Learn to light and film interviews with minimal time and equipment, producing high-quality professional-looking interviews that would rival "60 Minutes".

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Setting up lighting for filming an interview
Image Credit: Tracy Farrell 

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The production of documentaries, corporate videos, reality shows, and television news almost always requires the shooting of interviews and/or talking heads.  This workshop has been created to help camera operators, directors, and producers take their interview shooting skills to a higher level. The emphasis in this course is on using small crews (1-2 people) with minimal equipment to shoot interviews that have a high-end, news-magazine-style look, as can be seen on “60 Minutes,” “Nova,” “Frontline” and other similar programs.

This course is taught by Doug Jensen, a veteran freelance cameraman/director with over 38 years of experience shooting news, documentaries, and reality shows for major broadcast and cable networks; as well as directing and shooting hundreds of corporate videos.  Through lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises, students learn various lighting techniques and styles for traditional single-camera setups in mixed-lighting situations. While tungsten and fluorescent lighting are discussed during this workshop, the focus is on learning to blend state-of-the-art LED lighting with available natural light in a wide variety of real-world locations outside of the studio and classroom.

But “lighting” is just part of the course.  Shooting great-looking interviews require more than just placing a few lights in the right places. This course goes beyond just the lights themselves and covers topics such as choosing the most appropriate camera and lenses; finding the best locations; blocking the shots; dressing the set; determining the most effective camera placement; framing a pleasing and balanced composition; audio recording; hiding microphones; how to be set up and ready to roll in as little as 20-30 minutes; tips and tricks for obtaining shallow depth-of-field; applying make-up to the talent; obtaining healthy skin tones; setting the proper exposure and white balance; how to use zebras and peaking; creating custom scene files with the camera’s menus; how to ask questions that will get the sound-bites you need; and techniques for directing professional and non-professional talent.

View various samples of footage from one of Doug’s previous Interview Lighting and Shooting workshops. View more student examples on Vimeo.

Anyone who is responsible for shooting interviews and/or talking heads will finish this course better equipped to obtain superior results regardless of any limitations of budget, time, or equipment.

PLEASE NOTE: An hour-long training session on Set Etiquette and Safety will be required of anyone registered for a workshop that involves production. Students only need to participate in this session once during their time on campus.

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Instructor: Doug Jensen

Doug Jensen is a cinematographer, producer, director, editor, consultant, and founder of Vortex Media. He is a member of Sony’s independent Certified Experts, and he brings his real-world perspective into the classroom. His various professional roles have included: freelance ENG/EFP owner-operator; hand-held camera operator for live sporting events and concerts; television news photographer; director of photography for documentaries; corporate video writer/director/producer specializing in training and promotional videos; and a development consultant for such products as Sony’s camcorders.