View Full Version : How do i get people to confess to the camera?

04-24-2006, 06:35 AM
Im just thinking of someday doing a little video on my cousin and wife and the change sine their new born baby. just a small couple of minutes of documentary.

Now...what i have in mind is the awesome "All i Need" video by Air:

And i love the genuine confession of the Daredevil girl here:

im really a perfectionist and will never put something that wont sound\look convincing...
I really dont want it to sound\look staged...

Question is...how do i do it??
u know ppl sometimes are nervous [=not relaxed enough] round cameras and just Change colmpletly when the camera is on...saying stupid stuff that dont sound genunie...

i dont know if to interview the person and shut up for a long time so they can continue speaking... or should i just put the camera in a room with him\her alone and let them speak by themselves...kinda like interviewing themselves or just speaking theyre minds out [with my directions more or less b4 that].

i think i need the Vocals only...but i guess that some visuals of them speaking will help...
But how do i let the Best out of them?


04-24-2006, 07:08 AM
Great question! I'm in the same boat......starting a documentary with lot's of interviews of people not used to being on camera. I'll be working with an instructor of scripting for film and she says she has her ways of pulling information out of people in a natural way. Guess I'll find out. Looking forward to seeing some responses here from those experienced with this.

04-24-2006, 07:14 AM
There is an art to interviewing...the best way to describe it is that you need to get your subject comfortable enough to forget there's a camera in the room.

Be engaging, keep asking questions instead of letting the subject ramble on and on, do a pre-interview whithout a camera in the room so you can get your subject warmed up and on point with what you want them to talk about.

04-24-2006, 07:17 AM
Set up your shot. Engage the person who is being interviewed with some sort of topic completely irelevant to the subject matter, after 5 or 10 minutes start asking the questions you want. You'll be surprised at how responsive they are as they forget the camera is in the room.

Good Luck

04-24-2006, 12:33 PM
Interviewing is an art. One thing I've been asked to do in the past by a director was to drape off the camera. I shot out of a hole in some black material and was basically hidden. This was done to let the person let go of any anxiety about the camera.

It's in the ability of the person asking questions and talking with the interviewee to get them to relax and let their guard down. I've seen some who were good at it. They keep and open demeanor, listen carefully to what they are saying, and then steer them skillfully towards what they wanted them to say. It's worth blowing some videotape in order to build a repore.

Jeff Patnaude

04-24-2006, 12:37 PM
its all about making them feel comfortable, if that means to talk to them about unrelated stuff while the camera is on or giving em some BEER..lol DO EET!

04-24-2006, 01:43 PM
Hey guys!
thanx very much for the feedback!

well...so what ive learned till now is to make a diversion somehow..and..to get them drunk... awesome :]

what i feel when i watch the samples ive seen [like the links above] is that the Interviewer is not even there.....and that the interviewee is like speaking very fluently-directing himself towards his point and keeps on speaking and explaining even when he wasnt asked to.

The whole point is that u DONT hear the interviewer... so i guess its like a 1 question...and then u shut up-kind of strategy maybe? u shut up so that the person u interview will see u dont respond...as u are waiting for furthur explanation so he continues speaking.... u think its true?
what kind of body language is involved here? i wonder... the interviewer body language..

look at what Pete Mack said about DAREDEVIL:

“The idea behind this spot was to capture a youthful energy and approach to life that is often lost in adulthood. In order to pull this off I studied the master of truth Errol Morris. I interviewed Ella Hubley (a surfer, not an actress) using some of his techniques. I found that being passive, but engaging, allowed Ella to get lost in her world and when this happens you get the gems. As Errol once said, “you couldn’t write this stuff.” And he is so right. The word “daredevil” has been missing from my vocabulary for twenty years. I did the interview on the beach, which I think helped her relax and the fact that the sound quality is not perfect perhaps makes the spot more believable.”

fascanating... :]
i wanna imagine how he did that...i think thats more of the method i offered 2 paragraphs above... still i dunno what to do... be there.. let the person "confess" to the camera...or just record a sound using sound recorder...

04-24-2006, 07:45 PM
First thing, when you ask a question, first state a fact then ask a question that
doesn't require a yes or no answer:

So, I hear you just broke up with your boyfriend, what is it like now playing the
field in this 21st century of internet dating?

Statement - question - they'll talk for hours.


04-24-2006, 09:07 PM
I've been successful with many of my interviews. Some people have complimented my interviewing skills, but my wife just says it's because I'm a bit of a dork and put people at ease.

While I take exception to the dork comment, I think there is some truth to the fact that some of us can be goofy and put people at ease. Other people are intimidating. Intimidating might work in some instances, but most of the time dork is much more successful at getting people to tell their stories. Remember, they aren't confessing to the camera, they are confessing to you.

04-28-2006, 06:14 AM
Write a list of questions, and them put them in order so the easy ones are first, and the hard ones last. You want to lead them up into the hard questions so they don't realize that they're so hard.

Do the interview twice. Say "Damn it! Microphone was off!" and repeat the questions. You'll get much more detailed answers, and they'll be much more at ease.

Shut up, but make amplified gestures and nodding -- especially if they start going into an area you want to explore.

Shut up, and let them talk. Don't be afraid to let silence roll. Look at them expectantly. They'll become uncomfortable and start gabbing or go into further detail.

Be nice, smile a lot, and always agree with them. You want them to think that you're on their side, and you're one of them.

04-29-2006, 04:33 PM
there are no rules. every human is different.

consider this:

be honest with them if you want them to be honest with you.
be clear.
engage in conversation to get them more comfortable.
DONT always agree. that's crap. Be honest. Ask the hard questions. Be clear about your position and theirs.

Consider Erol Morris. He created the Erol cam, where hides the camera behind a 2 way mirror, then positions the mirror, so the interviewee is looking at Erols' reflection, essentially, they are talking face to face, with a camera right behind one of the faces.

if you're thinking about a series of rules for conversation and interviewing, trying to quantify the artform, then you'll fail. You can't think like that when you are in the mix.

Practice. Like everything else on this planet. the more you do it, the better you get. the more you learn.

04-29-2006, 05:43 PM
thanx dude..!
its all very fascanating...
thing is... i dont wanna get into a situation where i wont like the final "product" and i mean-the interview.... coz if i feel its not good... it will surely ruin the visual side of things since it aint convincing..

i just know a person more or less...and i feel like in the specific case im trying to interview- that person will be hypocrite ... cheesy ... smiley... all coz of the camera... i just picture to myself-the words he will say...and the tone of them.. that wont be real..... and i hate it...

so i was just wondering whats the best way TECHNICALLY to make other - comfortable... [like u said with Erol...though i wont be able to do it ... didint understood how he made it too :]

05-03-2006, 05:00 PM
Or create it OTS style...tell them to look at you and not the camera. Lighten them up by making a fool of yourself or talking about generic current events. Last but not least the Beer or a Candy Bar never fails :Drogar-BigGrin(DBG)