Lights, Camera and Action!

February 22nd, 2008 – 5:03 pm
Tagged as: Content Master

This week I was involved in a completely new genre of tasks. I felt like this was a really good learning curve and as a result, documented as necessary for future reference. The task was recording Alex Mackman Technical Interview – The Video Production Procedure. It was the first time that I had experience in videoing an official and professional interview.

There were various factors to take into consideration when filming. This included using a media suite for such video interviews.  As this was an internal project, the only place available was the training room. The only downside to this area was the echoing and post production it was very difficult to fix the rebounding voices, even when using software.

Over several days of the interview process, I learnt several tips when shooting. I’ve categorised below some short notes.


I used booth microphone as well as the camera microphone (as backup). For the individual asking the questions, we simply used a voiceover rather than the visual them self. We only filmed the individual answering the questions. We used a female to record the questions in the sound booth which provided a far better sound quality.

Note: It could be possible to re-record all voice audio in the sound booth and dub over the original. However, this was not necessary in this case, yet would be very effective if recording outdoors and over a distance for example.


Get as much natural light as possible, by opening all windows and even use white boards to bounce light back around the room. Even using umbrella lights to illuminate the blue screen and any dark areas on the subject helped.


Set the camera up on the tripod! Very important to maintain a still camera. For technical videos such as this, it is important for the camera to be level with the subject’s eyes. Or for a more personal presentation talking directly at the camera would be advised as well as speaking directly with the interviewer.


We used Adobe Premiere CS3 capture the camera feed using a fire wire link. This is advantageous because we can then preview the capture quality on screen in real-time and there is no need to capture from the DV tape later on which can be time consuming.

Note: Every time the camera is stopped for whatever reason, remember to name your video capture to correspond with the audio capture. It’s also important to begin the capture on Premiere CS3 first and then recording audio with Sony Soundforge.

Ensure the video camera is set to manual focus. With auto focus enabled it’s not uncommon to see the camera struggling to focus from time to time, which can cause the shot to look terrible and unprofessional.

Note: Some cameras have a button on the side of the camera next to the manual switch that will focus when pressed. We pressed this button, once we were ready to begin recording to obtain a near-perfect focus.

We ensured that the camera was set to manual white-balance also. We experienced problems when the individual being recorded was lifting his hands – the camera than attempted to readjust the white-balance and this caused a shaded flicker between each shot. A good tip is to use a sheet of white A4 paper to set the white balance levels before you begin recording.

To capture the audio we used Sony Soundforge 8. We experimented to find the microphone capture was coming though the soundcard, where which we could also adjust and use the computer settings to boost the sound levels when required. This was required since the microphone is normally used to capture at quieter levels inside a recording booth.


We use Premiere CS3 to edit our video capture. Since we captured with Premiere CS3 the video will already be prepared for placing into the timeline. Tweaking of the video was required by adding and changing brightness, contrast and saturation levels.

For audio it was important to normalise post production, before it’s importing into Premiere CS3. This means we had control of the audio’s level which could be changed depending on whether it needed to be louder or quieter at certain moments. This not only sounds better but keeps the sound level consistent between clips. Synchronising the microphone (Soundforge audio) can be tricky, so zooming into the timeline using the work area bar and adjustment of the play-head was required to snap the audio clip in the timeline.

This took some fiddling but was very important to get dead on.

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