So today I’m going to talk about making better interviews with the Interrotron. It sounds like it’s from a horror movie, so first let me tell you what it is and how it works. After that I’ll show you how it can improve an interview video and make the job of a video production crew easier.
When I make videos I’m always interested in techniques that I can use to get the best results. When I say the best I’m not just talking about cool equipment or advanced new software. The goal is to make engaging content that connects with an audience, and sometimes its something simple that will get the results you want.
The Interrotron was born from the mind of Errol Morris, an Academy Award winning director. He wanted to create better interviews with the subject looking straight to camera. The challenge he faced was getting people to talk naturally to the camera as if they were talking to a person.
To solve this problem, Errol realised that a teleprompter could be put to other uses beyond just scrolling text, he decided it could show the interviewer instead. The way it works is the teleprompter gets hooked up to a live feed of the interviewer.
The interviewee sees the interviewer live on the screen. The two can then talk freely whilst looking straight at each other, through the teleprompter. All you need is an extra camera to feed into the teleprompter.
If you’d like to learn more about the teleprompter then listen in on an interview I did with Aaron Thomas, the autocue king.
So what does this mean for you when you’re putting together an interview video? Most of us aren’t actors so it’s difficult to have a conversation with a camera lens and look natural. When you talk naturally you look professional and your audience will stay interested.
Think about the last time you watched a video where a subject was clearly reading from a prompter or nervously looking away from the camera. Were you listening or was it too distracting? The Interrotron helps eliminate these issues. It’s also good to consider that this technique might save you a lot of time. When people are speaking naturally to another person they tend to make less mistakes.
Another advantage to this technique is it opens the possibility for a director to be able to ask an interviewee questions without being in the same country.
Instead of connecting the teleprompter to another camera it’s connected to a computer and the director uses video conferencing software like Sykpe and they can be part of the conversation. So not only do you get the intimacy of a face to face conversation but its live and far more cost effective than travelling around the globe.
Whilst this is a fantastic technique it doesn’t apply to every situation so its good to consider other ways you can be better in front of the camera. Take a look at our tips on being better in front of the camera.
So the next time you want a straight to camera interview consider how the Interrotron will improve your production. If you want someone experienced to set one up an Interrotron for you then contact me here.
Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2001, and specializes in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-proﬁt sector to connect with their audience by using video.