How Many Talking Heads Can You Shoot In A Day?

Our clients often need to know how much footage they can get out of a filming day.

We have written about how much drama you can shoot in a day, but another type of shoot we often do is talking head interviews. This usually means filming interviews of experts within a company.

Of course, there is no definitive answer to how many interviews we can shoot in a day, but to give you an idea here’s an example timetable for a talking heads shoot.

Example shoot timetable

0800 Call time for crew and client to location. Sign in.
0800-1000 Set up for interviews in designated room.
1000 Call first interviewee to location. Run through and shoot interview.
1200 Lunch. Rest.
1300 Call second interviewee to location. Run through and shoot interview.
1400 Call third interviewee to location. Run through and shoot interview.
1500 Call fourth interviewee to location. Run through and shoot interview.
1600 Call fifth interviewee to location. Run through and shoot interview.
1700 Approx wrap time.

There are many things you need to consider when planning a shoot. Below are some of things to take into account when planning your shoot timetable.

Arriving

Even for what is quite a basic type of filming there is a lot of equipment to bring in on arrival. It takes roughly 30 minutes to sign-in upon arrival and to bring in the kit.

Set up

Once all the equipment is in, it then takes about an hour to set up. This involves unpacking the equipment, setting it up, getting the best lighting, this sort of thing.

Preparation per interview

We need about 10 minutes to set up things for each interviewee to: tweak the lights, position a microphone, put on anti-shine makeup and make sure their hair is camera ready.

While this set-up is going on the production manager runs through what the interview will consist of – where to stand, where to look, running order and so forth.

Interview

The interviews themselves are generally in the range of 20-60 minutes. Usually about 30.

This will provide the client with roughly 10 minutes footage (but bear in mind this can vary a lot).

Lunch

It’s a long day on set and the crew gets pretty hungry, so we have to factor in for a 30-60 minute lunch break.

Varying backgrounds

If you want the backgrounds varied, we usually allow for an extra 30 minutes between every background change for a re-set lights etc.  So to get high productivity, stick with one or two set-ups.

If you want to use greenscreen we allow an extra 30 minutes set up at the beginning of the day and a good sized space to shoot in.

Illustrative shots

Cutaways or illustrative shots are often combined with interview pieces in the edit. These might be shots of the interviewee acting out some aspect of what they are talking about.

These shots can be a great asset to your video, but needless to say they take more time and need to be planned before the shoot.

Voxpops

Vox pops (or Vox Populi – ‘voice of the people’ if you want the correct Latin term it’s derived from) is the term usually used for more informally shot, short interview pieces.  The filming time will be less than for ordinary interviews, but the preparation and set up time is usually the same.

Of course, every shoot is different, so these notes are just a very high level guide, but we hope they’ll give you a little insight into what to expect.

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