. Here is how to make one:

http://www.bluesky-w...om/prompter.htm
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 11:04 AM

I have heard of this before, and I think it even has a name. . . Named after the director of the Doco The Thin Blue Line; IIRC
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 03:04 PM

Errol Morris
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#7 Frank Barrera

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 08:18 PM

Errol Morris calls it The Interrotron:

http://en.wikipedia....The_Interrotron
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 08:50 PM

Errol Morris calls it The Interrotron:


If any subjects heard that name it would be "The Intimitron" pretty quickly. It sounds like a torture device.

Edited by Chris Keth, 07 June 2008 - 08:51 PM.

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#9 Ollie Bartlett

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 07:30 AM

The technique is used for some of the Sky interviews we do, when an interviewee will speak directly into camera, and we live feed the signal to the news studio for those live interviews (sometimes split screen with news presenter / interviewee on either side).

Anyway, we call it a 'down the line' interview. I thinks its so called because of the down the eyeline shot framing (my boss reckons so aswell), but i guess it could also have that name because of the internet line its fed through to the studio.
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#10 Tim Spicer

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 03:40 AM

Thanks for great suggestions and info. I will follow up with confidence!!!

Cheers



Tim
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