Cawston Press,
Client wanted ROI by creating a brand film and a crowdfunding film from the same material.

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.

Off Camera Interview Styles

When to use ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawston Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

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