Every picture tells a story: Rocketboom production
tricks have added visual appeal to phone interviews,
made single-camera shoots look like multi-camera, and
covered up creatively for missing footage and sound.
microphones for everyone. But if you don’t, treat
your camera like a microphone. When someone
is talking, bring the camera way up close to the
person, get a good audio signal, and don’t worry
about the video. Then, later, when they are finished,
take B-roll footage of the environment, and try
to capture the stuff that they were talking about.
Then in post-production, take the audio track and
lay B-roll over it where appropriate. The audio
comes first, and you cut the video to match.
We’ve come up with a lot of tricks for navigating
various constraints. Here are some examples,
and you can watch the reports themselves at
rocketboom.com/vlog/archives, where they are
organized by broadcast date.
For our Nov. 30, 2005 webcast, we did a phone
interview. To set up, we pointed a camera at
Amanda Condit here in New York City, and our
interviewee Joshua Davis pointed a camera at
himself in California. Amanda called Joshua, and
they did the interview with both people being
taped. Then Joshua mailed us his tape, and we
put the segment together with assets he gave us,
website images, etc.
When you shoot a great musical performance,
you can build an entire broadcast over one song.
Shoot the entire song from one angle, keeping the
mic the same distance from the performers throughout. Then shoot in and around the scene to get
B-roll to add in. This is a favorite technique, and
I used it for our June 17 and July 20, 2005 shows.
Both of these look like 2-camera coverage, but if
you are really savvy, you can see where I cheated.
Our April 6, 2006 show was a phone interview
recorded as audio only, with no video. Our interviewee Erin Peterson didn’t have to do anything
but talk to us. We added visuals afterward using
images from Flickr, and Amanda filmed an intro
and outro of herself starting and ending the phone
interview, to frame it.
For our episode on Aug. 10, 2005, Amanda went
to cover a garden and did a lot of talking, but we
screwed up and the audio was off the entire time.
We didn’t realize this until much later, and we
decided to turn it into an “art piece” by adding
music and effects to the silent footage.
Andrew Baron is the creator and producer of Rocketboom,
a 3-minute online daily news show with a daily audience
of more than 300,000.