Three camera setup for remote video interviews

How do you create a great vlog post when the person you want to talk to is remote? This is a question that has occupied Casimir and me ever since we started adding video to the conversation. After reading up on the subject, experimenting and failing — remote interviews are not all that easy — we have come up with an approach to make remote video interviews that seems to work. The key is to use the right equipment, and you need more than you think you do, but it does not have to be expensive.

Euipment for remote video interviews

Equipment? What equipment would that be? Well, while using the built in camera in your laptop might be fine for normal video conversations it will not be good enough for the vlog. Firstly, the image quality is not very good, in my case it is only VGA resolution. Secondly, having only one camera angle to edit from does not give a very interesting vlog. So, the extra equipment you need is one or two extra video cameras, preferably with an external microphone for handy audio backup.

Three camera setup

A three camera setup is generally recommended. It allows shifting between an “over the should view” to show the connection between the participants, an overview view and a view from the video conferencing camera. So if you have three cameras, how should you set them up? I have tried a few ways to do it. Here are two.

One version

This is one version of the three camera setup. This was done for a video conversation with Casimir Artmann. I was in a medium sized hotel room in Stockholm and was able to setup the equipment much the way I wanted to.

Two simple setups for remote interview

Two simple setups for remote interviews for the vlog. The idea is to use one camera as an overview camera and the second for an over the shoulder view. The setups depend on room configuration.

Another version

A three camera setup in a very small hotel room. In this room, there was no space to put the overview camera in front of myself.

A three camera setup in a very small hotel room. In this room, there was no space to put the overview camera in front of myself.

This is another version of the three camera setup. I was at the same hotel one week later in a much smaller room. This time, it was much harder to do the setup of the cameras due to the room being very small. The only place to put the overview camera on was on my right so as you can see, I ended up with two “over the shoulder” views.

In both cases, you can notice a small difference in color balance between the two views. I have used my two phones, a Sony Xperia V and a Sony Xperia Z3 with manual color balance set to the same settings. Obviously, something is slight off here. I have upgraded my V to a Z5. With the Z3 and Z5 I expect to get much more uniform color balance. We will see in the next session.

The images below show the views from the cameras in the drawing.

The result

What results can you expect from a three camera remote interview? With two participants with three cameras each, the first thing you can expect is a lot of work with the editing. Not only will you have six video feeds, you will also find that they are slightly out of synch. You will find the results of the first session on YouTube and below. I will add the second session as soon as it has been published.

Image sources

  • Two simple setups for remote interview: Owned by the author
  • view over left shoulder: Owned by the author
  • front right view: Owned by the author
  • camera setup used in session with Jef, Casimir and Greger: Owned by the author
  • greger jef and casimir over the left shoulder: Owned by the author
  • hotel room recording with casimir and jef: Owned by the author

About Greger Wikstrand

Greger Wikstrand, Ph.D. M.Sc. is a TOGAF 9 certified enterprise architect with an interest in e-heatlh, m-health and all things agile as well as processes, methods and tools. Greger Wikstrand works as a consultant at Capgemini where he alternates between enterprise agile coaching, problem solving and designing large scale e-health services ...

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