The global pandemic has caused us all to re-think how to film interviews and presentations from home without a professional crew. Let’s face it, the majority of self-filmed Zoom style interviews look pretty ropey, so I put together some ideas for better set ups, with the benefit of my 27 years filming interviews and talking heads.

A well-lit, ‘bright looking’ interview set up for Zoom is now as important as wearing the right clothes. Film yourself in the dark or with the camera too low and looking up at your double chins, or with the the focus on the book case behind for eg, is as off putting as wearing the wrong clothes in the office and so people don’t listen to you!

I’ve been looking at what set ups work best and including some ideas of equipment that can be used and set up remotely, whilst being controlled by us in the studio for ultimate results.

Set up 1: ‘Studio in the garage’ a la The Late Late show:

One of the set ups I really liked over the lockdown (and we watched a lot) is The Late Late show filmed from his ‘garage office’. This set up involves 3/4 cameras – all of which show a different angle. But what sets it apart is the set design – with the use of show memorobilia and neon lights to add a bit of colour to the back ground – these are very inexpensive ways of brightening up your set up!

Option 2: Camera crew connects to remote interviewee

Cameraman sets up professional lighting and camera kit and connects to interviewer remotely, whilst maintaining social distancing and the interviewee (like Sir David Attenborough in the image above) talks to the interviewer on a lap top screen, in another location – in this case the other side of the Atlantic. This gives the impression the 2 are talking directly too each other and you quickly forget they are apart.

See the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRxCnUH7QvM

Option 3 – Home webcam with pro audio and lighting connected via lap top

A slightly cheaper option using the bare minimum to make your web interview look somewhere near acceptable. Using a ‘Mevo’ camera as a webcam connected to a lap top and a small LED light, this option can also be remotely controlled by connecting the lap top to our studio so we can give feedback on the set up.

Option 4 : ‘Studio in a box’

A completely remote option – includes a broadcast quality ‘PTZ’ camera in a box which is sent to the interviewee. By simply plugging in the camera to an ethernet port (on a router) a ‘professional’ is able to control it from the offices and connect them up to the interviewer, who can see and hear the interviewer on the screen:

I have a feeling remote filming will become the norm post pandemic – the technology is there to control cameras remotely from any location with an internet connection, so now is the time to think about how to film yourself in the best possible set up, using what you’ve got, with a little bit of advice from the pro’s.