Killer Production Value for Interviews, Promos & Production

Taught by Ben Allan ACS

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
January 2016 
6 hours 26 minutes 
The aim of this course is to show how to produce great looking shots with impressive production value. Rather than focus on scripted drama we are focused on interviews, promos and production pieces. The reality is that most non-feature film DOPs will spend a huge amount of their time lighting and filming interviews and other pieces of video communication.

Non-drama pieces can be for a documentary, a video podcast, news story or a promo for your company. In all these cases the quality of the cinematography is a quality clue to the value of the content. At fxphd and fxguide we have a huge amount of experience doing interviews around the world, we will share not only filming techniques but interview tricks. In this course, DOP Ben Allan ACS and our own Mike Seymour are combining their skills to not only show you how to light and direct such a piece but also how to prepare and how to pull off getting great material when working with normal people. You will learn the techniques of lighting in a variety of set ups, a variety of camera styles and techniques, the types of lights and many tricks of real world interviews - and also audio, the latest camera gear, apps, tips and techniques gained from literally hundreds of hours of doing interviews around the world. If you are planning to sit down an interview the head of a major studio or to film your own team for a YouTube promo - the tips and techniques in this course will be invaluable.

Ben Allan has taught DOP courses at fxphd before very successfully and has a great knack at innovative problem solving, while himself being very fluent in digital tools and editing. We will aim in each section of the course to detail our pick of the best of class for microphones, lights, lenses and cameras.

A great part of this course and something new is that we will be interviewing key directors and other DOPs as part of the course. This means you get not only to see the interview and learn from them - but how Ben lit that interview and how he dealt with the specifics of lighting each style of interview. In other words you get both the interview and the making of the interview - including camera settings, f stops and any tricks used to solve awkward real world locations.
Killer Production Value for Interviews, Promos & Production
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

The Camera Bag. We speak to Director Jason Wingrove about what complex kit he uses for his professional work. Jason is well known from the RC podcast and is a director who grew up via the camera department. He is well known for shooting his own spots and using the latest high quality yet robust equipment.

Class 2

Shooting interviews Part 1. Ben will show us how he lights interviews and his preferred rig for audio and lighting, starting with our interview with Jason Wingrove.

Class 3

Top technical options. While most of the course will cover DSLR and affordable rigs, here we sit down with DOP Tom Gleeson to discuss the top end choices and learn what the ‘cutting edge’ of high end production looks like. Tom has served as DOP on US shows such as Survivor and will be discussing and showing the newest Red Dragon Carbon Fibre and top end Arri Alexa. He will discuss the importance of latitude and what he seeks in the very best high end gear.

Class 4

Shooting interview Part 2. Ben will show us how to shoot multi-camera interviews with an eye to editing, B roll and just how you can give your productions the look of the expensive high end shoots on a much smaller budget. In other words, how to add enormous production value without the cost of all the gear. Tom has set as the bar for the 'best in class'.

Class 5

Single to camera pieces. Mike and Ben will highlight a range of options for filming someone to camera when the interviewer is not on camera or part of the story. This will also cover how to film yourself when you have no one to help. All over the world journalists are required to film pieces without a crew, perhaps you want to film a piece from a conference or for a pitch - but without a crew how do you even frame up the shot?

Class 6

Interview techniques and how to build a story with emotional interest.

Class 7

Podcasts and lectures. How to film, light and design longer lecture style videos to make them more than just a talking head. This will be the third of our special interviews.

Class 8

The art of making your film look unscripted and off the cuff. While some documentary work is completely run and gun, there is also often a desire to make planned video pieces ‘look' unscripted and off the cuff - when they aren't. This is actually much harder than it sounds. Ben will show you how to make convincing ‘doco’ style pieces that are still effective and not distracting - believable ‘raw’ and yet tightly controlled.

Class 9

Insanely cool ways to make anyone look good. We have all been faced with the job of filming someone who has a face for radio (!) Ben Allen shows you 5 tricks for making anyone look good (and sound great) - no matter what lights you have to work with. An expensive lighting truck load of equipment is great but what can you do to add production value when you don’t have a team of people and a vast budget?

Class 10

Lighting tricks for engaging the audience - we close out the course with a range of lighting examples that will make your message more effective. Flat lighting is harsh and unforgiving but what options does one have away from a studio?