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Errol Morris Style Interview


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#1 Carol Hicks

Carol Hicks
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Posted 03 November 2008 - 09:27 PM

Hi everyone,

Right now I'm working on a documentary where the director wants all of the interview subjects to be looking directly into the camera. He wants a style similar to what Errol Morris did in "The Fog of War."

In "The Fog of War" my understanding is that Morris did something where he could have an image of himself doing the interview in front of the camera but the lens could see right through it. This gave the impression that the interview subject was talking right to the audience. We can't just put the interviewer beside the camera because the eye contact still isn't directly into the lens. We can't ask the interview subjects to deliver their answers into the camera because their eyes are shifty and they aren't as comfortable.

Does anyone have any suggestions how I could get the direct eye contact effect? Low budget solutions are preferable :)

-Carol
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#2 Josh Bass

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 02:01 AM

I would tell you to rent a teleprompter, being a teleprompter operator myself sometimes, and having done this exact setup. Here's how it works, see. You take another camera, a small crappy camcorder is perfectly acceptable, and you point it at your interviewer, shooting him in CU. That camera's output will go into the teleprompter monitor. This monitor mounts on the camera, and there's a piece of two way glass that goes in front of the lens. The lens sees right through the glass, but the glass also reflects whatever's on the prompter monitor. What this means is that a person looking to the prompter glass looks like they're looking right into the lens. If they see your interviewer's face on there, presto! Should run you around $225 or so for the day. For the prompter gear, that is.
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#3 Carol Hicks

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 01:26 PM

Thanks, that's a really great idea. I even know where I can borrow one for free.
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#4 Josh Bass

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 03:40 PM

Bling bling! There you go then.

One thing. . .I don't know what kinda cam you're using to shoot the interview, but beware the prompter adds quite a bit of weight to the whole setup. So if you're using a small format cam, you might look into borrowing/renting a heavier duty tripod.
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Willys Widgets

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

CineTape

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC