Back from Broadcast

Posted 4th November 2019
by Jonathan Robinson

Hello it’s Jonathan here, back at Bellyflop HQ after a busy period working across various different broadcast TV jobs. Some have already been transmitted, such as Do The Right Thing for Channel 5 and Extreme Chocolate Makers, a Channel 4 show, and then a couple of other TV series I worked on are yet to transmit. One about dogs, and one about bed and breakfasts!

Dipping into TV work is always useful as a way to refresh skills and get to know the latest tools or techniques. The cameras popular in TV are still currently the Sony FS7 and Canon C300, both of them have interchangeable lenses which funnily enough tend to be the same Canon lenses for both cameras, although the Sony ones need a ‘convertor’ so the lens can be attached to the camera.

One filming style / device that is currently really popular is called ‘Eye Direct’. You’ll often see this on shows such as ’24 Hours in A&E’ where the interview subject talks direct to the camera. Usually a fixed 50mm lens is used which creates a great depth of field where the background is soft, and the person talking is in sharp focus.

Eye Direct in use on ’24 Hours in A&E’.

How Eye Direct works is the person on camera is actually looking directly at the reflection of the interviewer who is asking them questions, so they have direct eye contact, feel more at ease,  and in turn keep eye contact with the person asking questions whose reflection is directly in front of the lens.

The technique results in much more natural answers as the interviewee is looking at a person. Quite often it’s the short pauses in answers where the subject still keeps looking at the camera that has the most impact, especially when talking about tough and emotive subjects.

What the interview subject sees when using Eye Direct.

At Bellyflop we do believe the importance in getting our interview subjects as relaxed as possible makes for a better interview. Giving direct eye contact as much as possible is the best way of achieving that, and we can hire in an Eye Direct system or we usually interview them keeping eye contact with the person on camera as much as possible.