Next Week's Interview

As some of you guys know, I'm in production on this boxing
documentary. Well next week, I am thrilled about getting to
interview Jackie Mason (comedian). He was a staple in the Golden
Days of Boxing around the ring and at the fights. It should be a
solid time. I am headed in to pick up a heavier stand for my boom
mic. Last week, I interviewed Bert Sugar (boxing historian/
journalist) and my boom kept toppling over my stand. Damn thing
almost hit him a couple of times. I had to throw on some gaffer
tape to keep it down. We laughed about it, but damn that was
embarrasing. It was a new pole and harnass that I tried to use
with one of my lightweight C-stands. Lesson learned, don't try to
get around carrying that heavy stand.

What is your usual setup you take for interviews as far as lighting and audio equipment? Do you shoot a b-camera also?

Are you shooting like a back and forth interview where the interviewer is on camera with the subject? If so who is doing the interview?

I shot an interview with 4 of Bob Marley's sons about a month ago, it was a pain in the ass. Trying to squeeze 5 people in the frame was tricky, getting clean audio was nearly impossible. Luckily we always shoot with two cameras, one wide shot and one close up of who ever is talking. The angles cut together really nice most of the time.

For this doc, it is all single camera work. Each interview focuses on a
single person. The interviewer, my co-producer, will be cut out of the
audio. You won't hear the questions. I take a 3-point lighting kit,
reflectors, camera, boom, mic, mic stand with boom harnass. This is
the basic kit that I take. Luckily the DVX100 has great audio so I can
run a shotgun into input two and split that across both channels.
Sometimes, I run wireless though. (mic is seinheisser M-66 and the
wireless is seinheisser as well).

I'll more than likely do a 3 camera shot on an upcoming doc though. I'll
use one in wide, 1 on each person talking.

Please don't switch to a shot of their hands while they're talking. Neither should you cut to a shot of their face, not talking, looking sad or laughing, so that they're still saying something but you're showing a clip of them not talking. Or switching between color and B&W every 3 seconds, with different angles and zooms.

LOL...if I did that, I promise to sell all of my equipment. That would be
the worst camera work ever.

Watch an E! or Vh1 documentary some time.

They should sell all of their equipment. hit the nail on the head on that one. Those are
some pathetic shots they try to pull off.

I admit to doing it sometimes only because I have NO CHOICE. Sometimes you have to cheese it up to save a piece. I call the process "MTV'ing" it.

Or you could use the Ken Burns method.

All you have to do is get a bunch of old photographs, then do a slow zoom on the still pictures while the narrator talks. Be sure to include lots of pans and close-ups on the faces in the pictures, so that it will fool people into thinking that it's actually video footage instead of just an old snapshot.

Ken Burns method is pretty cool, but you should check out the documentary "The Kid Stays in the Picture" Its like Ken Burns + Photoshop + really trick 3D compositing. I watched the whole movie just because the still photo treament they did.

I haven't seen that one yet, but I bought his 10-disc set of Jazz. It's 19 hours of docu-delight.

I'll check out that picture "The Kid Stays in the Picture". I haven't seen
it, but at least visually it sounds interesting. I just got word that I will
get to shoot Jake LaMotta today! Damn I am excited about this one.

A word of advice, start looking for HIGH quality stills now, because after you see TKSITP you are going to be inspired to at least try the technique.

SatanJR....Oddly enough, I got a solid amount of HIGH Quality stills
early on. I knew I would need to cut them in. Man securing rights for
the B-Roll footage is quite costly bro.

SatanJR, I'm still not understanding why you were having such a hard time getting decent sound with Marley's sons. This may be a dumb question, I've only worked narrative and am not familiar w/ appropriate ways to do docs, but can't you just mic each of them, or were they talking over each other, or did you only have a boom? I just don't understand what was so hard.

Well tomorrow is the day for Jackie Mason and I am pretty thrilled to
meet this guy. His is a comic legend and was a big part in the boxing
scene of the Golden Days at places like Toots Shore.

Well the interview is in the can! It was a great one. Man, this guy had
some stories to tell. I had to light the interview different than I had
before. I had a bit of sun issue. We were in his home on the 66th floor
of this building in the city that was getting full sun exposure but it
kept dodging behind the clouds. We couldn't shut the curtains either.
Once I had it lit, it all changed on me. So I blasted the room with light,
used a gold reflector to add more warmth about 2 feet from him and
dropped a boom over him. It worked like a charm. When I cut his part
into the doc he will definitely contrast with the other guys. He had
some harsh and funny stuff to say about the state of boxing.