When scheduling an interview, do you calculate in setup time? How do you know how much time you need for prep once you arrive on location? This week we are looking at a question from a student about how much time to schedule during an interview setup.

STUDENT QUESTION: How much time should I schedule for a lighting setup during an interview?

ANDREWWhen I can, I like to schedule around three hours. I know it can seem like a lot of time, but it’s amazing. Usually, the workflow that happens is you get to the location and the first thing you need to decide is where you’re going to do it. It’s just moving the camera around and trying to figure out what framing looks good to use the natural leading line, that kind of thing, to help accentuate or point your eye towards the character, the interviewee’s face.

So that usually takes half an hour at least, because you still have to get in, you have to talk to the location owner sometimes, all those kinds of things. So at least half an hour to 45 minutes sometimes, because choosing your location is going to be really key to everything else that you do.

Some of my favorite interviews that we've done have taken three hours, at least, to set up. Click To Tweet

And then, by that point, then you have an hour and 15 minutes, you know? If you already have something picked out, then maybe you could do less time on setting it up. But some of my favorite interviews that we’ve done have taken three hours, at least, to set up. And people will look at you funny when you’re scheduling in three hours to set up an interview, because they’re used to the news, where it’s just set up the camera with a light and away they go.

I’m not the most experienced lighting tech in the world either. So I think you could do it faster as you get better. I know John-Clay has done like hundreds of interviews. He’s got it down, and he could do it in thirty minutes if he had to.

Sometimes when you’re on a documentary shoot, you just have to go with it. So it ultimately depends on how much time you can do. I would recommend probably two to three hours, if you can, unless it would be really inconsiderate to the person and the location, then obviously you wouldn’t do that.

If you can have everything set up so that when the interviewee comes, you can just focus on them and making them comfortable, and that’s going to really help their interview. Click To Tweet

And you don’t have to have them sitting in the whole time, obviously. They can come once you’re done setting up. And that takes the stress off too. It still always happens to a certain extent, but if you can have everything set up so that when the interviewee comes, you can just focus on them and making them comfortable, and that’s going to really help their interview.

I know there’s been so many times when I’m rushing, trying to get this whole thing done. And they come in and I’m just a buzz of activity trying to get stuff done, and I’m a little stressed out. And then they get nervous and it doesn’t help anybody. The ideal is to kind of figure out your location, start setting up lights, and then just finesse and tweak and get it to where you like it.

And then just spend 30 minutes and just sit there and look at the frame, and be like, what could I do to make this just a little bit better? And then tweak and change and do a little bit, and then decide you don’t like it and put it back, and whatever. That’s just how it works. And then the interviewee comes, and then you can be more mentally prepared. And you can make sure, do I have my sound set up correctly? Am I in the right frame rate? All these different things. When you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to forget stuff. So that’s my process, but it depends, person to person.

Bethany Meckle

Bethany Meckle

Content Curator

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