Time and again I am asked by my clients how many cameras are required to film a good management video. Is it a sign of appreciation or recommended for quality assurance to shoot top shots on the C level (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) with more than one camera in comparison to the rest of the management?
Do two cameras make it easier to subsequently cut out a bad performance of the boss in front of a camera in the image editing process? How many cameras does it take to film an interview is a question that was first asked in 1886 when the film camera was first put up. To date there is only one correct answer: It depends. The camera is the eye of the spectator. From there all answers are derived.
From a cognitive-psychological perspective, content-wise and technically. At first it sounds harder than it is.
How Many Cameras? Checklist
Depending on the type of message that is supposed to be transmitted, before the decision about how many cameras will be used to record leadership videos or a CEO-Statement it makes a lot of sense to clarify the following questions with one’s film agency or production partner:
- What effect should the interview or statement have?
- Does the person in front of the camera bring along experience from similar tasks?
- Should the person in front of the camera look straight into the eyes of the spectator, as in a personal conversation?, or
- Is the person speaking to a third party?
- Is this third party visible or invisible to the spectator?
- Should I find the statement dynamically moving or statically controlled as a spectator?
- Does the schedule of the interview partner allow a preliminary discussion and more than thirty minutes shooting time?
The argument that using two cameras make it possible to hide a bad performance is nonsense.
When developing the briefing and defining the budget for a leadership video it is recommended to think about the further critical success factors and about building an own opinion. The following arguments can serve as guidelines
- Technology is always a means to an end. Not an end in itself. Bad content does not become more attractive by using more cameras.
- The claim that using two cameras makes it possible to hide a bad performance is nonsense: A person who is filmed from two angles is not less often in the picture. If this person is not in the picture because the work should be done with intercuts (desk, hands) and so-called B-roll recordings, these can also be done with one camera. Cutting and sound editing are distinct from the number of possible cameras.
- Whoever finds it difficult to be in front of a camera will bring a better performance when he/she is not overwhelmed by technology (cameras, tripods, dolly, telepromoter). Less is more in such a starting position.
- Two cameras give the spectator different perspectives of the person in front of the camera or (in the case of two persons in the picture) the flowing transition from questioner to respondent. With two or more cameras, the demands placed on the director and cutter significantly increase. Perspective and rhythm have to satisfy the person in front of the camera and strengthen it by means of the content being communicated.
In an ideal cooperation the specific answers connect from previous questions and the experience values of the film production to specific and argumentatively intelligible planning fundamentals.
This way misunderstandings and suboptimal allocation of the means can be avoided in advance. Thus the video becomes more than the sum of all components for all involved parties and can fulfill its purpose in a target-oriented manner.