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The film interview: Good answers are the result of good questions

Video Interview with Vincent Delieuvin at the Louvre in Paris
Video Interview with Vincent Delieuvin at the Louvre in Paris on the significance of the masterpiece »Mona Lisa«
Preparations im Gemeentemuseeum Den Haag
Preparations for the interview with Benno Tempel from the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague as part of the TV series »Masterpieces revisited«
Video Interview with Benno Tempel, The Hague
Video Interview with Benno Tempel about the art of Piet Mondrian
tv interview with two cameras and slider
Interview in the Berlin restaurant Bosco with two cameras and slider
Interviewing in the restaurant for a TV series
Editor Stephanie Drescher interviewing the restaurant owner Enrique Serván

To film a perfect video interview, we need the perfect environment

An video interview needs a suitable environment with an appropriate background. The search for this requires time, which we always schedule in preparation for an interview. The location should be related to the person being interviewed and the subject, or be neutral, but not trivial. For example, to choose a white wall as a background would be trivial. To than place a houseplant which should serve as a decoration to lighten up the white wall, but only makes it more visible, is not a good decision, we think. It is not beautiful and appropriate to any topic.

For a film which focussed on beauty, we planned an TV interview with a cultural scientist. In advance she informed us that she could only offer us a simple, unspectacular office to conduct the interview. So we considered alternatives. Which locations were directly related to the topic of beauty? We found the collection of Antique Sculptures in Berlin. We asked for a filming permission, got it and conducted our interview there. Surrounded by casts of Greek and Roman sculptures, the symbols of beauty, we had found just the right place for our video interview.

find the right place for an interview

The video interview can be a sit-down-discussion with a person, or it can be as simple as conducting the interview standing up. This is more dynamic and allows the interviewes to be more outgoing, more lively and moving. Which of the situations one chooses depends on the subject, the interlocutor or the visual style, which was decided in advance.

Light not only brightens, but also creates moods

Good light plays a very important role in any video interview. It is often a very time-consuming task, but absolutely necessary, to illuminate the interviewees correctly. Nothing is worse than shadows on the interviewee's face, eyes that are in the dark or an over-radiated background.

A conscious setting of light generates moods and can underline the topic of the interview even more clearly. Light should always be used purposefully. We work with lighting cameraman who use their experience to optimally stage every interview situation.

Example of a typical multiple camera video interview. Here for the presentation of a new publication from the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

Concentrated, motivated and in a good mood

The mood on the set. Yes, of course that is the basis of every good interview. This does not mean, of course, that you have to laugh all the time, that's what many topics prohibit. But a depressed climate on the set can ruin the whole interview. If the film team does not manage to take the nervousness of excited interviewees, if there is hustle and bustle, restlessness or even oppressive silence, it will affect the interview. We are professionals for a good atmosphere, because that is our priority.

For the most part we conduct our film interviews in a team of two, an editor and a lighting cameraman, who is also responsible for the sound. That means the interview film situation feels a bit more intimate than if we were to appear with a 5-member team. The direct effect of a camera in such a setting should not be underestimated.

We have already experienced many interlocutors in front of the camera, who were able to talk easy and punchy in the preliminary talk on the phone and then in the interview situation in front of the camera were so nervous that we had to take time, to create a suitable and trusting atmosphere. A camera can trigger stress when people are inexperienced.

Our job is to absorb and resolve this stress. We almost always succeed. Sometimes we even manage to get people in front of the camera and have them tell stories about their lives that they could never have imagined. That's one of the biggest compliments our protagonists can pay. We work to ensure that our interviewees are well, that they can open up for the subject and in the best case forget the camera.