Here's How to Frame Up Your Interviews So They Don't Suck

Expand your composition techniques with these great tips. 

Breaking Bad was known for its creative framing and camera moves thanks in large part to cinematographer Michael Slovis. Any opportunity he had to position the camera in a unique and interesting place, he would.

When it comes to interviews, you may not always have the same luxury. Sometimes you have to react quickly, relying on traditional setups rather than creative fluidity. 

No Film School has broken down how to light interviews, get gorgeous shots in hideous locations, and how to get the best out of an interview. Now let's add some fresh flavor to your interview framing repertoire. Here are ten angles to get under your belt from DIYPhotography, and we'll highlight our favorites after the jump. 

Foreground Elements

Adding elements to the frame is a great way to add punch to a lackluster shot, as it gives it a sense of space. Just be sure any foreground or background elements do not distract from the subject. You don't want the audience to be memorized by a lava lamp bubbling behind them. You want them to concentrate on the story.

Stagnate objects are always better, and be sure the color doesn't distract from the subject or blend too much with their wardrobe. Or you can try using images or color that subliminally add to the story. 

Looking Directly Into Camera

When a subject looks directly into the camera lens, it invokes a certain emotion with the viewer. It connects them directly to the talent and it can seem very unnerving to some. That said, it's important to understand why and when you should use the technique.

It's different than breaking the fourth wall and is generally used to heighten the emotion as it invites the viewer into the space. When you do use the technique, we suggest framing a second shot to give an option in post. 

From Behind 

This is another way to add tension to a scene. When you don't see a subject's face it can add curiosity or uncertainty to the moment. Comedy movies do this a lot when there's a cameo.

Remember when Will Ferrell made his entrance in Wedding Crashers? We see his shadow before we saw his face. It piques interest, adding wonderment to the moment. Then, pop, he walks into frame, and you're freaking smiling. "Ma, get the meatloaf!"

You can do the same with interviews. Just be aware of the 180° rule when you're shooting, and the fact it can make the audience distrust the talent if it's used too much. 

What are some of your favorite techniques to use shooting interviews? Tell the No Film School community below.      

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