After Tuesday’s theory-based class, Thursday was all about putting it into practice. Our guest lecturer was Giulio, an Italian documentary maker whose task was to teach us the basics of filming an interview.
We started by setting up our tripods and our audio. A handy tip I’d never thought of before was to record your second track a bit lower as a back-up in case your audio peaks. But the main focus of the class was framing and the cinematographic side of the interview. We looked at the aperture, the focus, the white balance, and other features of our cameras (another handy tip was that the viewfinder only works when the screen is put away, solving a mystery I’ve been trying to puzzle out at work!). I felt like I knew most of the technical things but it was good to think about it in the context of documentary – considering factors such as depth of field around the subject, background, how wide or close the shot should be to evoke a certain tone, etc.
Of course, it was then time to Go Out Into The World and Do Good Things (TM). The original plan had been to ask strangers on the street for interviews to really challenge our abilities in getting good material out of a subject. However, most of the class decided that we wanted to focus instead on getting the technical side of filming down pat so we opted to interview each other.
In my little group of three, we were inspired by the Old Melbourne Gaol and decided to create a (not so) true crime doco, with ourselves featuring as the criminals. We had a lot of fun coming up with our unlawful histories, and Jason pulled out an Oscar-worthy performance in his retelling of the time he stole a pen. We didn’t get a chance to do any editing but over the course of the next few weeks (if any of us can be bothered) it’s sure to become a hilarious short. Maybe we didn’t learn as much about interviewing as we could have but it was a super fun way to practice the technical aspects of using the camera.