I have two days to set up a room for sit-down interviews with politicians. What looks good on camera, and how should it all be arranged?
September 16, 2011 5:09 AM   Subscribe

How can I make an awesome set for sit-down interviews with politicians?

I've been asked, last-minute, to help decorate a room (in the next couple of days!) which will be used to conduct sit-down interviews with local aspiring politicians. Video questions that people have posted on the net will be shown on a screen so the basic elements of the shot (there is only one shot, no going back and forth, no close-ups, etc.) will be: the person conducting the interview and showing the videos, the politician, the desk, the screen, and some simple decoration.

The idea I've come up with on my own is to paint the back wall a darkish grey, put a desk against it with a large flat screen in the middle, and two chairs in front of the desk, angled just slightly towards the camera. On one side of the desk a stack of books and maybe on the other a small flag or a plant (is this sounding cheesy yet?) and then maybe some simple maps or posters on the wall, (framed or unframed, maybe four or six arranged in a nice, not too grid like way).

Please tell me what I need to know in order to create the right shot? I want to do the best possible job but we don't have a lot of time so I'm especially interested in the basics, and in what we should be avoiding. I'm talking colors, textures, the type of screen we should use, etc.

Thank you!!
posted by seriousmoonlight to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What country are you in? I wouldn't put a desk in the shot for people to sit behind. You want to have something patriotic like a flag in a stand. I know, cheesy, but people like that stuff. Don't use grey. Use a light blue. Create texture with light, not maps on the wall. Less is more. Suggest the subjects to wear a tie that is a bright color or as a bright color in its pattern. Less is more. I have done lots of political shows in the past, you want the audience to hear the politician, not pay attention to the "stuff" in the shot.

Have them sit in a stool so that they can lean on something but not get too comfortable because people slouch when they get comfortable.

Have fun!
posted by Yellow at 5:34 AM on September 16, 2011

Politicians love ficus.
posted by parmanparman at 5:49 AM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd leave the posters out.
posted by Kurichina at 8:48 AM on September 16, 2011

Best answer: - 2 10x10 sheets of black drape cloth
- 2 10' step ladders to hang the cloth from
- 2 clamps for same
- 2 chairs
- 2 ficus or ferns
- 2 glasses of water
- 1 table

have u not seen Between 2 ferns?

more seriously, Charlie Rose: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11138
posted by at at 3:47 PM on September 16, 2011

Please no potted plants, especially fake ones. That just screams public access cable.

The Charlie Rose thing might work but that actually is pretty subtle lighting, with the field falling off right behind the subjects. It suggests a lot of depth without actually showing any background.
posted by werkzeuger at 12:10 PM on September 17, 2011

Response by poster: at, Between 2 Ferns is great, and I had never seen it! Thanks for the link.

In the end we went with the Charlie Rose style set. I had thought of it briefly in the beginning but was being pushed to really "decorate" the room. After seeing your suggestion it urged me to share some clips of Charlie Rose's interviews with the team. Everyone liked what they saw, and there you have it.

Yellow, I will suggest that the subjects wear bright-colored ties. Thanks for the tip.

Thanks all for your ideas and input!
posted by seriousmoonlight at 6:29 PM on September 17, 2011

Response by poster: Yellow, forgot to add that I'm in Tunisia.
posted by seriousmoonlight at 1:25 AM on September 18, 2011

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