Blank Slate: Interview Location

Last Updated by Leslie Datsis | Social Media and Audience Development Specialist | PBS Digital Studios on
Blank Slate is a new 16-part instructional series from PBS Digital Studios with the production team Video Dads, made up of Emmy-nominated video producers Travis Gilmour and Slavik Boyechko. This week Leslie Datsis shares her tips on Interview Audio.

This week, Travis and Slavik tackle the importance of a video interview’s location. The location not only needs to convey the same tone as the video’s messaging, but it also needs to help tell the story of the subject. The Video Dads give some great tips on how to find the best interview location on the fly. However, if you’re able to pre-plan before making the trek to your general location, here are some prep tips:

Chat with your on-site contact prior to shoot day. Let them know what kind of video you are producing and what is important to communicate in the interview. They may have some suggestions on particular pieces of furniture, walls, or backdrops fit the bill. 

Get a visual. Most public locations have photos on their website of their location. No website? Take a look at review sites (Yelp,TripAdvisor, etc), social media platforms, or even Google Street View if you are going to an outdoor location. If the area is a private residence, ask if the homeowner can email a few photos of the location. 

Get dimensions. The number of cameras you would want for this shoot will help determine how big of a space you need for your gear and subject. Ask for the dimensions of the space. 

Ask about the lighting. You never know what surprises are ahead in terms of lighting. Asking questions like “What type of window does each room have?” and “Do your lighting fixtures emit buzzing-type sounds?” better prepares you for the type of gear you should bring. 

Prepare to move things. Look for that perfect stack of books, greenery, or blanket that adds depth to the shot! 

And finally, get permission. Some locations require permits, release forms, or pre-shoot day appointments at the location. Do the right thing and get those bases covered. 

But of course, this just covers pre-production. Make sure to watch the latest Blank Slate video to learn more about location work on set.

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