Recording Interviews during a Pandemic

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Recording with one camera

We normally record interviews with a crew of 2 or 3 and allow one hour to set up. When recording interviews during a pandemic I couldn’t afford an assistant and at every location I had to get in, set up, record and get out in about 20 minutes.

This set takes 90 minutes for two people to assemble.

We would normally use 2 identical cameras (wide and close-up view), an external monitor, 2 microphones, a Zoom audio recorder and three lights. In post I would do a multi-cam edit and cut from one camera to the other.

Recording in 4K allows me to cut from a wide shot to a close-up in post.

I set the one-and-only Panasonic camera to recorded in 4K. This large file size allowed me to cut from a wide shot to a close-up to minimize the number of jump cuts when editing in a 1080 timeline. I could also zoom in on the presenter in the edit.

Minimal equipment for quality image and audio.

Quality Audio with less Equipment

I tested in my studio to ensure quality image and audio.  The Rode shotgun mic on a boom arm was the safest way to get good audio because no one had to touch the mic but me. A lavalier mic would have required too much contact and the chance of spreading the virus. I used the Sennheiser Wireless system to get the audio into the camera.  I monitored the audio with Sony MDR 7506 headphones. The ten interviews were conducted between May 20th and June 30th. I had 1 hour and 15 minutes of dialogue which made it difficult to reduce the length of the final film to 25 minutes. A few of them were recorded in a warehouse or gym so the noise canceling effect was used in post to reduce unwanted ambient sound.

This may become the new way of operating during the Pandemic.

Link to the COVID video on this website:  https://www.johntrotto.com/video/arizona-video-production/ 

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