Chicago Film Video Production and Post Production Company


Our goal with this serialized production guide is to share with you some of our production experiences while helping you create your own video projects.

Chapter 1 - Selecting a Location to Shoot Interviews for Video or Film Production

We often shoot in hotels. Conference rooms can work, but they are often in crowded areas. Last January, we were shooting for two days in Washington D.C. The day before the shoot, the hotel insisted we change rooms, but wouldn’t tell us why. Finally, the manager told us the whole story. The President and Bono (an uncommon pairing to say the least) were speaking at the hotel the next morning. Our shooting location was going to be their green room. Another lesson learned that day… The Secret Service prevents all deliveries to where the President of the United States is speaking. Our “by 10:00 a.m.” delivery was closer to 2:00 p.m.

When selecting a room to shoot the interview for your video production, larger is better in almost all cases. I usually request a 20 x 30 foot room in a quiet wing of the building. Try to avoid a room near an entrance or exit, as well as an elevator, bathroom, public telephone, vending machine or any other noisy distraction. Check to see if you have plenty of working outlets in the room. Make sure you can turn off the room lights when you are shooting. Prior to the shoot day, scout the room you are shooting in and check to see if any of these conditions exist. Most rooms have a fan for heating and air conditioning. Make sure you can turn the fan off when shooting and back on between interviews. Sometimes you will have to contact the building engineer for help with this. Fan noise is really bad, and more noticeable once you get into the editing room, so eliminate this problem before you shoot.

Also, check for noise outside the building itself. The sound of a toilet flushing is not so good when the CEO is making a point, but fire or police sirens are far worse. Being near the loading dock and the “beep, beep, beep,” of a truck backing up is not a good thing nor are buses and airplanes. Make sure the landscaping crew is off on the shoot day. Now, sit in a chair where you would position the person for the interview and close your eyes and listen. If you eliminate the fan noise you will be in good shape. You can always wait for that noisy motorcycle to pass.

Look for a comfortable chair for the "talent" to use. Nothing is worse than squirming talent trying to get comfortable. Also, the chair should not swivel or be on wheels. When people start to squirm they start rocking or move out of the light or away from the mic. And swivel chairs can make squeaky noises - not desirable.

Chapter 2 - Setting up Film or Video Production Equipment for Interviews

As we said in Chapter 1 in a best-case scenario you will be able to shoot your interviews in a controlled environment, which you have previously scouted. However, sometimes this is impossible and you have to create something on the fly. A few years ago we were making a film for one of our favorite clients- a company that provides security systems- imagine a high-tech version of plywood board up.

This was one of those jobs where, “If it is Tuesday we must be in Baltimore.” We traveled from Chicago to Philadelphia, where we shot in Philly, Wilmington, DE and Camden, NJ, then down to Baltimore and Washington D.C. (we recommend Pesce in DuPont Circle, if you like fish). In future installments we might tell you about how impossible it is to make a left turn in Camden, or our mad dash across 4 lanes of traffic in a rainstorm to the Liquor Barn, or “Pukey,” who while we were shooting

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Chicago Film and Video Production and Post Production Services
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