There are a number of ways to frame an interview subject on-camera. Whether you’re going for a traditional approach or a more modern angle, here are some examples to check out.
When framing photos, always keep in mind the rule of thirds. Also, aim to get tight, medium and wide shots of your subject outside of the interview so you have extra footage to use when editing.
If you’re framing someone’s face close-up on camera, then it’s always more natural to cut off the top of their head but you never want to cut off the bottom of their face too much, including their chin and mouth.
When it comes to shooting a standard medium or wide shot always leave appropriate headroom. If you’re going for a creative wide shot then disregard this advice. But typically, you want to leave a little bit of space between the subject and the top of the screen for what is called headroom, or space between the top of the head and the edge of the frame.
Try to use at least two cameras for the interview. The A camera is the main camera, where you’ll also record sound. The B camera is the second angle used for cutaways.
The traditional interview style used by broadcast television:
Two-shot with host/reporter and subject:
One-shot with subject:
Host/reporter talking straight to camera:
Here are some examples of a documentary-style look – options range from wide to medium to close-up shots:
You often see shots like this in documentaries where there isn’t a host ever shown.
This is more of what I call a digital style look, where the subject is talking straight to the camera and not off-camera:
Another thing to keep in mind between your A camera and B camera, is it often looks more natural if the eyes are level between cameras. What that means is if you were to line up the two shots together the placement of the subject’s eyes would be about the same from one shot to the other:
Those are some essential tips for how to frame interviews on-camera. Of course, I always say: Know the rules so you know when you want to break them!