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  • Interview Booth Set-up at Large Conference

  • Regan Alsup

    October 13, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I will be traveling to Australia in November for a large conference, and am in charge of all stages of production for a roughly five minute video including interviews and some b-roll. Because the organization that is hiring me is only a small part of the larger conference, the filming conditions–particularly for the interviews–are less than ideal. My organization has only been given one large room to work with and has decided that I should set up a “video booth” as a sort of partitioned area to record interviews.

    First and foremost, I’m concerned about audio. Obviously if I had my way, I’d have my own quiet room to do the interviews, but I don’t have that option. It’s looking like the booth will be in a corner, with two solid permanent walls, one wall built from sturdy but impermanent structures, and one “open” side facing away from the majority of the rest of the room. As of right now, the booth will not have a ceiling. The interviews are scheduled mostly in the evening after the majority of conference participants are gone, so at least the background noise won’t be coming from a large crowd.

    Does anyone have suggestions in terms of (a) building a temporary ceiling (perhaps out of moving blankets or something of the sort?), and (b) any audio tricks that might help? I have made the client very aware that the sound will likely be less than ideal, but I’m just wondering if anyone might have suggestions that I haven’t thought of.

    I’m also wondering about interview backdrops. The booth is going to be rather small–likely no larger than 15 square feet. I will be lighting the interviews, but does anyone have suggestions in terms of interview backgrounds/backdrops? Is it worth it to try to create a more intricate background (with plants, lights, posters, etc.) or do you think I should go for a simpler, monotone background?

    Any and all suggestions are much appreciated!

  • Bill Davis

    October 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    It sounds like you’re able to so something more elaborate than I typically do.

    For convention work, I often just get a small to medium room and don’t have the luxury of hard sets.

    So my approach is typically a neutral pop-up background that you can setup and strike easily. The point is that I want the audience to focus on the subject, not the environment. If I want something more elaborate, I’ll bring a green screen rather than a pattern pop up. But that’s up to you.

    Here’s an example or my typical “simple” hotel conference interview setup. (sorry it’s so overexposed, it’s just a phone snap I took so we could recreate the setup for day two!)

    As to audio, it’s usually not that terrible in a typical convention room. They often have thick carpet, at least some type of texture to the walls, and an acoustically treated ceiling. So the rooms are not super live. Here I have a simple short shotgun on a stand oriented so that it’s pointed toward a null corner, but I’d also have a not particularly insensitive wired lav (I use a Sony ECM 44b) for close micing.

    If you make sure to record plenty of room tone when the AC is rolling, you can get a very listenable soundtrack out of this type of setup.

    For what it’s worth.

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