Preparing & Shooting A Documentary Interview 

Documentary interview
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A documentary interview is an important technique in documentary films, where one or more persons are answering a list of questions. Some documentaries use only interviews in their films (these documentaries are known as talking heads), but it’s not as simple as it may look like.

When you are Shooting an interview in your film, you are really declaring that you are taking an active part in the making of this film and you are not just “A fly on the wall”. There are no objective questions. When you ask a question in a documentary interview, you already have the answer in it.
When you do an interview you are not only trying to get the facts, you are also trying to get a point of view and an opinion on all subject and to deliver it to the audience. You have to do a lot of planning and preparations.

Types of Interviews

There are 2 parts of interviews:

  1. Direct interview- We here and maybe even see the interviewer asking questions.
  2. Indirect interview– where we see the subject talking to the camera, but we don’t see or hear the interviewer asking the questions that are leading him as he speaks.
    It is important to know before the interview, what kind is it going to be.

Preparations for a documentary interview

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During the interview

Technical stuff for shooting a documentary interview

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Editing the documentary interview

You can read my post about Editing for The Documentary, but for now, the important thing to know is that when you edit the interview, usually the director will choose to cover the image of the talker with other images that are somehow related to what he is saying. This is a great technique because sometimes just to see someone talking might be boring. The images can also support what the interviewer is saying and to give you more artistic ways to release your movie from the formal talking head style. The main reason is that covering his image will allow you to edit what he is saying without the audience noticing. This is good when it takes to the interviewer too much time to get to the point. When you use this interview technique, you want to show the interviewer at the beginning and then to start cover. You can also come back to him when he is saying his last sentence, just to remind the audience who is this person that talks right now.

Your homework for today is to find someone that affected your life somehow. it can be a teacher, your parents, a friend etc. and interview him. Go through all the principles we mentioned here. If you want you can send it to my mail: and I will give you comments on it. we can also upload it to let everyone see it and hear their reviews. You can also send with Wetransfer which is a free tool to send files up to 2 Giga

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