How it was done: Candid Chat with Ira Glass

One of the really cool things about working at is that I get to do interviews with people like David Pogue and Ira Glass.

Technically, this shoot was very interesting, I was sort of the DOP/director, and Andrew Burton was behind the second cam. For equipment we were both using HD-DSLRs, myself on my oft-touted Nikon D90, and Andrew on his Canon 5DMKII.

I set up Andrew in front of Nate and Ira to get that two-up shot, I was camera left of him, over Nate's shoulder to get that shot of Ira. I was actually set up behind the Dean's desk, but I think we did a solid job of controlling where the viewer "thought" we were. . . i.e., we could realistically be on a set somewhere, and not in a private office cramped with equipment.

I say this is interesting because in all the applications these cameras are great for, I'd say they are least suited to this multi-cam interview setup, yet it was still a breeze to edit. That's not to say there weren't more steps to the process than if we used two Sony V- or Z1U's (my original plan), but the tradeoff was no tapes, so virtually no ingestion time, and superior optical quality with the use of ridiculous apertures (especially useful for putting Nate in the foreground of my Ira shot).

The upshoot of this is that when we were done breaking down the set (we scored space in the Dean's office of Hendricks Chapel) all Andrew had to do was hand me a CF card and walk away. All I had to do was download our take, sync the footage and audio in Final Cut Pro (actually much quicker and easier than it sounds once you get used to doing it), and make my cuts. Editing took about 45min, which is about 3x longer than the actual shoot. Add on to that about 20min to download and transcode (have I mentioned I love my new MacBook Pro?), roughly 45min to export and 20min to upload to Vimeo, and you have a pro-quality interview (am I getting ahead of myself here?)that took about 2.5 hours from setting up the lights to getting views on the web, not bad at all.

OK now here are the tech specs:

Canon 5DMKII, 24-70mm f2.8, at approx f4 as the main shot, waist height in front of Nate and Ira.
Nikon D90, 85mm f1.8, shooting wide open over Nate's shoulder.
Zoom H4 audio recorder, with two Sennheiser wireless lavalier mics, each on a separate audio track for both Ira and Nate.


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