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Lighting and setup for a Two Person Interview

We film lots of interviews, but mostly focused on one person, with the interviewer next to the camera and cut out of the final video.  It was a change when a couple of weeks ago we got a brief to record a two person interview, and to recreate this look:


interview set up

The brief was from Aurecon, to film an interview about the National Energy Guarantee.  Here’s the final video:

Straight forward enough on first blush, and a style you see all the time on TV. The challenge was having a third camera (camera 3 in the plan below) that takes in the whole scene, but Interview setupwhich doesn’t film any of the gear.   This is the view I’m talking about (right).  In fact, there was a reflection from one of the soft box lights in the window behind the subjects which we were able to air brush out in After Effects.  The plain grey window and lack of movement made it feasible and easy to do.

 The camera/ lights set-up in plan view.

Interview setup

The actual room, lights on

The room

It was quite fiddly getting everything positioned right. As you can see, there’s a soft box (fluro) light for each person as a main ‘key’ light.  Soft boxes throw out a very diffuse light with no hard shadows.  As well as lighting the person oposite, it provides a nice back-light to the person nearest. Then we used LED panel lights, dialed low, to fill in the the shadows on the far side. All house lights were turned off. The two subjects had to be sitting oposite each other to get the ‘over the shoulder’ look in the Obama interview. In the end we didn’t do that so there was space for graphics to each side of each subject as you see in the video.